Five Interview Questions for Market Risk Associates

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No matter the employer, interviews for market risk associates are all about highlighting your analytical and quant skills, says Gene Starr, president of E.D. Starr & Company, a management consulting and financial services executive search firm. Here are five questions you might be asked.

Why are you interviewing for this particular job?

This might be the very first question you're asked. And, according to Starr, it's designed to get you flummoxed. Many a market risk prospect is looking to segue into trading, and your interviewer is looking for someone committed to the risk side. Come prepared.

Can you tell me what you know about the specific products we trade?

Depending on the job, you could be required to wax philosophic about credit trading products or FX and interest rate derivatives. Do your homework on what the firm is trading. Come ready to discuss recent developments in the market, as well as any announcements from the firm.

What risk modeling skills do you have?

If you're especially skilled at risk modeling, it's certainly something to bring up early in the interview. However, for a market risk associate, be prepared to discuss how you would interface with the risk modeling team. Mention your ability to analyze a given model and work with developers. If you've got strong programming skills and experience with an object oriented programming language, such as Java and C++, mention it.

What's your knowledge of VaR (Value at Risk) and official stress testing?

Market risk professionals use a variety of accepted quantitative measures, including VaR and stress tests to understand liquidity and risk concentration. VaR measures trading risk in a portfolio, while computerized stress testing assesses whether a firm has sufficient capital to respond to hypothetical adverse situations. Be familiar with both.

What are your specific project management abilities, and how well do you work in a team

Working with internal stakeholders is a major part of the job. So no surprise that prospects will be asked questions designed to assess their project management ability and team skills. Some interviewers might give a specific scenario, but others may simply ask a more general question. Make sure you have a few concrete examples that highlight your interpersonal and take-charge skills.