To All Wirehouse Recruiters

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JimYoung's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-05

Hi I have a pre-screening interview position for a full-time associate position at UBS on Tuesday (there's only 100 spots in the country for this program and thousands are applying, which makes it highly competitive). Good thing is that my only competition are STRICTLY college kids. Basically the program is 2 years long and pretty much guarantees them into a FA role (giving them time to develop their sales skills). My question is, as a recruiter, what kind of questions would you ask this young college lad AND what would you look for? (keep in mind thousands are applying).

JCadieux's picture
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Joined: 2005-01-23

Hi, Jim.
I don't deal much with the "young college lad" set.  Most headhunters
(including G&A) only work with experienced candidates.  So I'm not
really familiar with college recruiting.    We're well known
for representing people both with and without portable books, but that
does not mean entry level.  Anyway, here's my best guess:Walk in with some sort of business plan.  Emphasize the things that
make you different and unique, especially networking and referral
relationships.  What would give you a marketing advantage compared to
other brokers?  A written plan is best, but if you put something in
writing then remember that this not poetry.  It's a to-do list.

Don't hand out your written business plan with your resume.  Let them
get to know you first.  Then use the written plan to answer a question
later on.Expect both traditional and behavioral questions.  When you get to the behavioral "tell me a story" kind of questions, don't try to reverse engineer the meaning.  Just give an interesting business related example that addresses the question directly.Relax.  Nervousness kills.   But don't relax too much.  IF the interviewer does something casual (loosens tie, swears, etc) DO NOT mimic them.  If you have to discuss a negative, such as a potential compliance issue, keep it brief and unemotional. They will ask questions if they need more.  Interviewers hate it when they ask a simple question and get "a story".  Remember that the interviewer has a to-do list of things that must be discussed in a limited time.  For example, we occasionally run into FAs who have an arrest on their U4 from some college prank.  The interviewer doesn't need to hear about your rivalry with Cowbell State U down the road or what color your were going to paint the mascot.  Just tell them you were arrested for a felony during a fraternity stunt but pled to a misdemeanor and got probation.  If the interviewer needs more he or she will ask.I'd really have to see your resume and know something about your background to offer more than generic advice.

JimYoung's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-05

JCadieux wrote:Hi, Jim.I don't deal much with the "young college lad" set.  Most headhunters (including G&A) only work with experienced candidates.  So I'm not really familiar with college recruiting.    We're well known for representing people both with and without portable books, but that does not mean entry level.  Anyway, here's my best guess:Walk in with some sort of business plan.  Emphasize the things that make you different and unique, especially networking and referral relationships.  What would give you a marketing advantage compared to other brokers?  A written plan is best, but if you put something in writing then remember that this not poetry.  It's a to-do list.Don't hand out your written business plan with your resume.  Let them get to know you first.  Then use the written plan to answer a question later on.Expect both traditional and behavioral questions.  When you get to the behavioral "tell me a story" kind of questions, don't try to reverse engineer the meaning.  Just give an interesting business related example that addresses the question directly.Relax.  Nervousness kills.   But don't relax too much.  IF the interviewer does something casual (loosens tie, swears, etc) DO NOT mimic them.  If you have to discuss a negative, such as a potential compliance issue, keep it brief and unemotional. They will ask questions if they need more.  Interviewers hate it when they ask a simple question and get "a story".  Remember that the interviewer has a to-do list of things that must be discussed in a limited time.  For example, we occasionally run into FAs who have an arrest on their U4 from some college prank.  The interviewer doesn't need to hear about your rivalry with Cowbell State U down the road or what color your were going to paint the mascot.  Just tell them you were arrested for a felony during a fraternity stunt but pled to a misdemeanor and got probation.  If the interviewer needs more he or she will ask.I'd really have to see your resume and know something about your background to offer more than generic advice.
Thanks for your help! pretty helpful, i was expecting some "go lay on a sidewalk" kinda response, but thank you. A little background, I'm the type of guy that locked myself in my room for a week to finish a series 7 book from STC. I've interned at multiple brokerage firms and am currently interning at UBS. I've made 200-300 dials a day before and have had actual sales skills prior to these internship jobs.
My marketing and niche will depend on reverse phone directories, phone books, small-mid-sized businesses, AND my local, closely-knit housing community (which is an avg of about 1.1 mill per house). My aunt is a U.S diplomat, my cousin is an attorney with about 300-350 clients, and other family members can get me corporate directories. I also read Nick Murray, Mitch Anthony, Leroy Gross and Bill Good's stuff all for fun/career/on my spare time. As far as the technical/marketing stuff goes, I think I'm pretty good compared to most college students. What I am WORRIED about is the behavior/personality questions such as "Name one life changing experience you got from college" or other bs type stuff...by any chance, what would you ask a bunch of competing college seniors in an interview? (all applicants ARE students). thanks!

