Most people are fully aware of what the basic steps are to prepare for an interview in the Investment Banking world these days. Research the company and the culture, study the job description, look for any recent press releases and begin to prepare yourself for the interview, etc…
But is this enough to differentiate yourself between the competition you will face in this difficult job market? What truly separates you from the pack?
Employers hold all the cards when it comes to hiring in this environment. Here are some things to consider when meeting with a prospective employer
Credentials and Licenses – Make sure you are up to date with all the possible certifications that apply in the investment banking industry and to your specific position. I recently placed an individual in a high level Compliance role for one of my international banking clients. The difference in this person securing the position over the other candidates was his JD degree and ACAMS certification.
Continuing Education – The market is constantly changing, especially in Compliance roles and Audit and Regulatory Reporting. Companies want candidates who are forward thinkers and proactive in their approach. Keep your skills and knowledge up to date by taking continuing education or specialty course and seminars in your area of expertise. Stay up to date with recent changes in the investment banking industry and convey this knowledge during the interview.
Accomplishments – Having a resume that matches the job responsibilities of the role you are interviewing for will most likely get you in the door, but listing some major accomplishments allows for more in depth conversations during the interview. It will also show the employer how you have made a direct contribution to your company’s bottom line. Explaining how you generated new business, accomplished cost savings or created process improvements that saved your employer money and time can be a very powerful way to differentiate yourself from your competition. Remember to use real numbers and actual results for the most positive effect!
Questions – Asking relevant and direct questions of your interviewer shows your interest level in the position and also opens up additional points for discussion. The best questions are those that are based on what the interviewer has presented during the interview, so listen carefully and keep a mental note to revisit some of the information that was initially discussed. Good questions can elicit important information for you, as well as show the interviewer that you were listening. It also allows you to continue to present your knowledge and expand upon your experiences related to the questions you ask. There have been so many times when a hiring manager will note the excellent questions a candidate asked as a reason why they chose one candidate over another.