During an interview for a team-leader job in the commodities department of a global investment bank in Singapore, a candidate was asked the following question: From your resume, it seems you do not have a specific direction in your career. You have changed jobs four times in just three and a half years. So tell me, what makes you the better candidate than the last guy I interviewed, who was able to stay in his previous role for four years?
The candidate’s reply
In my first job doing settlements for derivative products, most of my team was asked to leave after our bank suffered heavy losses during the subprime collapse. It was a tough period where many candidates had to take almost any job that came their way. I was no exception. I joined an oil trading firm, but after two months I discovered it was not what I enjoyed doing.
I left to work for a US bank, under a new boss who I grew to admire throughout the one year we worked together. When he decided to leave, he asked me to join him at his new investment firm and promised me greater career progression. During my two years there, I realised I had a desire to lead a team and would eventually like a management position.
This team leader role that your firm is hiring for is precisely what I want. It would allow me to take my career to the next level. Besides the job requirements – which I believe are a close fit to my work experience – I think it’s time I move out of the shadow of my current boss.
I’m the best candidate because of my broad exposure to various asset classes. My mentorship under my existing manager gives me an advantage over the typical rank-and-file employee, who lacks the ability to look at the big picture of how things operate from a management perspective.
How he would have responded in hindsight
We live in a period where employability takes greater precedence than staying in the same routine job for years. It’s tough to find the ideal role these days, but when you do find it, you grab it by its horns. I certainly feel this is what defines the zeitgeist of Gen Y employees today.
Despite my past history of job hopping, I was offered the position and have now been at the bank for three years.
How would YOU have answered?
Use the comments box below to suggest a better response to the interview question above.