Didn't get hired by ML

27 replies [Last post]
mx597turbo's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-10-22

Well, I didn't get hired by ML. I went through the interview process a little out of order. I first met with two senior FA's, then took the personality and FIAT tests. Finally, I met with the branch director, who said they wouldn't be moving forward with me.A quick summary of the process: Meeting with the two senior FA's went great. They were both very helpful and gave a lot of insight into the industry and ML. I spent about 30 mins with each. The both told me they thought I would do great at ML. I believed them since there was no real reason for them for bs me.I took the personality test at home. It took about an hour. There were two questions that I knew wold lower my score: how many people do you know personally with incomes over $250K and $100K. I could have lied, but I was honest. I really don't know anyone over $250k, and maybe three people over $100k. The FIAT was a joke. it's 30 questions. 10 basic math problems, 10 investment problems (interest, net profit/loss, etc.) and 10 economics questions. You have to do it in the office. It took me about 30 minutes and I got 29 of 30 correct. You don't get to use a calculator.Then I finally interviewed with the branch manager. I could tell immediately I wasn't going to get the job. The reasons he gave were that I didn't have the right network, and I didn't have enough experience in the industry; basically the costs of training and licensing were too high to take a risk on me. He was polite and gave me a few resume pointers. Just thought I would let people know what to expect from ML. The feeling I got is that unless you have a very solid network, they don't want you. The manager said he doesn't like his FA's cold calling. That's not how to build a business.So take it for what it's worth.

damion99's picture
Offline
Joined: 2007-11-19

Im sorry.  Honestly MSSB is a better firm in my opinion but i also do feel that you should know what you are going to be doing before you even aplly to those firms. I went on 7 interviews with MSSB 4 with Ml and 2 with UBS and i didnt get any of those jobs.  What i am trying to say is that dont let that stop you.  Im currently working MSSB and absolutely love it.  :)

PushForward's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-04-07

Sorry to hear that it didn't work out for you at ML.I would try again, maybe not at ML but def another major wirehouse. I'm also with MSSB and enjoy where I am.Some people get into this business on their first try, others it may take a few tries or they may have to put in time in a shitty job before stepping into the big leagues. I think those that have to work just to get to the point of being hired as a traine "make it" on a high percentage (compared to those who get into the business with not as much effort) because they appreciate the opportunity more and want it more.If you feel like this is your life's calling and you can't see yourself doing anything else, don't give up. Give it another go.-PF

mx597turbo's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-10-22

The worst part is that as a substitute teacher (which is I'm doing right now) every one of those interviews was $100 out of my pocket. I couldn't imagine 7 interviews, only to not get the job. Three would be my limit for any job.

blackheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2007-02-22

Sorry to hear you did not get it.  If you really want it I would keep after them.  I know a guy in one ML office who was continuously rejected but kept after the complex director.  They eventually hired him after nearly a year of him pestering them.

damion99's picture
Offline
Joined: 2007-11-19

Persistency is the key man.  People knowing you want it and you are willing to work at getting what u want

mx597turbo's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-10-22

Nah, it's cool. I've already moved on from ML. I applied to MSSB and Wells. If neither hires me, I'll go back to teaching at the HS full time.The money for teaching isn't great, but you work a total of 1260 hours a year and make $55k, so the pay is about $43/hour. Not too bad. and summers off, too. On top of that, you have plenty of time to make money at something else.

