20 important trading interview questions and answers

Our platform helps you to prepare yourself for upcoming trading interview questions. The overal focus is on the technical/ quantitative trading interview questions, however, you will also face an HR interview during the process. It’s important to not act like a totally different person compared to who you really are. Be yourself and be prepared for at least the following HR trading interview questions.

Table of content

  1. General trading interview questions
  2. Resume related trading interview questions
  3. Special scenarios trading interview questions
Trading interview questions and answers

General trading interview questions

  1. Can you please introduce yourself?
    Don’t start summing up your resume, they can read that themselves. Tell them something about your past, where you grew up, your hobbies, and how your past has formed you to be who you are today. It’s always nice to end with a ‘bridge’ to how your past has led to your enthusiasm for trading.
  2. What do you like about trading?
    Enthusiasm is key. If you just want to enter this industry to make a good amount of money, then you should probably look for a different job. The hours are long, the intensity is high, so you will only survive if you really like the job.
  3. How did you hear about this job opening?
    Easy, tell them how you found out about the job. It’s even nicer if you can mention that you joined their in-house day or attended any other recruiting activity.
  4. What do you know about us?
    Figure out what makes this specific firm so special. Are they new in the market? Are they market leaders? Are they operating in a specific city where you always wanted to live? Check out our company profiles page to orientate on industry leading firms.
  5. Why do you think that you would be a great trader?
    Before you can answer this question, prepare yourself on the question: what does it take to become a great trader? Knowing the answer to this question also means that you took the effort to really dive into the industry to find out if this would be a great match with yourself. Can you excel under pressure? Are you good at multitasking? Do you have strong communication skills? Do you like to solve complex problems?
  6. What do you want to achieve? Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
    Show them what your ambitions are. Do you want to grow towards a key role within the firm? Do you have the ambition to set up a new desk in an asset class that the company currently doesn’t trade? Do you long for an opportunity to help the company grow in other parts of the world? If you want to get an idea of the presence of the different trading firms per city, take a look here.
  7. What do you hope to learn from this job?
    If you have a well prepared answer on this question, you show both ambition and a proof that you orientated extensively on the industry.
  8. Can you tell us about any challenges you faced in life and how you dealt with it?
    It’s always good to share these kind of stories if you have any. Don’t walk away from your problems.
  9. What are your biggest flaws?
    If you can’t name any, you’ll sound like an arrogant and non-self-critical person. At least name one flaw.
  10. Do you have any questions about the job or the company?
    Prepare at least two questions. It shows your interest in the company. If you got no questions, it gives a little bit the vibe of “this is just one of my ten interviews, let’s get over with it”.

Resume related trading interview questions

The HR department can also choose to focus more on your resume. Some of the general questions are listed below.

  1. Why did you choose to study {study name}?
    It’s usually nice to hear that someone chose their study for specific reasons. If you just chose this study “because you didn’t know what else to choose”, then the HR department will doubt if your choice for the trading industry is driven by passion or a lack of other passions.
  2. Why did you choose (not) to pursue your master’s degree or phd degree?
    Same as with the first question. There is no right or wrong. The answers that gets closest to “wrong” is when your choices are based on a lack of inspiration to do something else.
  3. How will your study help to become a good trader?
    These questions basically filter out people that have no idea what they are doing. If you know what the job of a trader is about, you should also be able to layer the connections between the job and your study. A typical answer could be: “In engineering I’m used to be challenged with complex mathematical concepts. Trading these days is heavily automated and bound to optimisation, which is why I think I can contribute to improve the trading operations.”
  4. It took you a little longer to graduate, why is that?
    Just be honest, nobody really cares about why it took you longer to graduate. It’s all about being able to “own the situation”. What could you have done differently? Or were you actually happy about the situation, because you took the opportunity to just orientate more on the jobs market that got closer and closer to you? Did you face any issues during your studies, and if so, how did you dealt with them? Just to give you an idea: professional poker players that never finished their studies do make it in trading. Trading requires an unusual balance and combination of skills. The smartest person in the room might also be the worst trader in the room.
  5. You took a gap year, why?
    It’s fair to state that after some busy years at your university you were looking forward to see something else from the world before entering a full-time job. You can also explain how “traveling the world helped you to understand different cultures, which will help you to improve your communication with future colleagues from different backgrounds.”
  6. Nothing on your resume shows any affinity with the trading industry, why do you think that this is the place to be for you?
    This will be a question that a lot of STEM-students will face. You need to be able to clearly explain how you found out about trading and how you orientated on the job. A typical answer could be: “I attended a recruitment activity when I was close to graduating. The industry sounded amazing to me and for the first time in my life I was enormously excited to learn more about a specific industry. That’s why I started orientating on the industry and I want to learn more about it.” If you need any help with your resume, click here.

Special scenarios trading interview questions

Sometimes, you have a special story or you already have a full-time job. Typical questions that you might face during your trading interview questions are the following questions.

  1. You did an internship at another trading firm, why did you not continue at that firm?
    You need to realise that the people in HR face these situations often and they know when you tell them bulls*t. Be honest about the situation. Didn’t you like the culture? Didn’t you got an offer, but you feel you can do better? Do you see a better for for yourself at our company, and if so, why? Be prepared! If you didn’t got an offer at another firm, it’s not a red flag right away for the new firm. It happens often that someone didn’t succeed at one firm, but aced it at another firm. A fish is more happy in the sea, a cow is more happy with grass. In other words, your environment is a very important factor in your success as well. Good HR people do realise this, so you don’t have anything to worry about.
  2. You are currently trading at another firm, why do you want to join us?
    Just like with the previous question, the exact same answer hold for this question as well.
  3. You have been working in a different industry, why didn’t you chose to enter the trading industry right after your graduation?
    These are relatively easy questions, because it’s perfectly normal that either the interests of a person change or that you simple didn’t find out about the trading industry before.
  4. We got the suspicion that you already heard about one of the technical trading interview questions that you faced in another round. Is this true?
    Make sure it never gets to this situation, because then you’re already too late. If you actually heard about this question during one of your other trading interview questions, be honest about this, they can really appreciate a candidate’s honesty.

Conclusion

Be yourself, be prepared and don’t worry too much about the HR trading interview questions. The HR department tries to get a clear idea of what type of person you are. It will neither help you in your interview process or in your future career at the company to act like a different person during the interview proces.

Are you looking for more HR interview tips?

Click here to find a great source of info about how to deal with HR interview questions. Here you can find a great amount of questions, tips and sample answers.

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