How to prepare for a mortgage adviser interview

3 August 2023

A woman sits in a chair holding a resume, waiting to be called in for a mortgage adviser interview.

So, you’ve completed your Certificate in Mortgage Advice & Practice (CeMAP) course and you’re applying for jobs as a mortgage adviser. This is a dynamic and competitive industry, so it’s essential that you know how to stand out to potential employers. Part of this means being fully prepared for interviews.

To help you, here are our top tips on how to excel in an interview for a mortgage adviser role.

Review the job description

There are certain elements that most mortgage adviser jobs have in common, such as meeting clients, keeping up to date with regulation and market changes, and of course, providing mortgage advice. However, the specifics of mortgage adviser roles can vary significantly. Ahead of your interview, make sure you review the job description of the role you have applied for carefully. Pay attention to the particular skills they are looking for and the duties you will be expected to carry out.

By the time you’re in the hot seat, you want to be able to relate your own background in terms of qualifications, work experience and so on to the role and talk persuasively about why you’re the right person to hold that position.

Prepare answers to commonly asked questions

Even if you’re confident when it comes to thinking on your feet, it’s always worth preparing answers to commonly asked interview questions. You’re more likely to cover all the relevant points if you do this prep, and you might also feel more self-assured during the interview.

Examples of typical questions include:

  • Why do you want to become a mortgage adviser?
  • What makes you suitable for a role as a mortgage adviser?
  • What key personal strengths do you have that will make you successful as a mortgage adviser?
  • What are your three biggest weaknesses, and how can you overcome them?
  • Why are you suited to a customer-facing role?
  • How do you handle a heavy workload?

When you are asked competency-based questions like these, you might want to use the STAR method to respond. This stands for:

Situation – Provide details of a relevant scenario you have had to deal with.

Task – Outline the specific task you were given.

Action – Explain what steps you took.

Result – Detail the effects of your actions, and what you learned from the experience.

You might also be asked questions that relate to your technical subject expertise, such as:

  • What qualifications do you have that are relevant to a role as a mortgage adviser?
  • Do you have previous experience in the financial or mortgage industry?
  • How do you review clients’ credentials to assess if they qualify for a loan?
  • Can you outline the main types of mortgages available on the market currently?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing first-time home buyers at present?

Even if these exact questions don’t come up, preparing responses to them will give you a strong basis to answer a wide range of related queries.

Prepare some questions of your own

Employers are looking for candidates who demonstrate enthusiasm and initiative. With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a few questions of your own prepared. You can ask these at the end of the interview to show you are interested and engaged.

Research the employer

It also pays to do your background research on the company you are applying to. For example, it helps to have a good understanding of the services they offer, as well as their general company culture. It’s useful to find out who their main competitors are too.

Prepare your outfit

First impressions count during interviews, so you’ll want to dress to impress. In finance roles, business professional attire is often expected, so make sure you choose clothes that match the level of professionalism of the company you’re applying to.

It’s wise to plan your outfit in advance, and try it on to make sure it fits. The last thing you want is a last-minute panic on the day when you realise you’re missing a crucial item, or you can’t quite do up that last button.

As well as looking the part, your clothes should feel comfortable. If the collar is too tight or your shoes are giving you blisters, you might not be able to give your full focus during the interview.

Pointers for video interviews

It’s often mistakenly thought that if you are doing your interview by video call, you only have to dress smartly on your top half. After all, surely this is all the interviewers will see, right? Well, not necessarily. What if you unexpectedly have to move around during the meeting, for example to retrieve a document?

It’s always best to play it safe and dress smartly from head to toe, even if it’s unlikely that your lower half will be seen. Doing this can make you feel more confident and prepared.

Plan your journey

Last, but by no means least, if you’re going to an in-person interview, make sure you spend some time planning your journey. Whether you’re driving or taking public transport, you’ll need to know the best route, so try to do a test run beforehand if possible. If you’ll be driving, top up your fuel the day before so you don’t have to do this in your interview outfit on the day.

Ideally, you want to time your journey so that you arrive at least 15 minutes early. This will give you a little leeway in case of delays, and hopefully mean you have a few minutes to compose yourself before you start your interview. Check traffic reports or public transport updates before you set off too in case you need to account for delays.

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