Understanding (and Preparing for) the Interviewing Process

October 21st, 2015

Landing a job in the quantitative field presents a unique set of challenges. Not only must you demonstrate your mathematical and analytical prowess, you must also show that you fit the corporate culture. Companies typically assess this in a multistep process made up of testing and several interviews. Here are a few tips to help you make it through the process successfully.

Typical structure

It’s likely that your day will begin with written exams to assess your aptitudes and quantitative abilities. Your first interview will probably be with HR to get a general sense of your suitability for the position. Then you’ll speak to someone who can ask technical questions – and understand the answers. Later you may speak to your potential manager and possibly members of your future team to assess fit. Finally, you could meet with an executive or higher-level manager, mostly to sign off on the decision.

Common quant interview questions

Many questions will relate to mathematics, statistics or programming. While you may not have in-depth experience in all of these areas, your interviewers will be looking for you to demonstrate a well-rounded level of knowledge, paired with deep knowledge in your area of expertise.

Strategies for success

Ask who you will be meeting with. Interviewers will likely include HR, a hiring manager, department manager, co-workers and executives. Ask for their names and in what order you will be meeting them. Looking them up on LinkedIn before your meeting can ensure that you are well-informed and help you to prepare targeted responses.

Be ready for anything. Bring multiple copies of your resume. Make sure you are up on the latest issues of Economist, Financial Times or Wall Street Journal so you have conversation starters. Know everything you can about the company, your interviewers and the opportunity to increase your confidence in the interview. Don’t be surprised if you are asked some oddball questions designed to understand how you think and how you react under pressure.

Prepare for a marathon not a sprint. If you have multiple interviews in one day, be sure that you eat beforehand, preferably a meal with a combination of protein and carbs that will stay with you for a while. If it’s an all day affair, you will most likely be provided lunch or at least given a break to obtain your own, but it’s wise to pack an energy bar or a package of almonds to prevent a mid-afternoon slump.

Variety is important. Every interviewer will ask you to walk them through your experience and resume. Make every effort to stay fresh. Repeating the same basic information 4 or 5 times can get tiresome, but don’t let it show. Prepare plenty of anecdotes with data to back it up. Begin and end each interview strong. Don’t let your mind wander to the next interview or the last.

At Select Group, Inc., we understand how stressful quantitative interviews can be. Our goal is to identify the best opportunities for you and ensure that you go into each interview thoroughly prepared. Contact us today to take the next step in your search.

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