The dream of landing a high flying post in the world’s financial sectors is one shared by millions – if only for the prospect of incredible rewards and a non-stop thrill ride like no other. Of course, it’s not all fun and games from start to finish as when it comes to stress, pressure and the kinds of decisions that could make or break you in a heartbeat, high-level financial posts are uniquely demanding. According to the experts at www.researchwatercooler.com¸ it tends to be a fairly equally balanced scenario where the efforts invested and the ability to take and manage risks generally tend to be reflected in the outcome.
Or in other words, it’s not the kind of career area where success comes easily to the faint-hearted…in fact it doesn’t come at all.
Factor in all of the above and it shouldn’t come as the greatest surprise to learn that when recruiters are looking for new talent to join as research analysts and the like, they aren’t in the habit of choosing at random. Quite to the contrary in fact as given the nature of the job, there’s no room for taking on anyone that you aren’t 100% convinced is 100% up to the job before they’ve even done a day’s work for you as if you make the wrong decision, it could spell massive financial losses.
This is precisely why the screening process for equity research analyst posts tends to be among the fiercest and most intensive of any job on the market. Nobody approaches any kind of important interview expecting it to be easy, but in terms of the research analyst interview for a position with a financial organisation, intensiveness really does take on a whole new guise. And what’s more, each and every interview tends to be rather on the unique side to say the least, which makes preparation all the more difficult.
Logically speaking, the only means by which the recruiter is able to ascertain whether or not the candidate is right for the job is to have them lay their skills and talents on the line right there and then. That’s why rather than being asked the usual generic interview questions common to most recruitment processes, it’s standard practice for much more specific and testing questions to be asked.
Here’s a look at just a few examples of the actual interview questions that have been asked to investment research analyst jobseekers during the recruitment process:
1. If you were asked by the senior management of McDonalds, would you suggest that a new product leading to a 5% increase in product sales in total would be more or less beneficial than increasing prices on all products across the board by 5%? Which would be more profitable and why?
2. If we were to give you nothing but the name of a consumer technology company and ask you to analyse it, take us through the process or how you’d approach it?
3. What tends to be the first thing you examine when presented with annual financial reports? What’s of most importance for your own analytical process?
4. Explain financial research as if you were talking to a school-age child – how would you explain what you do?
5. Tell us about your past experience and why you think it has equipped you for the pressures and demands of this post? What makes you think you can handle it?
6. Crude oil prices recently fell to historic lows and had a knock-on effect on many of the world’s most advanced economies. On the whole, is a drop in oil prices a good thing or a bad thing?
7. Let’s talk about current stock opportunities that are both cheap to invest in and safe – what are your personal favourites right now and why?
8. Have you ever made a mistake with an investment or given advice that turned out to be more harmful than helpful? How did you handle the error and what did you learn?
9. Here in the UK, what would happen if this time next week there was to be a sudden 30% spike in crude oil prices.
10. I’ve just been advised by another analyst to sell my existing stock in Microsoft – what advice would you give me and how would you investigate the subject?
Just a few examples to illustrate the kinds of questions asked, though specific questions will of course vary enormously in accordance with the level of the post, the business carrying out the interview and various other factors.