Lex Van Dam is not known for acts of extreme niceness. Head of hedge fund Hampstead Capital and a former trader at Goldman Sachs and GLG, he was the forthright investor in the BBC’s million dollar trader programme a few years ago.
Based on the assumption that an interview with Van Dam is likely to be as bad as a trading interview gets, we’ve elicited the questions he uses to identify potential traders. They’re below. If you can answer them, maybe you’re in with a chance.
1) To assess energy, drive, initiative
1.Why are you here?
2. How did you prepare for this interview?
3. What was on the front page of the FT today?
2) To assess personal growth and performance over time
4. Tell me about your job?
5. What could make you fail here?
3) To assess past accomplishments
6. What was the biggest success you had over the last 12 months?
7. What is the most pressure you have ever been under?
4) To assess problem solving skills
8 Is your intelligence above average? What percentage of people have above average intelligence?
9. Does the quality of your decision making improve under pressure?
10. How many buses are there in London?
11. What is 32*32? How confident are you about that answer?
12. How many degrees between the hands on the clock at 3.15?
5) To assess overall talent, technical competency and potential
13. What makes you a good trader?
14. What is the most money you have ever lost?
6) To assess management and organizational ability
15. If I gave you 100,000 what would you do with it?
16. What is the most difficult decision you ever had to make?
7) To assess team leadership and the ability to motivate others
17. Do you react better to compliments or criticism?
18. How do you deal with authority when you perceive them to be wrong?
8) To assess character – values, commitment, goals
19. What would you wear to the office?
20. How are you with money? Are you a big spender? Are you in debt?
21. Would you screw someone over to get ahead?
9) To assess personality and cultural fit
22. How do you measure success in your life?
23. Why should we hire you and not someone else?
24. If things go wrong do you tend to blame other people or take responsibility yourself?
25. How do you think the interview went? If you were me would you hire you?