By Ian Harvey
As you may have seen in my previous article on breaking into the business, I follow a process when searching for my next opportunity:
• Explore what I am looking for in my next career move
• Make a list of potential firms in NYC
• Reach out to these firms and schedule informational interviews or apply if an opening is available
• Prepare for interviews once they were scheduled
I want to spend some time on this last bullet point: preparing for interviews. Perhaps the most important moment in an interview is when the interviewee is given an opportunity to ask questions of the interviewer.
While it may be true that there are no silly questions, the best questions you can ask demonstrate your interest in the firm and desire to dig deeper than what you can find in your pre-interview research. We have a lot to cover so let’s jump right in!
Adding a new employee impacts firm culture, the shared workload between you and your prospective colleagues, and hopefully brings fresh thoughts to the table. It takes time to train a new employee how to deliver financial advice in the manner in which their clients have become accustomed, to use firm software as intended, and build trust.
Time they would prefer to spend on one best-fit candidate. In short, they consider the hiring decision seriously, carefully read your application materials, and ask specific questions. Your goal is to be as prepared as possible so your answers and questions come naturally, rather than attempting to think through your responses on the spot. I typically focus on three main areas pre-interview:
• The firm
• The interviewers
First, you want to be sure you know yourself. Consider your resume and experience to date. and ask yourself questions such as:
• Why are you interested in the given role?
• How has your education or past work experience prepared you for this role?
• How have you handled a difficult client situation in the past?
• What are your strengths and opportunities for growth?
While you may know the answers to personal questions when you sit quietly in a room, the pressure of an interview can cause you to second guess your answer and lead to a less than organized response. I find it helpful to jot down a few notes to myself which I bring with me to the interview.
I then transition to researching the firm. While you expect your interviewer has read your resume and cover letter, or perhaps searched the internet to find your virtual footprint, they too expect that you have done the same with regards to the firm.
Start with the website and read every page, read a few of their blog posts, spend time on their social media pages, and search for articles where the firm is mentioned. As you read, write down questions to ask in your interview.
Note, the best questions are not answerable with a simple internet search. That is, consider what else is available for public review that may answer some questions, or provide material for a deeper, more purposeful question. It is time to read our industry’s public disclosure form, the ADV, which can be found here. Next week, we will review how to read the ADV and what to search for as you formulate your questions.
Last but certainly not least, know your interviewer. If you are fortunate enough to know who will be sitting on the other side of the table, be sure to learn as much as you can ahead of time.
Many times a simple internet search will reveal their LinkedIn profile, articles they have written or articles in which they are quoted, and other items which tell you more about them as a person. I have been able to connect with interviewers regarding where they grew up, their career, the university they attended, or their charitable work.
Remember, we are in the business of understanding and relating to the person on the other side of the table. Your pre-interview research can make the difference between leaving a lasting impression on the interviewer and melding into the stack of resumes they receive daily.
alt=”” width=”200″ height=”200″ />Originally from the Jersey Shore, Ian lives in Manhattan. A graduate of the Financial Planning program at Virginia Tech, he earned his CFP® in 2014 and has always operated as a fiduciary advisor for clients. He co-founded the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA) Student Chapter at Virginia Tech, which grew to be the largest student organization in the country in its first year.
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Here are past NexGen columns: