As a current student or recent graduate, one question you might be asking yourself is how can you prepare yourself for an interview and secure a job. But given the fact that interviews and application processes differ from company to company, you may have found yourself lost and unsure about where to start.
In order to help guide early-career professionals through interviews and applications, we took an in-depth look at the process at one of the world’s largest asset managers – BlackRock. To better understand how candidates can nail their application and interview process, we spoke with three analysts who successfully secured internships with this $22 billion company and continue to work and thrive there today as analysts.
This list includes everything from interview tips to general advice that these employees used to help them navigate the interview process and secure a job at BlackRock. While some of the tips are specific to BlackRock and its unique hiring process, many of them are universal and can be used throughout your entire professional career. We hope this helps make landing your first job or internship a little easier and encourages you to seek employment with BlackRock – a company that has been shaking up the industry and providing lifelong careers for years.
1. Reach out to current employees
Reaching out to current employees at a company is beneficial for a number of reasons. Julia Colliton, an analyst at BlackRock, claims that her interactions with a BlackRock employee prior to applying made her more attracted to the role, and motivated her to apply. Most people think of establishing relationships with active employees in order to help usher them through the finish line, which is true, but it can also help give you perspective into the actual role as well. Look for LinkedIn connections, ask questions, and do whatever you can to improve the perspectives of those you engage with, including your own.
2. Get activity/leadership experience
BlackRock is a company that values leadership experience in its employees. In fact, there is an entire section of their internship interview process that is dedicated to it. Not only will getting leadership experience better enable you to do your job better and thrive as an employee, but it will make your application stand out from the rest. You will most likely be applying with people who all have great GPAs and honors designations, so this is an area where you can really stand out.
3. Resume building
Establishing a strong resume is something that most prospects can assume they need to spend time on. But the ways in which you build that resume are vast. One thing that all of the analysts we interviewed agreed on was to gather as much feedback on your resume as possible. Have a friend who has been in the professional world for a while? Share your resume with them. Have a good relationship with your professor? Let them take a look at it. If you feel bold enough, go and find a recruiter on LinkedIn and see if they will check it out. The more eyes you can get on it, the better.
4. Prepare for the virtual cover letter
The virtual cover letter is something unique to BlackRock’s interview and application process and something applicants might not be familiar with. Acknowledging that the environment is unique and preparing for it accordingly is the best piece of advice we redacted from the current employees we spoke with. Things like checking your lighting and background or practicing your delivery in a “practice interview” by yourself are all things that will help you be better prepared. Also, researching as much as you can will help you face the questions that will be asked.
5. Overprepare for the interview
After speaking with current analysts at BlackRock, the general consensus about the interview was that you can never be too prepared. But what exactly does being prepared for an interview mean? Julia asserts that reading blog posts, watching podcasts, and taking a close look at the principles that the company stands for are all ways you can make sure to stay prepared for the list of questions you will be asked. Additionally, the more information you have the better equipped you will be to carry on an intelligent conversation and really leave an impression on your interviewer.
6. Stay relaxed and be yourself
As important as it is to retain a professional and focused demeanor during an interview, it is also important to stay relaxed and be yourself. BlackRock is looking for employees who are informed as much as they are personable and want someone who coworkers will enjoy working with and being around. Sara Feraca, an analyst at BlackRock, encourages applicants to “show your personality and composure while speaking” to establish a meaningful connection with your interviewer. BlackRock isn’t a company looking for robots to join their company!
7. “Be a student of the markets”
One of the more notable quotes we got during our interviews with three BlackRock employees was to “be a student of the markets.” Suggested by Julia Colliton, what she meant by this was to know your industry inside and out. It isn’t enough to just be overly familiar with what’s on your resume. You have to be able to speak intelligently and in-depth regarding anything and everything in the finance world. The more real-world scenarios and citings you can come up with, the more you will impress your interviewer, convincing them that you’re passionate about what you do and the person they should hire.
8. Follow up with your interviewer
The last piece of information that all of the employees we interviewed suggested to us was to follow up with your interviewer after your conversation. Make sure you ask them for their contact information if you don’t already have it so you can reach out when the time comes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that you might be pondering and to thank them for their time. Usually, the decision will be made whether or not you follow up with them, but in some scenarios, this will be the final push needed to get you past the finish line or to the next round of interviews.
At the end of the day, try not to be nervous and know that if you follow all these steps, you did the best you can to try and launch your career. BlackRock is a company that believes in diversity and inclusion and is proud to hire people from a variety of backgrounds, so they encourage people from all walks of life to apply.
Be yourself, be confident, and most importantly be prepared, and you just might see be able to find a job at the largest asset management company in the world.