JCadieux's picture
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Joined: 2005-01-23

JimYoung wrote:Thanks for your help! pretty helpful, i was expecting some "go lay on a sidewalk" kinda response, but thank you.Thanks.  We're not all trolls on this board.  Some of us are actually human.  :-)
JimYoung wrote:

A little background, I'm
the type of guy that locked myself in my room for a week to finish a
series 7 book from STC. I've interned at multiple brokerage firms and
am currently interning at UBS.The fact that you have your series 7 is a negligible advantage.  It's much more impressive that you have done the internships.Be ready to play the "Do you know Jim Smith" game for both UBS and the other firms where you've interned.  It's a small industry, and there are lots of cross-firm friendships.  Also, be prepared to compare and contrast the different firms and your experiences there.  Have a good answer for the question "Why do you want to work at UBS instead of the other firms where you've interned?"Be ready with the name and contact information for anybody who will vouch for you at UBS.
JimYoung wrote:
I've made 200-300 dials a day before and
have had actual sales skills prior to these internship jobs.
My marketing and niche will depend on reverse phone directories,
phone books, small-mid-sized businesses, AND my local,
closely-knit housing community (which is an avg of about 1.1 mill per
house). My aunt is a U.S diplomat, my cousin is an attorney with about
300-350 clients, and other family members can get me corporate
directories.The fact that you can make 200-300 dials per day shows tenacity and mental stamina.  It's a good example to use when asked about "difficult tasks" or "staying motivated".  However, your networking potential is much more impressive than your cold calling experience.  Be sure to make your network the centerpiece of your business plan.When you talk about your community, be sure to emphasize current relationships over "I can join the chamber" wishful thinking.  (The people who are successful networking inside these kind of organizations tend to be long-standing members or at least have an acquaintance who can introduce them around.)  I also like the way you quoted demographics.Be sure to have a business plan to back up your contacts.  For example, your Aunt may not be much help if she's stationed in an impoverished nation.  However, UBS has good international infrastructure so there may be an opportunity to become some sort of international specialist there.  But that means a LOT of additional paperwork and compliance headaches, so perhaps it would be best to either build your practice around the specialty or just leave it alone.If your relatives are willing to share corporate directories, then they may also be willing to act as a referral source within the firms.  The key here is to be known within a community as the go-to guy for financial services.Your cousin the attorney is your most impressive networking contact mentioned, especially if he or she works with small business owners or Trust/Estate issues.
JimYoung wrote:I also read Nick Murray, Mitch Anthony, Leroy Gross and
Bill Good's stuff all for fun/career/on my spare time. As far as the
technical/marketing stuff goes, I think I'm pretty good compared to
most college students.Like passing the Series 7, these are just educational credentials.  It's not very impressive to mention things like this in an interview unless it's in the context of putting theory into practice.  For example:  "Cold calling was rough at first but things improved dramatically after I read Bill Good's book."  It shows that you know more than just the title.
JimYoung wrote:What I am WORRIED about is the
behavior/personality questions such as "Name one life changing
experience you got from college" or other bs type stuff..I've seen some pretty smart people screw up behavioral interviewing questions like these simply by trying to reverse engineer the question.  this is not the time to think or try and guess the interviewer's motives.  Just relax and answer the question as asked.
JimYoung wrote:..by any
chance, what would you ask a bunch of competing college seniors in an
interview? (all applicants ARE students). thanks!I don't interview college students, so I rarely use behavioral or analytical questions anymore, but I do mention a few example questions above.  I'm more focused on evaluating an FA's style and the value of their practice (current and potential) in order to get a branch manager's attention and help everybody negotiate a win/win deal.  The best advice that I can give you is to avoid over analyzing behavioral interviewing questions and remember that your business plan is your best selling point.Good luck and be sure to let us know how it went!

