Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Interview For a Job: Three Keys

Mike at SMB Capital recently posted his ten interview tips for those pursuing positions with proprietary trading firms. Really, they're good tips for any position you might be interviewing for.

Here are my tips for interviewing, two of which dovetail with Mike's:

1) Outprepare Everyone - Know more about the firm you're applying to than any other applicant. Read about them, talk with people about them, know what they do--and be prepared to explain to them, specifically, why you are interested in *them*. Companies want to find a good fit between the interests and skills of applicants and the demands of the positions. Show them that you recognize that fit.

2) Don't Just Talk About Hard Work - Instead, show them hard work. Show them your achievements and efforts. Losers talk about their interest in trading. A winning interviewee will bring in his or her trading account statements and trading journal and *show* the interviewer the fruits of real labor.

3) Make a Connection - Here's where I might differ from Mike: research tells us that an interviewer's first impression really counts. Dress well. Make the most of eye contact, a handshake, and just plain good social skills. Looking and sounding good won't get you the job, but making a bad impression can lose you the spot. Remember, you're going to be part of a team. On average, people would rather have teammates they like than those they don't like.

Preparation and hard work: sound familiar? The same elements that make for a good interview also make for successful trading.