Preparing for the S+T interview
Updated by Justin Ling
Preparing for the S+T Interview
There are 3 primary components to most Sales + Trading interviews:
- Tell me about yourself
- Showcase markets knowledge
- Behavioural questions
In the following sections, I'll break down how you can prepare for each component.
Tell me about yourself
This is usually how an interview starts and gives you an opportunity to set the stage of who you are for the interviewer. You want to convey that you understand the role you are applying for and provide a storyline for why you are interested in the role, and what makes you a good fit. Add a few lines the show your hobbies/interests/what makes you unique.
- Tell me about yourself structure
- 2020 workshop (youtube video)
- What is sales + trading (youtube video)
Showcase Market Knowledge
Also known as the technical part of the interview. Here you will showcase your experience with following markets and your insights on trading and investing. There are few ways you will be tested in yout market knowledge:
Macro-type questions test if you are keeping up with Global events and are aware how these events impact the financial markets. Showcasing an understanding of how markets are connected is important. ie. Covid-19 may cause more people to online services, and companies like Netflix and Wayfair will do well in this environemnt.
Following US FOMC meetings can be a way to impress interviewers, and understanding how changes in unemployment numbers or monetary policy might impact asset prices.
Interviewers will be looking for you to have a view on the future, it is less important if you are right / wrong (no one really knows), and much more important to showcase your thought process behind your ideas.
Common Macro questions asked in interviews:
- What is going on in the markets?
- What is your market outlook?
- How will quantitative easing impact the economy?
Micro-type questions are focused on your individual analysis of a specific investment/company. You should have at least 1 company that you've researched thoroughly and can talk through. You'll want to understand clearly the business model of the company, the market it plays in, and why it is a good investment. You'll want to know metrics for the company like: Market cap, P/E ratio (relative to market average), and Revenue gowth rates.
Common Micro questions asked in interviews:
- Pitch me an investment idea
- Pitch me a stock
- What is your favourite name right now?
How to structure your pitch me a stock answer
Asset Class Questions
These are specific questions that test wether you understand different types of assests like: equities, etfs, bonds, and options. You'll want to understand from both qualitative and quantitative standpoints. Youtube is a great resource to help learn these asset classes. Search for things like: "what is an option," and go from there.
Common Asset class questions asked in interviews:
- What happens to the premium of an option as it reaches maturity?
- What is an Iron condor?
- How do increasing interest rates impact bond prices?
These are standard questions asked in all types of interviews. Here the interviewer will ask you to tell them about experiences that showcase different qualities they are looking for. The STAR structure is most commonly used to communicate your answer.
Common Behavioural questions asked in interviews:
- Tell me about a time you showcased leadership
- Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult teammate
- Tell me about a time your morals and ethics were challenged
How to structure your behavioural interview answers
I have had a few interviewers tell me, "I'm not even looking for what they are saying, it is more how they say it." As part of S+T is sales, your ability to communicate and showcase confidence is key to succeeding.
The 3 C's of a successful interview:
- Confidence: Speak honestly and geunienly, showcasing a comfort in being yourself, without the worry of finding validation from the interviewer. For the time horizon of the interview, don't second guess yourself.
- Clarity: Getting into a flow-like rythm, and find your right speaking pace. Answering questions directly without getting too distracted.
- Conversational: Approaching this as a two-way dialogue vs a one-sided speech or presetation. This can be achieved by shortening your answers, giving them just enough to peak their interest and encouraging them to ask follow-up questions.
This matters. The goal is to come across clean, professional and put together. The dress code for the interview is: "business formal."
One of the most important parts to your outfit is the fit. You want to make sure all your clothing fit your body almost perfectly. Not too tight, not too baggy. Take the time, and try out different outfits in search for the right fit.
For dress shirts & blouses: stick to white or a lighter blue.
For suits / jackets: stick to black, grey, and navy blue
Ties: You can show a little bit of personality here, and choose colours and patterns that stand-out more.
You want to use a Windsor knot, learn to tie one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAg7z6u4NE8
You don't need to spend a fortune on your clothes, but it is a worthwhile investment to spend a bit of money on at least one professional outfit. Put in the extra effort to iron your clothes, so you look crisp in your interview. If you're not sure if you have the right attire, go out this weekend and get something! You can message me through discord, if you need a second opinion.