Not everyone can make it in the hedge fund industry, which is why hiring managers make sure candidates possess certain qualities before offering them a job.
Hedge funds are basically investment partnerships, though the world in which they operate is high risk and secretive. The competitive nature of hedge fund jobs mean that the wrong personality likely won't survive in the highly pressurized environment.
There are three basic positions at hedge fund companies, each with unique roles.
Analysts are a common position among hedge fund companies. This is the role that takes long hours and plenty of dedication, but will eventually get you to a manager position. This is where individuals become better investors through hard work.
Portfolio manager is a highly lucrative career path for those who are successful at it. The turnover rate is low for managers, and there are relatively few open positions on the job market, but this a position that is definitely worth striving for.
Administrators are the hedge fund company outsiders – they do little trading and focus more on client relations, accounting and other related issues. It is their job to ensure that things at the company organization are going smoothly.
There are a number of skills and personality traits necessary to make it in the hedge fund world. Below are just four of the qualities that hiring managers look for:
1. Networking skills
The networking aspect of job hunting is especially important for hedge fund candidates. Your contacts will be able to give you advice on how to get your foot in the door and help you identify hiring managers at your desired firms. Make sure that you are networking at your current job or internship. This will help you tackle the old cliche of killing two birds with one stone – you'll meet individuals who can help you further your career while gathering the experience you need to be successful.
"Leverage whatever contacts you have," Constance Melrose, a financial hiring expert, told Forbes. "You can't just walk into a hedge fund conference and sign up."
2. A problem solver
One hedge fund expert interviewed by financial career advice website Mergers & Inquisitions said that some managers enjoy employing brainteasers in interviews. Others may present you with a case study, and a few days to pore over and solve it. The interview process at hedge funds is often more extensive than at other financial jobs, and this is just part of the process. Interviewers are looking to see how you can simplify and subsequently valuate a company.
3. Previous experience
Previous experience is a big deal for hedge fund companies, so make sure you have some. Firms are looking for people who review massive amounts of data and easily come to conclusions about the information and prior work in similar fields will make this easier. For positions such as a junior analyst, hirers are more concerned about your analytical abilities than about whether or not you can make the final investment decision. Hedge fund hiring managers expect candidates to be able to quickly review data and come to conclusions, and previous experience with this sort of work will be invaluable.
Great hedge fund employees have some tenacity about them. For example, the expert told Mergers & Inquisitions that in the past his companies have always liked a candidate willing to call up a company's management team when compiling a summary. Hedge fund companies that present interviewees with case studies, or ask them to compile one-page summaries, look for the individuals who go above and beyond in the task they are given.