Mr. Net New's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-04-30

I hate that you didn't get the job.  However, here is some constructive criticism for you going forward.  Take it or leave it for what it's worth.If the attitude you're displaying here in respect to not getting the job is any indication of the desire and determination you expressed in the interviews with ML, I feel that may be biggest detriment to you getting hired.  Not just at ML, but with any firm.  A passive attitude of if I don't get it, I'll just go back to my teaching gig (and, I hope you didn't say that when (if) they asked you what you're going to do if this job doesn't work out), illustrates that you're simply taking a shot at becoming an advisor.  "If I get hired great... If not, that's cool, too..."  I would imagine (by your current choice of career as well as your tone here) this showed true with the branch manager at ML.  I know you've heard this before, but being an FA is tough.  And, I'm not saying that just to discourage you from the industry.  But, to succeed as an FA - starting fresh (without a large network or family wealth) as I have - having an attitude of determination, focus and salesmanship is paramount.  Of course this is just my opinion, but those three traits are common among a large majority of successful FA's.  Starting with your interview, as you have described it, I don't know that you displayed those qualities to the hiring branch manager.Determination: Are you absolutely determined to get hired?  (I believe you've already answered that above in your comments, however.)  If you can't answer that with a resounding yes, then even if you did happen to get hired, you would simply be wasting yours and the firm's time.  Focus: Are you absolutely focused on becoming a successful FA and okay with letting other opportunities pass you by in your pursuit of becoming an FA?  Salesmanship: Are you capable of persuading a near stranger that they should entrust you with their life savings and security in retirement?  Salesmanship is not relegated simply to selling a financial product.  I'm referring to salesmanship in the sense of: Can you sell yourself?  Can you sell a Director or branch manager that despite my lack of a network, despite my lack of experience, that I'm going to be a smashing success in this business and here's why?  The fact of the matter is that you didn't get hired due to your network or your lack of experience.  You didn't get hired because the branch manager wasn't sold on mx597turbo.  Personally, a couple other things come to mind when weighing why you didn't get hired (and why you may need to think if you're really ready for this industry):

  • You're still factoring success in terms of how much you get paid per hour
  • You're concerned that you missed out on $100 by having to go interviews
  • You're a substitute teacher (Nothing wrong with being a sub. teacher; however, the set of skills don't equate to a success FA's, more importantly, the mindset of being a sub. teacher doesn't equate to a career as an FA)
  • You've already 'moved on'

Regardless of what you did in the interview, I would question your mindset.Yes, a little criticism here, but I do hope you take it as constructive. 

BACFA's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-03-26

Mr. Net New is right on target.  And certainly don't take it as a personal attack.

WiredUp's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-11-24

If what Mr. Net New says does upset you or you do take it personally, I would say that being an FA isn't the career for you. This job requires someone that doesn't get upset because 99 out of 100 people tell you to run face first into a steak knife, but someone that is going to wake up in the morning and can't wait to find the 1 that doesn't tell them that. And there's nothing wrong with being a sub-teacher but the mindsets are very different. Like someone said, you don't have contacts and you weren't in a sales position before this. You also caught a bad break because your BM doesn't want cold-calling. So that office may not be a fit for you, but I'm sure if you were to get in front of another BM, they might be different. Not trying to attack you either, but you're trying to go into a career right now that probably isn't the easiest to succeed in, and you don't know anyone with money. If you have those two things working against you, you have to sell yourself to the BM, show them that you are willing to work your *ss off to get the assets and households you need to be worth investing in you. If you're going into the investment business, you have to see if from their side. They are investing $40-$75k a year into you. Right now at best you may know 3 people over $100k, so if you got lucky and they all gave their accounts to you at ,say 1.5%, you're looking at $4500 gross comp. You're only 10% of the way to THEM breaking even by taking a chance on you. How are you going to get the other 90% of the way? One suggestion is calling the BM aggressively, asking for another chance to sit down and show them why they should take invest in you. Learn how to sell, show them you are in a networking group, or how you're trying to make yourself more marketable and getting involved with people with money. At the end of the day, the BM cares how you're going to bring in assets. And don't forget, this is a contact sport, and I don't know how aggressively you went after the BM during the interview to sell yourself before or after he said they weren't moving forward with you. If a prospect said "No" to you, would you tuck tail and call it a day?

