Before you attend the interview for your prospective permanent investment management job, It’s essential that you read through all the interview preparation information available to you, and ensure that you’re fully prepared for your interview. In the current marketplace, employers can afford to be increasingly particular about who they employ, so preparation is as important as a cultural fit or skill set.

Important points to remember when going for an interview:

  • Know your CV thoroughly. You could be quizzed in detail on any aspect of your previous work history, education, experience or systems skills. Be prepared to discuss and provide lots of examples to back up your experience.  
  • Ensure that you have done some in-depth research into the company that you’re interviewing with. 
  • Never speak negatively about a previous boss/colleague/company and always turn any negatives about your current/previous role into a positive, i.e. “I would like to move to a bigger company as my previous company was quite small, however, this did mean that I had maximum exposure to all aspects of the business.” 
  • Don’t say you are an expert in something unless you really are otherwise this could lead to repercussions further on in the interview process.
  • When you’re talking about your skills and experience please ensure that you always refer back to your own personal experience. For example “When I was part of the settlements team I was responsible for settling trades, I liaised with clients, and I implemented new reporting systems…….” rather than “as part of the settlements team we were responsible for…..” This emphasises your achievements and experience as an individual.

Core competency questions you may be asked – always have examples prepared

  • Describe a situation you were involved in recently that required you to communicate with people at a senior level.
    Many of the interview questions will provide a chance to exemplify work-related skills in a practical investment or management setting.  This one deals explicitly with communication skills.  Good interview preparation will mean having a number of ‘showcase’ examples available to discuss.

  • Tell me the last long-term goal you set yourself and how you achieved it.
    In terms of skills, this question deals with target-setting and achieving objectives.  Prepare a practical example of an achievement that can highlight investment management skills.

  • Give me an example of how you provided a service to a client/stakeholder that was beyond their expectations. How did you know what they expected? How did you respond?
    Customer service goes hand in hand with communications as a key asset for investment managers. Demonstrating a good track record gives the interviewer an idea of future job performance.

 tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client.

  • When describing such a scenario, highlight positive skills such as problem-solving and working under stress.

  • Give me an example of a decision that you have made which benefited the client, but not yourself.
    Working for the customer in a selfless manner is key to customer satisfaction. Drawing a real example from the candidate’s career history would go a long way to showing the interviewer that the candidate is serious about investor relations. 

  • Tell me about the last problem that you couldn’t solve.
    Although this question is asking for negative information, it is important to respond with something positive. Problem-solving skills are important, and the answer to this may involve tangential thinking, for example, to achieve an eventual solution.

  • Give me an example of a client that you have developed an effective win/win relationship with. How did you go about building the relationship? A practical example of a long-term client relationship, to mutual benefit, can give the interviewer an idea of the sort of business that a candidate can bring to the job.

  • Describe the last time you were under pressure. What did you do to keep the level of stress manageable?
    This would be a good opportunity to present an achievement that came against the odds.  Practical coping skills can be highlighted.

  • Describe a time you created a strategy to achieve a longer-term business objective.
    Investment managers need to focus on the long term, not just the short term. A question such as this is a chance to display real-life proof of a business vision.

  • Give me an example of a time where you had to balance getting a job done well and getting it done effectively. How did you balance these two factors?
    Time management and quality management are both important skills.  In interview preparation, think of a life history example that demonstrates both of these.

  • Tell me about a time where you voiced a concern or disagreement with a co-worker, and what was the outcome?
    This is a chance to relate a practical instance of positive personal interaction and communication, as well as persuasion and negotiation skills.

  • Tell me about a time where someone has been unhappy with you or how you work.
    The key here, again, is to turn a potential negative into a positive consideration of the candidate’s skill set.  It is important not to complain about the other person, but to show positive skills in handling criticism or communication.

  • Where do you see yourself in two years, and how do you plan to achieve this?
    This is a question that requires advance preparation.  Take into account personal ambitions, the opportunities presented by the position, and the employment structure of the employing organisation.

  • When have you influenced important decisions, and how did you achieve this?
    Use this to showcase skills of persuasion that have been used in a positive manner.

  • When have you highlighted a problem, investigated it and resolved it?
    Use this to showcase problem-solving skills and analytical skills in a practical environment.

