Passion, drive and proof…

What do I look for when interviewing a new graduate? Below are a few tips that might help you.

Got the marks at Uni. CHECK.

Sent your resume and cover letter in. CHECK.

Been asked in for an interview. CHECK.

Then what? The dread sets in. What happens if you make a mistake, stuff up the interview or worse… don’t get offered the job?

Well I’m here to help give an insiders view of what I look for when interviewing for a new graduate role in financial services?

Below are three simple questions I ask myself at the end of the interview with you. If I don’t know or am unsure about the answer, then reality may just set in for you…. Think about these things before heading into an interview and you’ll be off to a good start.

Who are you, and I mean, really?

Marks are one thing but really, I want to know if you’ll fit culturally within my business. In reality I ask myself, who are you? Really? I want to see that you can bring your whole self, authentic self, to work. 

I ask a lot of questions such as what do you do on the weekend? What was your most recent mistake? What did you learn? What are your hobbies and what are you passionate about? The answers to these questions indicate to me a number of things such as what job role are you most suited for, whether you are a team player,  even can we have a fun chat on a Monday morning about the weekend?

Work is a place where you spend a lot of time. You need to get along with the people you work with. It should be fun. Are you fun?

Personally, I love to see volunteering and social impact amongst your CV. If more of us thought about leaving the world in a better place than what we found, then we’d all be much better off.  Humility is a wonderful trait and can show me attributes of true character.

Why are you interested in finance?

Is it just because your dad told you that finance would be a great career and that you should look into it? Is it because all your mates are focusing their attention in getting roles in finance and then you should too? If the answer is yes, then I question whether finance is really for you. I believe that you should be passionate about the industry, even before you work out the company or job role that you are interested in.

And, I always want to see your proof. Do you invest in shares yourself? Even in a very minor way? If you don’t - then fine but do you follow a portfolio manager and what is going on in their portfolios? Do you dissect your (or your parents) superannuation account and ask questions about portfolio construction, economies, markets? Do you even know what superannuation is? Are you inquisitive? Do you read the financial press? Even do you access basic tools such as the ASX investment game to follow stocks like a fantasy league?

Have you thought about a post graduate courses such as a Masters in Commerce/ Investment, CFA, a Diploma in Financial Advising or another option that is better suited to your skills? Sometimes it’s just the thought that counts.

Your response to these questions show me the proof… are you interested because you say you are, or are you really, really interested in knowing more and getting your hands dirty.

Are you a sponge? Can you teach and be teachable?

Leadership means different things to different people. But to me leadership is a transitory role in which to manage relationships to make the wonderful happen. Anyone can be a leader and a great one at that. Good leaders are like sponges, lapping up information from others to create new opportunities, new ways of doing things, new challenges. Leaders teach but are also teachable. Leaders guide, support and acknowledge others. Are you a leader?

Getting to the interview stage is one thing, but we’ve all had the experience where candidates who read well on paper are not as impressive in person. I impress on you to think about your responses to the above questions. You’ll be the better for it, and the finance industry will be too.

Best of luck,