PushForward's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-04-07

I'd like to touch on what the others have said about persistance.To make it in this career (and its probably fair to say sales in general) you have to want it. And I mean, WANT IT - not "Well, if it works out great, I'd prefer that but if not then thats okay too". You have to want this more then anyone else, almost to the point of you could not see yourself doing anything else.It's kind of like Zig Zigler says (and I'm paraphrasing). "I'd like to encourage you to leave the sales profession, if you can. But if you can't see yourself doing anything else, read on."Every person has something that they are meant for, something that they excell at. This can be anything but its unique to your personality. For some this may be anaylizing/auditing, public speaking, leadership, acting, selling, pushing the envelope - really anything. Hell, for some people being a criminal is what they excel at, all though I don't recommend that route. But none the less we all have something that we can do really well and better then others.Becoming a successful FA is about embodying the entrepenerial spirit. Think of becoming a FA as going into business for yourself but not by yourself as the saying goes. Better yet, you're going into business for yourself and doing it with someone else's (the sponsering firm) money.Statisticlly, only about 1 in 5 will "make it" out of the 3-4 year training period so the person that makes it has to pay not only for their cost but the cost with the 4 others that failed.If you were to ask me what has made me successful in sales, I would say two things.1)  I am very persistant.2) I have a likeable personality.Persistance is the most important quality and persistance can overcome any road block in life. Hell, I have a speach impediment (or is it impairment? same difference). When I was young it was really bad, not quite as bad as "The King's Speach" but I did speach therapy and everything. Even to this day I still get nervous talking to people and start stumbling over my words or speaking too fast. But through persistance my speach is infinately better then it was as a child.I've gotten over my challanges with persistance more then anything else. Persistance is what led to my early breaks and success in the sales profession. But there is a thing of "too much of a good thing" - you don't want to over do it and it can be be a thin line.In the case of getting hired as a FA trainee I think I came right up to that line and may have even crossed it a bit. The BM (polietly) told me to back off a bit. Its like the difference between confidence and arogence. The trick is knowing where the line is.So, word to the wise there.If this career is what you want, give it another try. Maybe talk to the BM again or touch base in a month, another position will open itself up for you. But if you're not 100% committed, find self else that you enjoy and will be right for YOU.That's my advise.-PF

mx597turbo's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-10-22

A couple of things:First, nothing I read here would get me upset. I appreciate everyone's advice and criticism.Second, I don't think you guys understood what I meant. The BM called me out on my network right from the get go. Basically the first thing he said was I did bad on the "personality" exam because I answered those two questions at the lowest numbers. I wasn't getting the job simply based on the test score.If the first thing you say to me is this job isn't for you because you don't come from money, then maybe it's not. The BM is responsible for his branch, and I would assume with his experience, he knows what works for his branch. To be quite honest, after the interview, I wouldn't take the job even if the BM called me back and asked me to work for him.Third, I an a fully licensed teacher, and I taught HS math and business for 5 years. I also have consulted on a contact basis. I am subbing because I tried another venture that didn't work out. The reason I worry about losing $100 on an interview is that right now, money is tight, and summer work isn't guaranteed, nor does it pay particularly well. I don't want to completely drain my savings this summer.Fourth, you should ALWAYS look at a job in terms of $/hr. It lets you know if you are using your time effectively. In my own example, I would have to make about $96k to justify working 2200 hours per year. If I'm making substantially less, it would be more profitable to work as a teacher, since there are opportunities to work additional hours in both the night and summer. I encourage everyone to look at how much you are making per hour and compare it to the best alternative.Finally, I'm realistic. The reason I say I can fall back on teaching is because I CAN. I know many people in this industry that don't have anything to fall back on. Everyone here says that 80%-90% of people in this industry wash out. If that is true, then I should be prepared to go back to teaching. This isn't a negative view, just reality. Think of it this way; imagine you bet your entire future on a dice roll. The only way you will succeed is if you a 6. If that is the case, then you will MOST LIKELY fail. If that is the case, BE PREPARED for failure.So when I say I can go back to teaching, I'm just hedging against failure.  

BACFA's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-03-26

MX, no problem with your outlook.  I agree it's very realistic but starting out as a PMD (ML trainee) sometimes requires that leap of faith.  I've seen some disastrous consequences due to that leap, too, so I am not completely disagreeing with you.  The $/hour calculation for a PMD will ALWAYS be horrible when starting out (and probably a worse number than being a teacher for many years). I think your BM requiring a network is either, 1. an anomaly that he's looking for or, 2. he was trying to screen you out.  But like I said above, I've seen PMD's that have essentially wasted a year of their life, struggling to make it, but end up getting let go. The BM probably should have saved them the heartache by guding them into a different direction from the start.  In some cases, they didn't fit the business model here, and have gone on to be very successful at other firms.By the way, there is little "training" in the Merrill PMD program.  And you will never get the respect here that a teacher gets.  

mx597turbo's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-10-22

Well, I have an interview with MSSB next week. I'll see how that goes. From my phone convos, I already know I scored very well on the tests. The BM seems really cool, and set the appointment himself. This is already a positive sign to me. I'll post an update next week. 

