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What would you list as the top 3 most desired traits/qualities prop trading firms and market making firms look for in a candidate ?

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Comments (31)

  • monkeysama's picture

    Trait number 1: Not being the kind of person who makes top lists.
    Trait number 2: See above.

  • DeighTrader's picture

    its called being competitive monkeysama ... and it is also useful to know for many of us who are currently applying for such positions. I dont want to waste valuable interview face time going into detail about my experiences studying abroad if they actually hold leadership in higher regard .. (and yes, i understand that props and MMs dont give 2 shits about studying abroad and are quantitatively focused in their approach, its simply analogical to the fact that we as candidates should emphasize relevantly significant strengths rather than the stale, run-of-the-mill "im a team worker" bit ...)

  • trade4size's picture

    Im looking over to my dry erase board looking at the things i knew I needed to work on to be more successful as a prop trader. Going to read you in order what they are.

    1) This is written 3x bigger than everything else DONT OVER-THINK

    2) Think BIG PICTURE

    3) BE OPPORTUNITY SEEKING

    4) RISK MANAGEMENT - Let winners run (and add to them), cut losses when stop is hit

    "Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

  • adapt or die's picture

    I think these interviewers assume that if they are across the desk from you that you have trading ideas and have the confidence to take positions in various markets. So to differentiate yourself among candidates I would try to express a focus on managing risk.

    Also if you have some well thought out trades and the interviewer questions them don't be too intimidated to politely defend your position.

  • Jerome Marrow's picture

    You're a fuckin idiot. If somebody is brand new, not an experienced trader/research associate/whatever, nobody is going to expect you to have any trading ideas whatsoever. You may even (probably) make yourself look like a raging buffoon.

  • In reply to Jerome Marrow
    Bondarb's picture

    Jerome Marrow:
    You're a fuckin idiot. If somebody is brand new, not an experienced trader/research associate/whatever, nobody is going to expect you to have any trading ideas whatsoever. You may even (probably) make yourself look like a raging buffoon.

    I would absolutely expect somebody I was interviewing even at the undergraduate level to be able to discuss and have opinions on the markets. With the amount of free info available there is no reason an undergrad cant have trade ideas.

  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    They are DEFINITELY going to want you to have positions, ideas, etc. That was the first question I got when I sat down in the office on an trading interview. "Give me one stock you would buy and one you would short with reasons why."

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • Jerome Marrow's picture

    Completely different experiences then from where I am and people that are in S&T or in a TA role @ GS, Citadel, DRW, Jump, etc.

    Having an informed opinion on the markets is different from having trade ideas. It is assumed you have an idea of what is going on (where the spu is, where EUR/USD is, what is unemployment like, etc.) and having strategies that you want to implement.

  • In reply to Jerome Marrow
    adapt or die's picture

    Jerome Marrow:
    You're a fuckin idiot. If somebody is brand new, not an experienced trader/research associate/whatever, nobody is going to expect you to have any trading ideas whatsoever. You may even (probably) make yourself look like a raging buffoon.

    terrible advice, go back to playing on vector vest

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  • justin88's picture

    There's no one right or wrong way to interview with a trader. In general, two interviewers may disagree with each other on the answer to the same market-oriented question. This is why we have markets in the first place. The trick is to figure out which answer the interviewer wants, and perhaps even defend both sides of the argument.

    I'd say that you should have some trading ideas prepared for an interview, but I wouldn't proffer them unless asked explicitly. I'd always follow up by asking the interviewer's opinion on the trade idea.

  • In reply to adapt or die
    Jerome Marrow's picture

    adapt or die:
    Jerome Marrow:
    You're a fuckin idiot. If somebody is brand new, not an experienced trader/research associate/whatever, nobody is going to expect you to have any trading ideas whatsoever. You may even (probably) make yourself look like a raging buffoon.

    terrible advice, go back to playing on vector vest

    I cited you multiple elite firms (where I either personally have experience with or have close friends that have experience with) that not only don't ask that in interviews for new recruits, at least one of those will think you are quite silly if you start offering them your advice on where people should be putting their money.

  • Bondarb's picture

    You should have specific trade ideas. If the guy dosent ask then dont offer them, but as an undergrad you should be able to develop some ideas provided you are interested and motivated enough to spend some time learning. No one is expecting you to sound perfect but not having anything to say is definitely not smart going into a trading interview. I have interviewed college sophmores who have given me specific ideas without sounding bad.

