Fixed Income Sales Interview Tips


#1

In general, how technical do these interviews get for tier 1 investment banks? Will it go into swaptions, CDS, CLNs, etc?

Also, any rough ballpoint figure of how much graduate intake is going to be slashed by in 2009? John Thain told the 2008 summer intern class that Merrill weren’t going to slash graduate intake as they would find gaps in the workforce in years to come… But then again he has been quite positive about the $50bn+ writedowns!


#2

The more you know the better. Graduate jobs at Investment Banks are some of the hardest jobs to get. You’ll be competing with Oxford and Cambridge grads, with second languages and IB internships. Find out all you can about IB.

John Thain is right. In previous economic downturns firms have slashed recruitment and it has left holes in their staff as a consequence. IB firms will not want to slash graduate recruitment if they can help it, even if they are firing other current staff.

Some firms have decided to just stop recruiting grads (e.g. [[Lehman Brothers]]) whilst others are continuing as normal. The reduction in graduate intake will vary substantially from firm to firm.


#3

It depends what you are applying for. If you are worried about it being too technical, best advice is to apply and give it a shot, in the worst case you’ll be back where you started. If you are applying for a very competitive or technical position, such as [[trading]] or [[corporate finance]], expect there to be some fairly taxing questions. Chances are there will be an interview reserved for this, which won’t be the first interview. I imagine your first interview will be a [[competency based interview]].

Most firms won’t be slashing their recruiting because they need people at certain levels in the firm in years to come. Gaps in their workforce can create serious problems for their business in the future.