Sleep, Fitness, and Food.
Get a great night's sleep (8 hours), so you look and feel refreshed. Go to the gym or run/walk the night before your meeting. If you are interviewing for an hour or having several meetings, make sure you have coffee/water and eat some healthy food so you have the energy to carry yourself through. Arrive early, but don’t check in until it’s time.
Your potential employers form impressions of you even before the interview by viewing your resume and LinkedIn profile. Temporarily shut down your social media accounts before and after interviews as HR will be screening what you are putting out publicly via (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, and YouTube). Wear a suit/professional attire, be well-groomed, get a haircut, shave, and don’t use perfume/cologne, as it can be distracting to a hiring manager.
You should never bring up compensation or ask about benefits in an interview. The employer will bring it up when they are ready. If asked what salary you are looking for, indicate your current base and bonus and tell them that you are open to a fair offer. If the above response does not work and they explicitly ask you to state it, indicate a salary range. A 10-20% raise above what you are earning would be interesting.
The standard resume format for the financial services industry is in reverse chronological order. At the top, a summary or objective, followed by starting with your current company, title, responsibilities/achievements, and at the bottom, your education, certifications, licenses, and software/systems skills. If you want your resume and LinkedIn profile to stand out, make the investment to hire a certified professional resume writer that understands the financial sector.
Memorize Your Resume
Your potential employers will ask about your current/previous experience, skills and achievements, company products, revenues, and competitors. Review your current/former employer’s websites/LinkedIn and company news pages to be up to date. Have multiple copies of your resume printed out, have a resume on your phone, and references on a separate page with contact details. Make sure you have a notepaper/pen to write down important information covered in your interview.
Review LinkedIn Profiles and Company Website Bios on Hiring Managers/HR
It is important to know the backgrounds and experiences of those you are meeting to understand what role they have in the company and as your potential employer. Check with your industry contacts to see if they know who you are meeting with for advice and potential references. If you are working with a recruiter, they should be going over this information with you to prepare for the meetings.
Present Your Communication Skills
Show off your commercial skills and industry knowledge on how you deal with investors, peers, and departments internally. The ability to be thoughtful and personable, show empathy, project confidence, build rapport, and articulate an investment strategy. Be an active listener and be prepared to be challenged with your ideas and answer tough questions. Remember hiring managers to pay close attention to your body language and non-verbal communication. It’s important to be aware of everything from your handshake, facial expressions, eye contact, head nodding, crossing your arms, and posture.
Practice Answering Interview Questions
Be prepared for technical, quantitative, and qualitative questions. Understand the position you’re applying for and review the job description. Present how your experience/skills align with the position. Practice telling your story. Why are you a good fit? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Why do you want this position? Tell me about yourself. How similar is this role to your current experience? What do you know about our company? What will technical/product knowledge help you succeed in this position? Are long hours, weekends, and travel an issue? How do you like working for your current firm? Who do you work for at your company? Show examples of something that sets you apart from other candidates.
Have 3-5 Questions prepared for the Hiring Manager/HR
Ask for details about the job, short/long-term plans, culture/fit, company growth, what they like most about their job/company, and what’s expected.
Closing the interview – What is the next step?
After the interview covering all the above points, thank them for their time and make positive points about your interest in the position/firm and ask if there is a next step.
10 things not to do in an interview
(1) Don’t speak negatively about your company, boss/co-workers, or position. Even if you worked for Satan in Hell, say something pleasant.
(2) Don't discuss your future personal or academic pursuits. It's good to mention that you play team sports, it shows your ability to work well with others. Also, mention hobbies like mountain climbing because it demonstrates persistence.
(3) Don't discuss compensation, hours, or vacation time.
(4) Don't show bad posture: don't slouch, tap your feet or show any of your nervous behaviors.
(5) Don't bring up any negative information about their company.
(6) Don't let your message get muffled: don't slur, don't drop your eyes, or speak too quickly.
(7) Don't fail to have great questions when the time comes.
(8) Don't run on too long with answers to questions. Be aware of how the interviewer is responding to what you're saying. If you catch him/her looking bored or staring at you with an unfocused look, it's time to stop talking.
(9) Don't fail to answer the question you're asked.
(10) Don't forget to smile and thank everyone for taking the time to meet with you.
7 Pet Peeves Hiring Managers/HR say are stand-out negatives with candidate interviews
Showing enthusiasm is key to any interview. The company wants to feel like you are interested in the position and their time and want to work for their company.
Confidence is great, but make sure you don’t cross the line by showing you are pretentious, smug, or an asshole.
Did not demonstrate the candidate has the skills/experience
You only get one opportunity to present what you offer. Don’t hold back, assuming the hiring managers have read your resume and know your experience, achievements, and the value you bring to the position. Know your story and tell it convincingly. Make sure you stay focused on the job specifications and why you are a fit.
A lack of social skills
It is critical to be able to interact with your colleagues daily. Let the interviewer control the meeting, and answer the questions directly. If you are unsure of the question, ask for clarification.
OMG, please stop over talking
On the opposite side of the "clam-up" problem, a candidate takes a simple question, something that should take them one minute to answer, and you end up listening to their life story. "Brevity is key"
Not tough enough
Projecting an ability to handle the unexpected is part of the toughness that interviewers seek. As one source explained, "I'm sure that many of these candidates we turn away might be able to hack it, but no one wants to take a chance on a maybe."
Little white lies
Be 100% truthful on your resume. If you said you worked on some complicated transactions, then be prepared to discuss it.