  • TNA's picture

    Can we agree that while you probably do not HAVE to have trade ideas it might be smart to have a couple in case you get asked? Every resume is different and it might come up as a way to gauge a persons interest or commitment. When it comes to interviewing for banking, trading, etc I think it is better to be over prepared.

  • Macro Arbitrage's picture

    1) Discipline
    2) Balls of steel
    3) Humility

  • In reply to Jerome Marrow
    Maximus Decimus Meridius's picture

    Jerome Marrow:
    Completely different experiences then from where I am and people that are in S&T or in a TA role @ GS, Citadel, DRW, Jump, etc.

    Having an informed opinion on the markets is different from having trade ideas. It is assumed you have an idea of what is going on (where the spu is, where EUR/USD is, what is unemployment like, etc.) and having strategies that you want to implement.

    I have been asked about trade ideas in at least one of those places. And by 2 different interviewers.

  • In reply to adapt or die
    18-1's picture

    adapt or die:
    I think these interviewers assume that if they are across the desk from you that you have trading ideas and have the confidence to take positions in various markets. So to differentiate yourself among candidates I would try to express a focus on managing risk.

    Also if you have some well thought out trades and the interviewer questions them don't be too intimidated to politely defend your position.

    Great advice. Also if they ask you to suggest a stock, don't suggest AAPL or GOOG like every other average bozo interviewing. Bring up a unique stock and talk about why you think it's undervalued, has room to grow, etc. Also I would take a fundamental approach, as it is more agreeable.

  • In reply to Jerome Marrow
    gammaovertheta's picture

    Jerome Marrow:
    adapt or die:
    Jerome Marrow:
    You're a fuckin idiot. If somebody is brand new, not an experienced trader/research associate/whatever, nobody is going to expect you to have any trading ideas whatsoever. You may even (probably) make yourself look like a raging buffoon.

    terrible advice, go back to playing on vector vest

    I cited you multiple elite firms (where I either personally have experience with or have close friends that have experience with) that not only don't ask that in interviews for new recruits, at least one of those will think you are quite silly if you start offering them your advice on where people should be putting their money.


    Every BB S&T interview I have had required me to give trading ideas in first rounds and during the super days. Perhaps it's because my experience trading is on my resume, but you are still very wrong.

    I interviewed for all but 2 BBs (one of the top three and another in the middle for S&T), so I have seen the spectrum

  • protectedclass's picture

    BB S&T != Chicago Prop.

    I interviewed last fall with a bunch of Chicago props and not once was I asked anything even remotely related to pitching a stock or trading ideas.

    Again, this might be because I have zero actual trading experience besides what is sitting in my e*trade account, which is mostly SPY and QQQ.

  • In reply to gammaovertheta
    Jerome Marrow's picture

    gammaovertheta:
    Jerome Marrow:
    adapt or die:
    Jerome Marrow:
    You're a fuckin idiot. If somebody is brand new, not an experienced trader/research associate/whatever, nobody is going to expect you to have any trading ideas whatsoever. You may even (probably) make yourself look like a raging buffoon.

    terrible advice, go back to playing on vector vest

    I cited you multiple elite firms (where I either personally have experience with or have close friends that have experience with) that not only don't ask that in interviews for new recruits, at least one of those will think you are quite silly if you start offering them your advice on where people should be putting their money.


    Every BB S&T interview I have had required me to give trading ideas in first rounds and during the super days. Perhaps it's because my experience trading is on my resume, but you are still very wrong.

    I interviewed for all but 2 BBs (one of the top three and another in the middle for S&T), so I have seen the spectrum

    I imagine for a sales or PWM type role, you may be. I can't imagine it for any real trading position though and I've never seen it (and I've both been the interviewer and interviewee). Certainly no prop shop or Citadel/DE Shaw type place.

  • In reply to Jerome Marrow
    gammaovertheta's picture

    Jerome Marrow:
    gammaovertheta:
    Jerome Marrow:
    adapt or die:
    Jerome Marrow:
    You're a fuckin idiot. If somebody is brand new, not an experienced trader/research associate/whatever, nobody is going to expect you to have any trading ideas whatsoever. You may even (probably) make yourself look like a raging buffoon.

    terrible advice, go back to playing on vector vest

    I cited you multiple elite firms (where I either personally have experience with or have close friends that have experience with) that not only don't ask that in interviews for new recruits, at least one of those will think you are quite silly if you start offering them your advice on where people should be putting their money.