RickRoss's picture
Offline
Joined: 2008-10-14

BACFA wrote:MX, no problem with your outlook.  I agree it's very realistic but starting out as a PMD (ML trainee) sometimes requires that leap of faith.  I've seen some disastrous consequences due to that leap, too, so I am not completely disagreeing with you.  The $/hour calculation for a PMD will ALWAYS be horrible when starting out (and probably a worse number than being a teacher for many years). I think your BM requiring a network is either, 1. an anomaly that he's looking for or, 2. he was trying to screen you out.  But like I said above, I've seen PMD's that have essentially wasted a year of their life, struggling to make it, but end up getting let go. The BM probably should have saved them the heartache by guding them into a different direction from the start.  In some cases, they didn't fit the business model here, and have gone on to be very successful at other firms.By the way, there is little "training" in the Merrill PMD program.  And you will never get the respect here that a teacher gets.   Just out of curiousity, based on what you've seen, where do most of those "failed PMDs" end up?

I am legend's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-03-04

mx597turbo wrote:Nah, it's cool. I've already moved on from ML. I applied to MSSB and Wells. If neither hires me, I'll go back to teaching at the HS full time.The money for teaching isn't great, but you work a total of 1260 hours a year and make $55k, so the pay is about $43/hour. Not too bad. and summers off, too. On top of that, you have plenty of time to make money at something else.Did you get an interview with WFA?  I know that the managers have a huge incentive this year to hire trainees since head count is part of their bonus structure.  What part of the country are you in?  PM me if you don't want to answer here.

mx597turbo's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-10-22

I am legend wrote:Did you get an interview with WFA?  I know that the managers have a huge incentive this year to hire trainees since head count is part of their bonus structure.  What part of the country are you in?  PM me if you don't want to answer here.No interview with WFA. I'm actually very pressed for time as far as MSSB is concerned also. Right now, I have two teaching jobs lined up for the summer. I can have my pick of either. But I only have two more weeks to let them know I want the job or someone else is getting it. So I'm going to press the BM to make a hriing decision this week or early next week. If I don't work this summer, I will literally have no money before August.

Otane's picture
Offline
Joined: 2008-08-04

"The manager said he doesn't like his FA's cold calling. That's not how to build a business."Idiotic. But, more opportunities for cold callers. Idiots like that can't take it when people hang-up on them or say no. They should be wearing dresses. If you have the connections, don't go to a loser B/D that pays you half of what an insurance of RIA would pay. If you have the connections, go past jail and don't collect the $200.  

WiredUp's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-11-24

The BM called me out on my network right from the get go. Basically the
first thing he said was I did bad on the "personality" exam because I
answered those two questions at the lowest numbers. I wasn't getting the
job simply based on the test score.   He called you out on not knowing anyone or having a network? He gave you an objection and was probably waiting for you to have a rebuttal or give him a reason to hire you. If a prospect says I'm not really sure, what are you going to do? Fourth, you should ALWAYS look at a job in terms of $/hr. This is a career and you have to look at it like you're starting a business. You are most likely going to struggle out of the gate until you figure out how to sell, then how are you going to get in front of people with money?Then, how are you going to close? I see your point, but you have to understand that you have probably zero sales experience, no network and no family money or savings. You are going to want to have some savings to get into this industry unless you get a good salary. While ML/MSSB/WFA might have a high salary, it ain't going to be $96k. Their top is $75k and it wouldn't be from someone coming from teaching, no offense. They usually give it to people w/ sales experience, B2B or someone coming from another career like a CPA/atty/exec with connections and a network. It doesn't mean family money either. If you get an offer, be prepared for a low starting salary. Not saying you won't get a high one, but if you don't, better sell yourself to the BM that you'll run through a wall to succeed. Having a fall back job is great, but I don't want to sound cliche but you have to jump in head first and really want it. There's a very slim chance your $/hr is going to be very high your first year. You're going to be working your ass off, especially because you have to find your clients with no network or sales experience.I don't know you, but from your posts it almost seems like you wouldn't mind dabbling in this career until it gets too hard, or you can go back to full time teaching, or make short term money someone else. You don't really seem like you're very motivated or excited about this career and don't really feel like you need to go after it because you can "always go back to teaching." I wish you luck, but this job sucks for the first couple of years, and if you do get an offer, don't half ass it, otherwise you're wasting your time again and should have stayed in teaching. I'm not saying this to be a dick, but coming from teaching, no sales exp, no network, you're going to have a very difficult time in this industry unless you swallow your pride and go all in. I wish you luck and hope that you get an offer and prove us all wrong.  

