SS ER interview

Hey guys,

I’ve been working as a junior analyst in a buyside firm for a little over a year now. I like my job (though not entirely enamored) mostly because my senior colleagues are amazing smart people.

However, recently there’s been restructuring, and while I doubt cutting my salary, being the youngest/cheapest/least experienced employee, will help much and therefore my job is safe (basically been reassured this verbally), I’m still worried. I also doubt we will get a bonus this year, which sucks.

That’s not the only reason why, but I looked for other jobs and I have an interview next week with a SS firm in ER.

I want to move to SS because I believe it will give me more exposure (at least in terms of names, even if pigeon-holed into a sector), better work-work balance (meaning, I don’t need work-life balance now because I’m 25, I need to put in hours before I’m 35, and while I can at this current gig it’s not the norm and my motivation is seeping away), and better organization structure (not necessarily a BS/SS divide, but I’m at a small fund and I’m looking at a giant firm).

What can I expect from the first and second interview? First is with HR. What’s a typical behavioral profile of a good candidate? For the second, do I prepare a stock pitch? No sector specified for this role, which is good, because I haven’t focused on one. What format? Any other tips/advice?

Also, recruiter is telling me to prepare a speech on why I want to work for XYZ firm. I’ve always had trouble with this. It makes no difference to me, as an outsider, whether I work at XYZ or ABC, other than name brand value I guess. How do I get a grasp on the difference between XYZ and ABC? Stupid question, but would be grateful for help, thanks.

Yes, have a couple long and one short pitch. I’d structure the pitch to be a story easy to follow. What the company does, the discount valuation, and the catalyst to make that discount go away. Try not to pitch stocks of the sector of an analyst you are interviewing with. To prepare pitches, I normally picked a fairly straight forward business and made a one page document of who/what/where/why. Numi has an article here

If it’s a BB, I’m pretty sure they’ll have modeling challenges. I would also expect to be asked things like “Define Free cash flow” and other conceptual questions about sectors you may not be familiar wtih.

For the XYZ firm stuff, Glassdoor has always given me insightful and accurate traits that make a certain place unique.

Great advice from rawraw.

For XYZ vs. ABC, you need to find out everything you can about XYZ and pick out the things that pique your interest. Examples may include: name brand, history, CULTURE, industry respect, wonderful people inside, company mission statement, global reach, company successes, etc. Make them believe that you would LOVE to work for them. LET THEM KNOW YOU WANT THE ROLE. A lot of times, the job goes to the candidate who wants it the most.

So you have some experience, that will defn help. The HR interview can be a range of things (as all interviews can), but the HR one will generally be more personality, tell me about what you enjoy doing in ER, and especially why you want to do SS ER (vs being on the buyside), since so many ppl want to do the opposite, and they generally wnt to know you have a deep natural curiosity of analyzing things and keep digging deeper into something specific. give some examples of things you’ve done in research, where it has led (ideally something +)

Have a stock pitch ready for HR, your odds of getting 1 here are maybe only 1/3, but it’s happened to me. And yes, definitely why that firm. do some digging on the firm, see if the research platform has grown/shrunk, any news to back it up etc.

since you said no sector was highlighted, that saves you some time. usually , it’s really important to do work on the senior analyst you would be working for. and say you are really interested in what ever sector you are interviewing for .

good luck, come back if you make it past HR for more advice in later interviews

I would def have a good answer to the bolded. In my experience, nobody goes from buy side to SS. Nobody. Granted this may be due to different tiers of firms, but seriously. I hope you have thought this move through. Think about sticking it out another year and moving to a real buy side firm, or whatever.

Thanks guys, lots of great info.

I actually have 1st and 2nd both lined up- I’m actually travelling to Asia on personal vacation, and managed to line up interviews while I am there. Given the limited time frame, recruiter managed this schedule for me.

I understand it’s more rare to go BS -> SS. I’m mostly drawn by the opportunity to relocate, and as I mentioned above, I want to get more exposure, more experience, and “harder” work before I get older and would want to settle down. (not that i’m saying bs is easy. But I don’t have the chops to move to a higher tier bs firm, so I feel my best bet is to go to ss now rather than settle down where I’m at)

Re: stock pitch, I work at a long-only firm and I have no idea about shorting. Can I skip this part? Recruiter seems to expect a fairly junior role so asked me to brush up on valuations, etc. and prepare a short stock pitch, but nothing too exhasting. The role advertised is also around my profile, 1-2 yrs exp.

I’ll prob come back with more qs. Thanks a bunch guys, really appreciate the help. This whole thing has been short notice and I have two days to prepare on top of current work haha. Fingers crossed!

Do you want to get a new job or not? Don’t use the ‘long only’ policy as an excuse not to fully prepare for an interview.

I was under the impression that SS ER wasnt harder, just crappier work?

SS ER in many ways is harder work. because you are so public, you are open to a lot of criticism from clients. even if it’s simply you taking a stand, you’ll frequently have ppl praising your great idea + crapping on your great idea at the same time.

definitely more mgmt exposure, get to talk to more ppl obviously. SS ER is a younger person’s game, and you need to get in and start young

Interesting, well that ship has passed me by already as I am too old for SS at this point. Have you ever get shit internally for the 5% of stocks you have a sell rating on? (not saying specifically you, just generally when I look at ratings)

You’ll be interacting with a lot of hedge funds (presumably), since they are making trades all the time. And they run neutral strategies where they need shorts.

Just pick something that is trading at a high multple, explain the catalyst that will make the market think it’s not worth that multiple. There are several sectors of the market that are impacted by expectations of the Fed rate movement. The futures curve has been aggresively pricing in rate movements after the jobs report. You can pick one of these exposed companies and use the Fed not raising rates as a catalyst.

I agree w/ Itera’s points. May want to also ask some associate things like are you allowed to travel with the analyst, do you get to interact with management and the buyside, etc. What is your analyst like (if you know), why you like/don’t like your space.

Are you a generalist at the long only or sector specific?

For some of the accoutning/finance questions, get your hands on the vault guide or 400q guides. You can skip the M&A types of questions, those are ‘luxury’ questions. Otherwise, there’s a lot of overlap and very relevant to ER.