    Every BB S&T interview I have had required me to give trading ideas in first rounds and during the super days. Perhaps it's because my experience trading is on my resume, but you are still very wrong.

    I interviewed for all but 2 BBs (one of the top three and another in the middle for S&T), so I have seen the spectrum

    I imagine for a sales or PWM type role, you may be. I can't imagine it for any real trading position though and I've never seen it (and I've both been the interviewer and interviewee). Certainly no prop shop or Citadel/DE Shaw type place.


    I have no experience with prop shops or hedge funds, so I can't speak to that. As I stated above, it may be because I had trading experience listed on my resume and because I worked in equity and options strategy in pwm last summer. I think it would make sense though for s&t, which requires a constant awareness of the markets, and ability to assess risk/reward very quickly.

    A few got pretty in-depth, where I was asked to explain the greeks of my suggested options trade. I don't think they expect most interviewees to come in with that knowledge (like I said, it was on my sheet and I suggested an options trade), but I don't think it's unusual for some interviewers to get pretty in depth with trade iseas.

  • heister's picture

    Balls
    Quick brain
    A huge ego while retaining a sliver humanity to know when the market is fucking your asshole.

    Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

    Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

  • In reply to gammaovertheta
    Jerome Marrow's picture

    gammaovertheta:
    Jerome Marrow:
    gammaovertheta:
    Jerome Marrow:
    adapt or die:
    Jerome Marrow:
    You're a fuckin idiot. If somebody is brand new, not an experienced trader/research associate/whatever, nobody is going to expect you to have any trading ideas whatsoever. You may even (probably) make yourself look like a raging buffoon.

    terrible advice, go back to playing on vector vest

    I cited you multiple elite firms (where I either personally have experience with or have close friends that have experience with) that not only don't ask that in interviews for new recruits, at least one of those will think you are quite silly if you start offering them your advice on where people should be putting their money.


    Every BB S&T interview I have had required me to give trading ideas in first rounds and during the super days. Perhaps it's because my experience trading is on my resume, but you are still very wrong.

    I interviewed for all but 2 BBs (one of the top three and another in the middle for S&T), so I have seen the spectrum

    I imagine for a sales or PWM type role, you may be. I can't imagine it for any real trading position though and I've never seen it (and I've both been the interviewer and interviewee). Certainly no prop shop or Citadel/DE Shaw type place.


    I have no experience with prop shops or hedge funds, so I can't speak to that. As I stated above, it may be because I had trading experience listed on my resume and because I worked in equity and options strategy in pwm last summer. I think it would make sense though for s&t, which requires a constant awareness of the markets, and ability to assess risk/reward very quickly.

    A few got pretty in-depth, where I was asked to explain the greeks of my suggested options trade. I don't think they expect most interviewees to come in with that knowledge (like I said, it was on my sheet and I suggested an options trade), but I don't think it's unusual for some interviewers to get pretty in depth with trade iseas.

    What experience? Were you a HF trader somewhere? Being frank here, I have a difficult time imagining anybody got much out of the discussion. Especially true when it comes to what is likely an inexperienced college kid recommending an option trade....

  • In reply to Jerome Marrow
    gammaovertheta's picture

    Jerome Marrow:
    What experience? Were you a HF trader somewhere? Being frank here, I have a difficult time imagining anybody got much out of the discussion. Especially true when it comes to what is likely an inexperienced college kid recommending an option trade....

    Your awareness is impressive. The first sentence of my recent post was "I have no experience with prop shops or hedge funds", and then you ask if I was a hedge fund trader.

    Obviously I was trading from my personal retail account. And I'm also going to be frank. You doubt anyone got much out of the discussion? I got a shit-ton out of the discussions - multiple BB S&T offers.

    Also that trade was a -1:2 March call spread (Natenberg calls it a call backspread) on XLF in late January... which made over 120% in a matter of weeks

  • Jerome Marrow's picture

    I was partially being a dick--clearly you are a college kid that possibly skimmed through Natenberg once. I certainly saw what you said. I am trying to see the value or where some trader is going to see where your edge is in your trade. You simply recommended a 1x2 call spread. Terrific. What, your fundamental analysis said it would rally exactly up to that point at which time implied vols would collapse and it would expire on your shorts? Seriously, get a clue.

  • In reply to Jerome Marrow
    Cash4Gold's picture

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