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Students and Recent Graduates

The Bouncing Bull (Feb – Mar 2014)

Welcome to a summary of the advice we have shared with other publications and their readers in the past 2 months, collected here for you, with links to the full articles.



On eFinancialCareers: Using your experience in a bar to help you become a banker. If you want to work in banking, it need not be a disaster that you haven’t had previous experience in the industry.


In an interview for an entry level position with a bank you need to think about what the bank’s competencies are, why they’re so important and how you match them (with examples)! It is important to STAND OUT.

Recruiters can interview 20 – 30 candidates in one day, so being too cliché or generic will get you nowhere. This is why you need to spin your experience so that it suits the position.


So how does working in a bar help you in the world of banking?

1. Client Orientation - keeping the focus on clients’ needs and concerns.
A business without clients isn’t really a business. As customers we all want to feel well taken care of and believe that everything is under control.

2. Teamwork and Inclusion - Collaborating with others, incorporating different views and inclusive.
Teamwork and ‘loyalty’ are sought after in most lines of work, but none more so than banking.

3. Innovative Thinking - Being creative to increase business; applying analytical thinking and new ideas to keep ahead/make up ground on the competition.
Knowledge of competitors’ strategies and the development of new ideas gives you an edge in every job.

4. Resilience & Dealing with Pressure - The ability to cope with a large and diverse workload, recovering quickly from setbacks.
The longer you focus on a failure, the bigger and more negative impact it will have on you. This doesn’t have to be learnt at a banking internship, as long as you learn it.

5. Drive for Results - Makes things happen; shows drive for closure, impact and sustainable results.
Having the personal drive and determination to meet targets is an invaluable and transferable skill.


We also look at what questions to prepare for in a junior trading interview.



For CareerSavvy readers: How to tackle competency-based interviews


Research, research, research - You MUST understand the sorts of competencies that are likely to be explored in your interview, whether this mean browsing the company webpage for an insight into its core values, looking at past interview questions or seeing if the job description can shed any light on the sorts of qualities your interviewer will be checking for.

Prepare for everything and anything - Get practice questions. Make three or four examples for each competency so you can cover every aspect of it. Derive your examples from various environments; not just one internship that you did last summer, no matter how impressive it was!

Learn how to structure your answers: Using the S.T.A.R. format can help you to simply structure your answers, making sure your reply covers the necessary information and shows you in a good light. Then all that is left is cutting out the common mistakes



On GradJobs: Answering interview questions about your weaknesses


There are many reasons for an employer to ask you about your weaknesses, one is to see if you learn from your mistakes and how you have dealt with certain obstacles in the past. They will also be trying to check your personality traits. If, by pointing out where you can improve, you are motivated to get better and better, then you paint yourself as the perfect candidate.

Some interviewers will purely be trying to catch you off guard and find out a real flaw. If, without a scripted answer to fall back on, you blurt out a weakness that threatens how well you can perform the job, they’ll draw a line through your name and cut down the pool of candidates.


When you’re asked what your greatest weakness is, there a few ways you can respond. A simple but potentially risky solution is to mention skills that you don’t think are crucial for the position. Another option you have is picking out skills that you can say you are making an effort to improve upon.

As a final option, you can try to cleverly turn their negative question into a positive answer. This involves admitting a flaw (although it is important that you don’t actually call it a flaw yourself) and then describing how this actually makes you a better employee, because you are aware of it and use it to your advantage. Speaking in positive language, you can turn your answer to this question into another demonstration of why you fit the bill!



On Grad Diary: Preparing for your law interview

Research is as important as ever: Research the company (and industry!) – You need to stand out from everybody else and you can do this by flaunting an unbeatable enthusiasm for and knowledge of the company and wider industry.

Make sure you research the company and role you’re applying for thoroughly and understand the services they provide. You should also dedicate time to researching their competitors. This insight could be invaluable in an interview situation if you are asked about why you have applied to this company instead of others.
Learn the relevant competencies: Make sure that you understand the types of competencies that are likely to be explored at interview.

Some competences can be vague and it will be up to you to figure out what exactly the employer is looking for. For example ‘good communication skills’ will mean something different for a position in a law firm than it would for a customer service assistant (TIP: In the legal profession this will be testing your ability to communicate complex legal analysis simply and concisely).



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