Trader Interview Tips

Trader interviews are tough. You are expected to be an expert, quick, sharp and precise. We've put together some sample questions and answers. However, remember at all times you will also require strong preparation.

Items you will need

  • A thorough, detailed knowledge of the employer's business: All financial services, particularly brokerages, have their own cultures, products, and selling points.
  • Complete knowledge and good levels of experience on specific stock exchanges and stock trading systems: These are essential skills, and there's no good reason to employ people without them.
  • Excellent quality references: This is a fussy industry. Networking is one thing, proof you can do your job is often the same thing.
  • A good quality, well documented portfolio of achievements proving your credentials as a trader: Trader interviews are extremely competitive. Documentation is particularly useful in interview situations to make sure you're proving your claims to the position.

Interview questions

  • Question: Give us an outline of your current job.
  • Answer: I'm currently doing retail trading for ABCD Brokers Inc. It's a high volume operation, mainly based on client online trading. I get the orders through the office system and do an instant purchase or sale based on orders.

Answer rationale: This is a very basic trader's job. The keywords are "retail" and "online trading". It defines the job, and the experience bandwidth of the candidate in this work.

  • Question: Give us an example of problem solving in your current position.
  • Answer: One of our major clients made a mistake with a Buy order. They bought 100,000 units in a fund when they meant to buy 10,000. The purchase went through, the money was debited to their account. Management asked me to sort it out with the client. I rang the client and we went through some scenarios for tidying up the situation. I suggested using the unwanted stock to buy other stocks. They agreed to the idea and I was able to purchase stock for them which actually made them about $20,000 in the following week by buying blue chips on the way up. I got Employee of the Month for that work.

Answer rationale: Order foul-ups aren't exactly uncommon in the trader's daily work. This answer details a good, practical response and result to the situation. It also shows experience in client relationships and following management instructions in a complex issue. The Employee of the Month achievement, in this context, is good added material.

  • Question: Have you worked trading Exchange Traded Funds, and in what way?
  • Answer: I've worked with Exchange Traded Fund on an index basis. I did some trading for large institutional buyers in the energy indices. The investors were buying a spread in the oil and gas indices.

Answer rationale: Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are baskets of stocks using fund units which are traded like stocks. Their performance is index based. The mention of institutional investors buying spreads explains that these investors were funds buying ETFs. This is a good level of experience in this area, involving a clear knowledge of the ETF market and its indices.