Here I want to discuss graduate recruitment process for Trading and Risk Management roles at one of the leading fixed income houses. Applicants are expected to pass each step to proceed to the next stage. Initial stage consists of online application, online numerical & verbal reasoning tests and telephone interview. Once successful in these stages, you will be invited to an Assessment Centre which comprises competency based interview, technical interview, written case study followed by a presentation on the same topic as the case study and finally, a trading game.
In this article I will focus on the pre-Assessment Centre stage and competency and technical interviews during the Assessment Centre.
You are given a relatively lengthy application. The areas to fill include your basic details, department you are applying for, education, language skills, computer skills and extra curricular activities. You will also be given an area to edit to answer competency questions such as "Why are you applying to our firm?" and "Why have you chosen your preferred role?".
Once successful in online application, you will take online numerical and verbal reasoning tests. You can practise SHL's trial tests here. Another way to prepare for these tests is to do GMAT tests. Although GMAT tests are not strictly relevant, they are still helpful to improve your relevant skills.
3. Telephone interview
The idea of a phone interview is to reduce the number of applicants to manageable levels. Hence, if you make through this stage, you will find that subsequent face-to-face interviews repeat some of the questions. The interview can last 30-40mins. The focus of the interview will be on competency based questions around your motivation to join the firm and on how you would respond to a variety of work challenges.
3. Competency interview
Competency based interview will focus on your intangible skills and your motivation for your preferred role. You will also be asked questions related to your background. Interview can last from 45mins up to an hour. I will make reference to Trading role, but most of the questions apply to Risk Management roles as well.
-Can you tell me about the teams you are currently a member? What is your role? When were you last involved?
-Tell me about a time when you made a concerted effort to make a significant contribution to a team. What was your contribution? What challenges did you face?
-Tell me about a time when you are most proud of where you generated a sense of real team spirit amongst a group. What was the situation? What specifically did you do? How did it impact on the team’s performance?
Getting things done
-Tell me about a time when you had more work to do than time to complete it. How did you prioritise?
-Tell me about a time when you worked on something with limited supervision. How did you manage it?
Hunger to learn
-Give me an example of where you set a challenging goal to develop yourself and learn something new.
-Describe a time when you have faced a major setback when trying to achieve a particular goal.
Joint up thinking
-Give me an example of when you thought “outside the box” to develop a new idea?
-How many ping pong balls fit into Boeing 737?
-What are the key issues facing the industry we are in?
-What do you read to stay up to date with key industry trends?
-Why do you want to work in Trading? What attracts you to it?
-What products interest you? Do you have preference for a particular product?
-What did you do to find out whether the role suits you?
-What challenges do you think the Trading profession is facing?
4. Technical interview
Given strong technical skills are important in Trading or Risk Management, this interview will focus on your relevant skills and experience. Interview can last from 45mins up to an hour.
-Why are you interested in trading?
-If Fed increases interest rates by 50bps, how will it influence the dollar?
-What skills do you have which would make you suitable for this position?
-What is 13/16?
-Is their any particular product area you are interested in and why?
-Do you have example where you did client facing job?
-Do you know how traders make money?
-Would you consider investment banking role?
-There are 3 cards, 0, 1, 1 written on each of them - all face down. You have £100. If you pull card with 1 written on it, you win the bet. How much would you bet?
-Again these cards, you are betting £10 for two attempts. You lost first time and second time and you are left with £80. How much would you bet for a third time?
-Do you have skills to use MS Excel and VBA?
-What are the main parameters in Black & Scholes?
-Do you have any trading ideas? What would you buy now? Why?