Equity research Interview

Folks, I have an interview for ER Associate and was wondering if any of you have any suggestions on preparation? This is a first round phone interview. I have no idea on what to expect. I have read a lot of good posts on this forum. Thanks for sharing. thanks

It would be easier for you to use the search function than for others to repeat the same postings. I’m not trying to be a jerk, just telling you that there is a wealth of information on this very subject

Do you know what industry you would be following? Is it a bulge bracket or boutique firm? Who will you be interviewing with - the HR department or your prospective boss?

mcthorp, It is a boutique firm and I am interested in Healthcare/Tech sector. Interviewer is the MD of tech sector. thanks for all the help

Prep yourself on some of the companies (all if you have time) that the MD follows. You can find this out by going to finance.yahoo.com. Try to come up with your own recommendation on a couple of companies (peers of his coverage names) in the Tech industry to talk about. Get to know the valuation techniques he utilizes in picking stocks. Get comfortable talking about current trends in the industry - start reading tech blogs and articles related to the industry, etc. Just be yourself and be sure you come across as confident over the phone. Good luck.

thanks mcthorp

I’d be sure to know how the stocks trade (at least for the ones he covers). Obviously you’ll need to know how these companies are valued. Know the comps. The general trends in the industry. Be sure to have an opinion. Equity research is a pretty tough business to be in now especially for the boutique… it eats what it hunts. So make sure you think like an entrepreneur… how do you add value to his franchise. Good luck on the interview.

mcthorp, nycapp: Thanks for your help last week. I did the screening interview and I got a message from the MD today asking me to come to their Headquarters for a day of onsite interviews and meet the analysts in the sector I was interested in. I am assuming this is going to be a long day of grilling. Couple of follow up Qs if you have some time… 1. Some interviewers seem to ask the candidate to present a topic (finance) to test different skills. Is this still common in ER interviews ? Any tips on what topics not to select etc ? 2. How about writing tests ? How do they try to analyze your writing ability ? 3. Any other tips ? thanks

  1. I would go into the interview assuming that they will at least ask you about various finance topics, if not test you directly. Most analysts will want to know that you are able to understand the valuation techniques used in their industry. You should know your way around the financial statements and how various changes to certain inputs will affect the different ratios used to compare peers (i.e., higher/lower: interest rates, leasing costs, long term debt, etc.). Definitely pick some stocks in their coverage list, as well as direct peers not under coverage, and get to know them (recent headlines; how they compare on various metrics; consensus ratings; consensus estimates; etc.), and definitely come at them with your conclusion on why you think those companies are good, bad or indifferent (buy, sell, hold). Gain some understanding into some of the market factors that drive the companies. Are there any regulatory issues that are on the forefront that you can have a comment on? 2. Some shops will ask for a sample of your writing. They want a previous research report you authored (usually from another shop), but if you have something good you did in college, then that may suffice. They will want to see that you can form strong arguments that aren’t disjointed. They will want proper grammar, as well as good formatting. Although, some shops are of the belief that you can learn to write well from your senior analyst, and won’t expect a sample. I was an Enlish major, and I believe writing skills are learned over a lifetime - please don’t judge my writing more critically now, as this is a web forum, and I am just trying to dole out advice. 3. Again, just be yourself and confident in what you say. Make sure you know what you are talking about, because they certainly will see right through a weak argument and call you on it. Be prepared for that, though, and remember that they are looking for someone who can deliver a coherent argument and confidently back it up, even if it is completely wrong. Again, good luck!

hi docmash, agree with above. in the age of google there is no excuse for not knowing who is interviewing you (what role, what level of responsibility), what stocks they cover, what they like, their research/valuation methods, their outlook for the industry, etc. That much is a given - especially if you have a few days notice of the interview. Apart from that, the best technique is to ask questions and listen. Don’t barge straight into your pitch. First step is to ask lots of questions but not ones that make you sound dumb. Eg don’t ask " what stocks/sectors do you cover", of how big is the firm, etc. They will (or should) hang up straight away. You know these facts already. Ask something like: “I’m interested in your valuation of XYZ at $20 - how do you think the new ABC will affect their long term margins in light of DEF…” - might be competitors, might be regulation, might be industry policy, might be impact of currency or tariffs, or whatever. That way you are telling them you know they cover XYZ, you know they valued it at $20, and you know about factor ABC and the impact of DEF. And now you’re getting them to do the talking. The best interviews are the ones where the hirer does all the talking. If you do it right you will find the hirer will end up justifying the job to you, not the other way around. A few hours research and figure out the right questions to ask. Have follow up questions ready, because you should know their answer to your opening questions already. If you’re a real hot-shot you can write your own research report - I’ve seen it work but I’ve also seen it backfire. Make it on a company they don’t cover - but maybe should for some reason - NEVER plagiarise - even from another firm or you own firm - very easy to get sprung and you’ll look stupid. Unless you;re already doing you’re own reports, doing your own report for the interview is high risk, and you really have to know your stuff inside out. Much better to make them do the talking and you focus on asking the right questions. If you’re doing a written proposal may give it a shot, but not for a verbal/phone interviews. Mostly what firms are after is someone who is bright, inquisitive, knows the drivers of the industries they cover, can think for themsleves and work independently, and works damn hard. of course, never ever ever ever ask about pay, rewards, package, benefits, promotion, bonus, etc. That comes later after they’ve decided they want you. Get them to sell the job to you first by doing your research and working out the right questions to ask so you control the process as much as possible. hope this helps…! cheers

Unless you are very well prepared, asking technical questions is like opening the pandoras box. If the interviewer wants to test your technicals, you would have already gotten those questions. There is no need to ask more technical questions on your part. Ask soft questions that engage the interviewer is the best way in my opinion. It gives the interviewer a chance to open up and talk about their own experience and stories and in return you get some genuine insights on the job. Ultimately, they want a person that fits the team and the culture, everything technical can be learned on the job. Especially if this is an entry position. Hope that helps.