These interviewing tips from a hedge fund recruiter could make the crucial difference when you go looking for a quant job or, for that matter, any hedge fund job. Craig’s firm, Comprehensive Recruiting, is a financial shop in Arizona with a strong Wall Street practice.
Interviewing Tips & How To Differentiate Yourself
by Craig Stocksleger
It is one of the most highly recruited and sought after positions on Wall Street, the Quant Analyst. As a Quantitative Analyst you will be called upon to support one of the main profit centers of the Investment Bank or Asset Management firm, the Trading Desk. You possess an advanced degree and expertise in Numerical Analysis and advanced Mathematics as well as solid communication skills and the ability to work under pressure. You also have strong programming skills and have the ability to create and maintain complex pricing models in several languages (C++, VBA). The reality is in today’s marketplace these are the same qualities that 90% of your competition also possess. So just how do you plan on standing out from the pack?
It is imperative that you differentiate yourself and rise above the competition. The best way to separate yourself from the competition is to be able to clearly communicate your knowledge and understanding of the Financial Markets and various Trading strategies. Most candidates will have a general knowledge of the Equity and Fixed Income markets; however few have a broader understanding of the derivatives, commodities, and currency markets. The successful candidate is the one who clearly communicates their knowledge in an enthusiastic and passionate manner during the interview. We recommend spending some time in the library conducting research and reading up on the latest products and markets. It is also a good idea to make sure you read the Wall St. Journal or Investors Business Daily on a regular basis and keep up on breaking news in the Industry. One book you may want to check out is Heard on the Street: Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews, written by Timothy Crack. Also, we have put together a short checklist below as a starting point to ensure a smooth and successful interview process.
Checklist for a successful Interview Process — Entry-level “Quant” positions:
1. List all of your contact information including email and phone numbers clearly at the top of your resume.
2. Indicate your citizenship and/or visa status
3. Use your full legal name and also indicate if you have a preferred nickname.
4. Include your current and former GPA’s (if you are a graduate student).
5. List your GRE scores if applicable or other standardized test scores.
6. Always include any background or experience in Finance, even if you have studied independently.
7. Do not put anything on your resume that you cannot discuss in depth and with true proficiency.
8. List any and all Awards, Honors, and Scholarships, etc.
9. Familiarize yourself with Mathematical, Probability, and Brain Teaser questions.
10. Read John Hull and other financial publications and newsletters.
Please also consider that often times the first step in the screening process used by the top firms is the phone interview. Candidates often mistakenly have the impression that the phone interview is less formal than a face to face meeting, however it often takes as much if not more preparation than an in-person interview. It is critical to prepare in advance. One suggestion is to make sure you have your resume and some notes/talking points written down in front of you. It is also essential to use a land line and make sure to minimize any possible distractions in the background. Go to a quiet office and shut the door, turn off your cell phone, etc.
(c) 2008 Craig Stocksleger