Stockguy2011's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-03-28

WiredUp wrote:The BM called me out on my network right from the get go. Basically the first thing he said was I did bad on the "personality" exam because I answered those two questions at the lowest numbers. I wasn't getting the job simply based on the test score.   He called you out on not knowing anyone or having a network? He gave you an objection and was probably waiting for you to have a rebuttal or give him a reason to hire you. If a prospect says I'm not really sure, what are you going to do? Fourth, you should ALWAYS look at a job in terms of $/hr. This is a career and you have to look at it like you're starting a business. You are most likely going to struggle out of the gate until you figure out how to sell, then how are you going to get in front of people with money?Then, how are you going to close? I see your point, but you have to understand that you have probably zero sales experience, no network and no family money or savings. You are going to want to have some savings to get into this industry unless you get a good salary. While ML/MSSB/WFA might have a high salary, it ain't going to be $96k. Their top is $75k and it wouldn't be from someone coming from teaching, no offense. They usually give it to people w/ sales experience, B2B or someone coming from another career like a CPA/atty/exec with connections and a network. It doesn't mean family money either. If you get an offer, be prepared for a low starting salary. Not saying you won't get a high one, but if you don't, better sell yourself to the BM that you'll run through a wall to succeed. Having a fall back job is great, but I don't want to sound cliche but you have to jump in head first and really want it. There's a very slim chance your $/hr is going to be very high your first year. You're going to be working your ass off, especially because you have to find your clients with no network or sales experience.I don't know you, but from your posts it almost seems like you wouldn't mind dabbling in this career until it gets too hard, or you can go back to full time teaching, or make short term money someone else. You don't really seem like you're very motivated or excited about this career and don't really feel like you need to go after it because you can "always go back to teaching." I wish you luck, but this job sucks for the first couple of years, and if you do get an offer, don't half ass it, otherwise you're wasting your time again and should have stayed in teaching. I'm not saying this to be a dick, but coming from teaching, no sales exp, no network, you're going to have a very difficult time in this industry unless you swallow your pride and go all in. I wish you luck and hope that you get an offer and prove us all wrong.  Couldn't agree more.  MX -sorry to say it, but you don't have the mindset to be in this profession.  I don't get the feeling you have the confidence and brass balls to make it.Your interview was very similar to mine 2 years ago.  Regional Manager asked me why he shouldn't let me join at EDJ or NMFN or AXA and let me flounder around for a while, until I proved I could make it."Because you will regret it if you do, and when I am the top advisor in my region, it won't be for your company."  Yes I got the job.

apg96's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-11-11

Not to jack this thread, I do have a question for a lot of you guys.I am currently interviewing with a lot of different firms, regional, indy, and wirehouses. I like MSSB because of the high starting salary and confident in their training. I am coming from selling life insurance. I have a great network of wealth individuals with many that fall in to the UHNW category. My questions is I got thru the first interview with the BM, I passed the assessment and Biz Plan, but he keeps telling me when I call to check in that he forgot to call the guy in charge of new advisors for the region to set up an interview which is the next step. Its been about 2 months and I have talked with him at least 5 times hearing the same thing. Whats going on? Is this a test to see how long I will cheap calling him for? If so how often can I call before I piss him off. Im calling him once a week if I reach him or twice if I dont. I am also leaving a message.Also, we have a lot of MSSB branches around, can I just call up another one and interview with them? I am eager to leave my life insurance job and get to work on the investment side of it. Plus I have some clients on the back burner to take over their investments, but I dont want to mention them in the interview to make sure I dont get higher hurdles because of it.How long should the hiring process at MSSB take? 

