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How to Ace a Hedge Fund Interview

First and foremost: do not ever lie.

“Then you don’t have anything to remember,” said Mitch Ackles, President of the Hedge Fund Association and CEO of Hedge Fund PR. “Make sure that everything is truthful and above board. Be completely clear if you’ve ever had any black marks on your record, if you’ve ever had any disciplinary actions from a regulatory agency. Be very clear. Be honest and upfront about everything.”

Ackles said that job seekers should thoroughly investigate the firm that they want to work for. “Learn everything you can about the firm’s culture,” Ackles advised. “See if they have a LinkedIn group. See if there are press releases. See if there’s a sense of their corporate approaches, how well they treat their employees. Be informed going in, that is vitally important.”

Many of these films like to build a team of people that are a family, Ackles explained. “So if you get a larger firm, it might be 200+ people, and they have a cafeteria, and a restaurant, and a softball team,” said Ackles, reiterating the importance of being informed.

“Definitely dress for the job you want, not necessarily the job you have or don’t have. It’s very important that you dress appropriately. That doesn’t mean you have to have the most expensive suit, but be presentable. Clean-shaven. Look like you expect they want you to look. In Europe, long hair might be okay, but you only need to walk through Midtown in New York to see what most hedge funds look like.”

Ackles acknowledged that the rules are a “little different” for women. “Don’t wear too short a skirt, don’t have too much makeup on, realize that you’re working in Wall Street, which is an industry still predominantly men, and you need to be taken seriously, and part of that is how you present yourself,” said Ackles. “That doesn’t mean you can’t look beautiful like you might be, but you want to take that into account.”

Whatever you do, don’t forget your references. “If you get the interview and you get to sit down with people, make sure you’re prepared,” Ackles recommended. “[Make sure] you have physical copies of your resume, you have reference letters, you have people that are willing to speak up on your behalf.”

Last but not least, Ackles said that the other thing to figure out is, “What about their strategy is interesting?”

“If you’re coming in and you want to be a trader, which means you want to be part of a team that delivers alpha to their investors, see if you can get hold of their performance reports,” Ackles suggested. “See if you can get hold of what they’ve done, what their approach might be. Get as much information as possible so that you go in understanding what value you can bring to the table. They execute in bonds — what’s your thesis? Does it match theirs?”

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