JimYoung's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-05

JCadieux wrote: JimYoung wrote:Thanks for your help! pretty helpful, i was expecting some "go lay on a sidewalk" kinda response, but thank you.Thanks.  We're not all trolls on this board.  Some of us are actually human.  :-)JimYoung wrote:
A little background, I'm the type of guy that locked myself in my room for a week to finish a series 7 book from STC. I've interned at multiple brokerage firms and am currently interning at UBS.The fact that you have your series 7 is a negligible advantage.  It's much more impressive that you have done the internships.Be ready to play the "Do you know Jim Smith" game for both UBS and the other firms where you've interned.  It's a small industry, and there are lots of cross-firm friendships.  Also, be prepared to compare and contrast the different firms and your experiences there.  Have a good answer for the question "Why do you want to work at UBS instead of the other firms where you've interned?"Be ready with the name and contact information for anybody who will vouch for you at UBS.JimYoung wrote:
I've made 200-300 dials a day before and have had actual sales skills prior to these internship jobs.
My marketing and niche will depend on reverse phone directories, phone books, small-mid-sized businesses, AND my local, closely-knit housing community (which is an avg of about 1.1 mill per house). My aunt is a U.S diplomat, my cousin is an attorney with about 300-350 clients, and other family members can get me corporate directories.The fact that you can make 200-300 dials per day shows tenacity and mental stamina.  It's a good example to use when asked about "difficult tasks" or "staying motivated".  However, your networking potential is much more impressive than your cold calling experience.  Be sure to make your network the centerpiece of your business plan.When you talk about your community, be sure to emphasize current relationships over "I can join the chamber" wishful thinking.  (The people who are successful networking inside these kind of organizations tend to be long-standing members or at least have an acquaintance who can introduce them around.)  I also like the way you quoted demographics.Be sure to have a business plan to back up your contacts.  For example, your Aunt may not be much help if she's stationed in an impoverished nation.  However, UBS has good international infrastructure so there may be an opportunity to become some sort of international specialist there.  But that means a LOT of additional paperwork and compliance headaches, so perhaps it would be best to either build your practice around the specialty or just leave it alone.If your relatives are willing to share corporate directories, then they may also be willing to act as a referral source within the firms.  The key here is to be known within a community as the go-to guy for financial services.Your cousin the attorney is your most impressive networking contact mentioned, especially if he or she works with small business owners or Trust/Estate issues.JimYoung wrote:
I also read Nick Murray, Mitch Anthony, Leroy Gross and Bill Good's stuff all for fun/career/on my spare time. As far as the technical/marketing stuff goes, I think I'm pretty good compared to most college students.Like passing the Series 7, these are just educational credentials.  It's not very impressive to mention things like this in an interview unless it's in the context of putting theory into practice.  For example:  "Cold calling was rough at first but things improved dramatically after I read Bill Good's book."  It shows that you know more than just the title.JimYoung wrote:
What I am WORRIED about is the behavior/personality questions such as "Name one life changing experience you got from college" or other bs type stuff..I've seen some pretty smart people screw up behavioral interviewing questions like these simply by trying to reverse engineer the question.  this is not the time to think or try and guess the interviewer's motives.  Just relax and answer the question as asked.
JimYoung wrote:..by any chance, what would you ask a bunch of competing college seniors in an interview? (all applicants ARE students). thanks!I don't interview college students, so I rarely use behavioral or analytical questions anymore, but I do mention a few example questions above.  I'm more focused on evaluating an FA's style and the value of their practice (current and potential) in order to get a branch manager's attention and help everybody negotiate a win/win deal.  The best advice that I can give you is to avoid over analyzing behavioral interviewing questions and remember that your business plan is your best selling point.Good luck and be sure to let us know how it went!

great advice! i will definitely remember to elaborate on why i chose wirehouse over bank/indy. Is it bad to mention that I also plan on interviewing for Merrill, Morgan, SB? Does it make it seem like there's more competition for my employment or does it make it seem like UBS is just another job for me?

techo's picture
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Joined: 2007-07-24

I have an interview coming up next week. I was lurking, and wanted to say thank you for the tips as well!

JimYoung's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-05

techo wrote:I have an interview coming up next week. I was lurking, and wanted to say thank you for the tips as well!
lol seems like you killed two birds with one stone JCadieux! thanks.

JCadieux's picture
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Joined: 2005-01-23

JimYoung wrote:Is it bad to mention that I also plan on interviewing for Merrill, Morgan, SB? Does it make it seem like there's more competition for my employment or does it make it seem like UBS is just another job for me?It's not a bad idea to bring this up, just don't pummel them with it.Interviewing around is the best way to do research and show them that you're making a careful, rational decision about your career.

JimYoung's picture
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Joined: 2007-08-05

JCadieux wrote: JimYoung wrote:Is it bad to mention that I also plan on interviewing for Merrill, Morgan, SB? Does it make it seem like there's more competition for my employment or does it make it seem like UBS is just another job for me?It's not a bad idea to bring this up, just don't pummel them with it.Interviewing around is the best way to do research and show them that you're making a careful, rational decision about your career.
what do you think would be the best way to ease this into an interview?

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