damion99's picture
Offline
Joined: 2007-11-19

He is stalling for some reason..You dont want to work with a bm that acts like that.  Call other branches and find who the Bm are and they will talk to you.  That guy is wasting your time.

ricky32478's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-30

I don't know if I am right now or not but I disagree.  I think it is some sort of test and he is testing you.  I would go to the store and buy as many thank you cards for as many people interviewed you at Morgan.  Write them all a different handwritten note and mail it out.  Wait a day and call them and tell them you are serious about the job and when is an exact time or date you should here from them. 

BACFA's picture
Offline
Joined: 2006-03-26

apg, I agree with damion on his response.  If the BM is that awful now, you're going to hate life when you're hired.  The BM could literally make or break you when you're new.RickRoss, I've seen wirehouse reps that end up at bank brokerages do very well.  Perhaps cold calling wasn't their thing but they knew how to coax great referrals from the bank branches.  I know a guy who was at a credit union (one branch only but it was by the sponsoring company's headquarters) in upstate New York.  When massive layoffs occurred, might have been Xerox or Kodak, his income jumped from $100k to $300k in a year.  Everyone that was getting fired would walk into his branch and he'd do their rollovers.  I have friends at Fidelity and Schwab that are also doing well.  They don't own their book but they have a defined 9-5 job (they never stay late) and make pretty good money right from the start.I think the perception in the industry (and especially at my firm, Merrill), is that if you aren't cold calling or networking to build your book, then you're somehow less worthy.  I think that's such brainwash BS.  If someone told me I would make $1 million per year but the name of my firm was Fart Smellers Wealth Management and I had to smell the farts of all my clients, I'd blow my entire expense account on all the beans at Costco.   

RickRoss's picture
Offline
Joined: 2008-10-14

BACFA wrote:apg, I agree with damion on his response.  If the BM is that awful now, you're going to hate life when you're hired.  The BM could literally make or break you when you're new.RickRoss, I've seen wirehouse reps that end up at bank brokerages do very well.  Perhaps cold calling wasn't their thing but they knew how to coax great referrals from the bank branches.  I know a guy who was at a credit union (one branch only but it was by the sponsoring company's headquarters) in upstate New York.  When massive layoffs occurred, might have been Xerox or Kodak, his income jumped from $100k to $300k in a year.  Everyone that was getting fired would walk into his branch and he'd do their rollovers.  I have friends at Fidelity and Schwab that are also doing well.  They don't own their book but they have a defined 9-5 job (they never stay late) and make pretty good money right from the start.I think the perception in the industry (and especially at my firm, Merrill), is that if you aren't cold calling or networking to build your book, then you're somehow less worthy.  I think that's such brainwash BS.  If someone told me I would make $1 million per year but the name of my firm was Fart Smellers Wealth Management and I had to smell the farts of all my clients, I'd blow my entire expense account on all the beans at Costco.      hahaha

mx597turbo's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-10-22

I interviewed at MSSB. I got a job offer. See my new thread for details.

damion99's picture
Offline
Joined: 2007-11-19

i dont see a new thread

apg96's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-11-11

Damion: I believe this is the thread he is refering too. http://forums.registeredrep.com/forums/rookies-trainees/interview-mssbI think it was addressed above, but how would you get a hold of the BM? Call the main line? Will the receptionist attempt to block these calls? And how direct should I be, can I just call say I am interviewing around and I want to meet them to see if they are the right fit for me? Also in your experience are the BM's listed on corporate websites up to date so I can refer to them by name or should I just ask for the branch or hiring manager?  Thanks for your help guys. I have two more interview coming up in the next few days, time to call on MSSB BMs

Please or Register to post comments.

Industry Newsletters
Investment Category Sponsor Links

 

Careers Category Sponsor Links

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×