  • Give some examples of objectives that you have set for yourself, and how you have ensured that you have achieved these goals.
    Use this to showcase effective goal orientation and prioritisation.  Describe an example of achievement with a tangible outcome.

  • To what do you owe your present success?
    Think about this ahead of the interview.  The interviewer may be looking for key events in a CV, not only from education but also from background and employment information.

  • Why should I hire you, and what makes you think you can handle this position?
    It is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the investment management job description.  Using this knowledge, it is possible to create a match between personal skills and job requirements.

  • What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?
    Focus on the personal strengths that apply to investment jobs.  Remember to also discuss any weaknesses by framing them in a positive manner.

  • What are your reasons for leaving your past/present job?
    Do not say negative things about a previous employer, but focus on how the new role provides opportunities for growth and development, for example.

  • How would your previous employer describe you?
    Approach this question positively and realistically, bearing in mind that the interviewer may have a reference at hand.

  • Tell me about the most mundane part of your job. What have you done to make it more interesting and challenging?
    Do not be negative about investment management tasks, but highlight positively some aspects of the occupation that are enjoyable or worthwhile.

  • Competency questions the candidate may be asked when interviewing for a managerial role:

  • Give an example of a difficult or sensitive situation that you have had to communicate to others.
    When answering this question, focus on positive communication skills.

  • Tell me about the last person you coached and how you helped improve their skills or job performance.
    Use this question to highlight interpersonal skills, mentoring skills and future orientation.

  • Describe a time when you provided negative feedback to someone about their performance.
    Use this question to exemplify positive problem-solving abilities, as well as communication skills.

  • Give an example of a time when you recognised that a member of your team was performing below the required standard. What did you do?
    Use this question to positively describe team management skills and quality awareness.

  • Describe a recent situation in which you convinced an individual on your team to do something.
    Use this question to highlight skills in persuasion and negotiation.

  • Describe a situation when you needed to change a decision that had already been made.
    Without criticising the original decision-maker, use this opportunity to highlight future-oriented management skills that have been put to use in a real-life experience.

  • Describe the last thing you did to improve performance and/or productivity on your team.
    Problem solving, communication and goal orientation are just some of the qualities to highlight in response to this question.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to take the lead in a group so that it achieved its objective.

Management, problem-solving and task-orientation skills come sharply into play in this question.  Demonstrate how these skills have been used in real life.  The resources available at Randstad can help with interview preparation.

competency questions you may be asked when interviewing for a managerial role

  • Give an example of a difficult or sensitive situation that you have had to communicate with others.
  • Tell me about the last person you coached and how you helped improve their skills or job performance.
  • Describe a time when you provided negative feedback to someone about their performance.
  • Give an example of a time when you recognised that a member of your team was performing below the required standard. What did you do?
  • Describe a recent situation in which you convinced an individual on your team to do something.
  • Describe a situation when you needed to change a decision which had already been made.
  • Describe the last thing you did to improve performance and/or productivity on your team.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to take the lead in a group so that it achieved its objective.

Before your interview please ensure that you have fully researched the company with whom you’re interviewing. The key points below are some areas where you should be knowledgeable:

Questions about the company:

  • Who are they are what do they do?
  • What is their mission statement?
  • Have they won any awards recently?
  • Research any recent press releases
  • What are industry commentators writing about them online? (You can find this out by Googling them).
  • How do they describe their company culture?
  • What is their product coverage?
  • What is their share price history?

You may be asked:

  • What do you know about the firm and why does it appeal to you?
  • What do you feel are the main issues facing our sector over the next couple of years?
  • What interests you about our organisation?
  • Why do you feel that this company can offer you a career, rather than just a job?
  • If you had an offer from one of our top 3 competitors why would you choose our organisation?
  • What are the main differences in our products and services compared to our competitors that would attract you to our organisation?

Questions you can ask the interviewer:

Sometimes at the end of an interview, your prospective employer may ask you if you have any questions. Here are a few that might be appropriate:

  • What are the company’s short and long-term goals?
  • What do you like most about working for this company?
  • Do you have any particular reservations about my application for this position?
  • Ask the interviewer what their background is. Remember, people love talking about themselves. 

Good luck!