These Are the Interview Questions You Need to Have Answers For…
A central irony of the wealth management industry is that it is full of extroverts, yet wealth managers keep their interview questions hidden under lock and key.
When I got started in the industry at a pretty young age, I had no idea what to expect in an interview. I searched around, asked a few friends, and came away with little to show for it.
Luckily, I got my foot in the door and I’m certainly glad that I did. For the right people, there is hardly a better place to be.
…However, the industry has evolved over the past five years or so. There’s no getting around the fact that wealth management interviews have gotten more difficult.
No longer is simply being able to walk through your resume sufficient to get an offer to wherever you want.
Now interviewers are looking for something more. They’re looking for answers to more objective “technical”questions and are carefully scrutinizing your behavioral answers for the right keywords and framing.
This is true not only at large private wealth management shops like Goldman Sachs, but also true of smaller independent shops.
The Evolution of Wealth Management Interviews
Over the past five years the difficulty of interview questions being asked in wealth management interviews has risen. To be honest, this is probably for the best.
For decades wealth management operated under a churn and burn model where firms would hire a large percentage of applicants and hope a few of them would end up working out. If not, after a few years they would be out of the industry and off the payroll.
Now interviews are viewed asa sorting mechanism. More difficult questions are being asked, less offers are being given, and firms are taking the development of talent more seriously than they did ever before.
This is all good news for those who are serious about getting into wealth management! While before wealth management firms operated with a sink or swim mentality for new hires, today they are much more willing to support young employees.
…However, what this all does mean is that you need to take your preparation a little bit more diligently than you would have a few years ago.
No one is expecting you in an interview to talk about volatility smiles, what the convexity of a mortgage-backed securities is, or what your thoughts on the implied level of volatility inequities are.
The reality is that when you’re interviewing for a wealth management job, your interviewer is constantly trying to evaluate how you would do interacting with clients.
What they are looking for is your capacity to articulate what is happening across a number of asset classes using specific, industry-specific terminology.
I refer to the “level” your interview answers need to be at as being at roughly what you would expect to find reading the Wall Street Journal of Financial Times.
Do you need to know what interest rate swaptions are? No. But you should know how the yield curve is shaped presently and have a view on where rates will go.
Do you need to know what equity derivative terms like vega and vanna are? No. But you should have a view on equity markets and what the fundamentals driving them are.
Do you need to know how to build a 10-tab discounted cash flow model from scratch? No. But you do need to know what a discounted cash flow is and what it used for.
How to Prepare for a Wealth Management Interview…
Many make the mistake of thinking that wealth management interviews will be either:
✗ Entirely qualitative and more or less just a conversation regarding your past experiences in school orin the workplace
✗ Entirely focusing in on the exact type of work you’ll be doing in wealth management
However, neither of these are true at all!
The reality is that a wealth management interview can’t just be a casual conversation, because that strips any form of evaluation (beyond the personal) out of it.
That’s not meritocratic and even at small independent wealth managers that will not be how the interview is structured.
The reality is also that a wealth management interview won’t consist of you being grilled on the exact way in which the firm’s wealth managers operate, the structure of the firm, or the type of work you’ll be doing.
That’s because knowing the answers to any of those questions tells the interviewer nothing about whether you’ll be good at the job. Further, a private wealth management firm and an independent wealth management firm will have different ways of dealing with new entrants. No one expects you to know exactly how it all operates prior to beginning.
The types of questions asked in wealth management interviews are more fundamental.
They are meant to assess whether you just want a fancy sounding job, or actually have an interest in the industry and have an understanding of markets (again, at a Wall Street Journal or Financial Times level).
Introducing: The Wealth Management Interview Guide
Over the past number of years, I’ve had a substantial increase in those from my alma mater reach out asking for help in their wealth management interviews.
…This is often after they walked into an interview and were thrown off guard by the kinds of questions they were asked.
Instead of going over everything with each individual one-on-one, I spent every night over a few months writing a guide on the four types of interviews questions you need to be prepped for.
I’m proud of the results. As you’ll soon see, I’m not exactly charging an arm and a leg for the guide. Everyday a few people buy it, which allows me to pay my web hosting bills and pickup a nice bottle of wine once a month or so.
…So far everyone has absolutely loved the guides and it’s allowed many to ace their wealth management interview.
In total there are over 180 questions in the guide broken down into the four types of interview questions you need to be prepped for.
Each question comes with an explanation on what your answer should include, or an example of what a great answer to the question is.
I also kick off the guide with two sections: “Things to Keep in Mind” and “Interview Do’s and Don’t’s”. These sections are meant to set the stage for how to perform well in your interviews.
Like with any interview, you need to cater to the audience you’re interviewing with. Wealth management interviews are no different and these sections are my rules for how to really shine in an interview.
With all that being said, the meat of the guide is obviously the questions and answers, which can be broken down into these four types:
This Is the Definitive Wealth Management Interview Guide That I Wish I Had When I Began…
When I was scrounging around the internet years ago trying to find good wealth management interview questions,I could find none.
Unfortunately, times haven’t changed much and even though interviews have only grown more “technical” there are still no resources out there.
This guide was created to change that. Like I said earlier, at the price I’m charging I’m not exactly going to be retiring to the Maldives anytime soon.
However, I’ve found putting this guide together and hearing the feedback from those who have gone through it to be incredibly rewarding.
The reality is that preparing for a wealth management interview doesn’t need to be a stressful, months-long process.
…Even though interviews are more difficult than they ever have been, we’re still not talking about hedge fund analyst interview levels of difficulty here.
This guide has been created to strike the right balance. Giving you the most common questions with in-depth answers and explanations for why those answers are good.
If you’d like to pick it up, you can do so here (you’ll be taken to a page to automatically download the guide after ordering).
The best possible resource I could imagine to efficiently prepare for wealth management interviews.
A clearly carefully crafted guide with great explanations or examples. Should be much more -- A++
Happy to have found this prior to my interviews. You don't know what you don't know until you see some of these questions.
I should add that this guide is aimed in particular at those looking to break into the wealth management industry for the first time; whether that be at a private wealth managements hop or an independent one (PWM will focus more on some of the more “technical”questions in the guide).
For those with experience in the wealth management industry, your interviews will focus more on your client list, past experiences, rationale for leaving your current firm, etc.
You’ll still get some of the behavioral and market questions, but you should know all of those without needing a guide anyway.
Where Folks Have Gone
If You’re Looking to Break Into Wealth Management, You’ve Made the Right Choice…
Look, there’s no getting around the fact that wealth management isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s an industry where many people enter, and many people leave shortly thereafter.
However, wealth management is also a career that is as rewarding as it is challenging. You will have the capacity to build decade long relationships with clients where you are instrumental in helping them achieve whatever their desired goals are.
You will also have the capacity– if you get through those first few years that are tough for everyone – to have work life balance that is frankly unmatched.
I created this guide to try to help you get your foot in the door. If you think you’re going to have interviews lined up in the coming weeks or months, I think it’ll be well worth your time to go over it.
What I’ve heard from many who have gone through the guide is that it has been immensely helpful in not only illustrating what kinds of interview questions to expect, but also the right way to frame your answers in a wealth management context.
Best of luck!