Top 6 Trading Job Interview Questions
Sales and Trading Interview Questions: What Do They Want to See?
The recruiting process typically starts with an online application, moves into a HireVue video interview or phone interview, and then concludes with an assessment center if you’re in EMEA or Hong Kong – or a Superday if you’re in North America.
“Interview questions” will come up in all parts of this process, from the HireVue or phone interview to the AC or Superday.
We’ve covered sales & trading assessment centers in the article on the rates trading desk, so please refer to that for tips.
Professionals want to see the following qualities in your responses to interview questions:
Being an athlete helps a lot because it demonstrates your drive and risk-taking ability.
Most candidates enter sales & trading out of undergraduate programs, but some are also hired from Master’s programs and MBA programs (though MBA hiring is far less prevalent).
There are also a few transfers from the middle office and other teams at the bank.
The main categories of sales and trading interview questions are:
The initial HireVue interview focuses on generic fit / behavioral questions, but a few simple market-based questions could also come up.
After the first round, interviewers will usually start by asking for your story, but they’ll quickly move into the other categories above.
Squaring 2-Digit Numbers
This formula is the trick for squaring 2-digit numbers:
And then you set Y such that either (X + Y) or (X – Y) ends with “0.” Examples:
Other Market Questions
For the one about where you’d invest $10 million, always start by asking for the person’s goals and risk tolerance and then giving high-level percentages by asset classes.
It’s pretty straightforward: younger people can afford to take more risk by weighting equities more heavily, while older people need to conserve capital because they can’t afford large drawdowns, so they’ll tend to put less in equities.
But you also need to factor in the macro environment.
For example, if interest rates are currently very low or negative, a traditional 60/40 stock/bond allocation may not make sense, especially if the person’s main concern is income generation in retirement.
It might make more sense to swap the bond allocation for precious metals, alternative assets, or real estate – anything that might generate cash flow or increase in price when interest rates are extremely low.
In terms of facts and figures, you should have a good idea of the following, both recently and over the past 6-12 months (check Bloomberg and markit.com):