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How to show BlackRock recruiters you share the firm’s 4 principles

It is important for candidates to understand that BlackRock is bound by its clients, says Ola

If there’s something graduates definitely need to know about BlackRock, it is that the investment management firm’s four principles are the life of the business, states Ola Fadipe, director of EMEA campus recruiting.

We caught up with Ola to find out what the principles are, what they actually mean, and how and when graduates can demonstrate that they have the potential to work by them if employed.    

BlackRock’s four principles 

1. Innovation 

‘At a very basic level, innovation is about doing something new, something different, or taking what already exists and making it better to improve BlackRock’s offering,’ says Ola. 

Ola explains that the firm’s is underpinned by innovation, in that it was founded by eight individuals who used their creativity and entrepreneurial skills to grow the business.  

‘The founders are still involved in BlackRock today and the business still has a start-up feel,’ says Ola. ‘It’s a unique story with a legacy that graduates will continue.’

Ola advises graduates to ask themselves these key questions:

  • How can you show experience of innovation in your university life?
  • Were you involved in any clubs or societies while at university? How did you contribute?
  • How have you put ideas into action? What were the results?
  • Are you always looking at ways that you can tinker with things to make them better?
  • Are you afraid to fail?

Show that you’re innovative by including an achievements section in your CV that summarises how your actions or ideas created a positive outcome for you or others.

2. One BlackRock

There is certainly no ‘I’ in team at BlackRock. ‘The organisation is all about teamwork and collaboration,’ elaborates Ola. ‘Employees don’t get any credit for an I-focused approach to work.’ 

Ola adds, ‘BlackRock embraces the differences that people bring to the workplace and believes the best solutions, results and ideas come from a diverse team.’

The importance of diversity is reflected in the way that BlackRock recruits graduates. ‘We dig very deep to find the talent – we’ll go anywhere for it,’ says Ola. ‘We have 104 graduates in our 2014 class from across 23 universities – and 30% are from continental universities.’

Ola says that graduates who have demonstrated that they are ‘willing to collaborate’ are sought by BlackRock. She adds, ‘Many strong candidates have failed the recruitment process because they were not a team player.’ 

How do you prove that you’re a team fit?

  • Look back on your academic, work and extracurricular experiences, and find examples of where you worked effectively in a group.
  • Select instances when you were active, in that your actions had a direct and real effect on the group. Perhaps you resolved a problem or motivated discouraged colleagues. 
  • Ensure you’re able to identify the bigger picture. For example, you’ll be member of a specific team if appointed by BlackRock, but your contribution will also have an effect on other areas of the business. 

Show that you’re a team player during the group exercise at the assessment centre by listening to and respecting the opinions of others, and working hard to accomplish the team goal.

3. Passion

Passion is another principle that’s at the heart of BlackRock. Ola stresses that, had it not been for the passion and commitment of its founders and team members, the firm simply would not have obtained the success it has. 

Ola says, ‘This principle goes across the entire global business and cuts across everything.’ She also explains that there’s a direct link between passion and performance; the greater the passion, the better the performance. ‘BlackRock is committed to performing at the highest levels,’ says Ola.

Ola advises graduates to ask themselves these key questions:

  • Are you on a constant quest to do things better?
  • Do you have an appetite to learn?
  • Do you want to make the firm better?

Show that you’re passionate about and committed to personal and professional development, as well as to a career with BlackRock, during your interview by giving detailed responses that explain the ‘why’ and asking open-ended questions.

4. Fiduciary

At BlackRock, fiduciary describes the relationship of trust between the firm and its clients. Laurence Fink, chairman and CEO, explained in an interview with Leaders Mag: ‘We’re a fiduciary to every client. So whether it is an individual client, an insurance company, a sovereign wealth fund...everybody has to be treated with the same proprietary structure.’

‘It is important for candidates to understand that BlackRock is bound by its clients,’ says Ola. ‘The only way that we get paid is if we make money – BlackRock doesn’t have a blank chequebook.’ But, this is not to be misinterpreted as: BlackRock is only in it for the money. 

Ola explains that the firm always puts clients’ interests first – it’s to the advantage of both parties to do so. This involves catering to clients’ specific needs and the firm being original in its approach. ‘It’s not about asset management versus investment banking – that’s not our approach,’ she says.

How do you prove that you’re client-focused?

  • Customer service experience in a shop or bar is beneficial here, but it’s not essential that you have it.
  • Your clients could be your readers when you worked on a student magazine or your classmates when you delivered a presentation. Think of occasions when you provided a service.
  • Understand that you need to show that you’re able to work with the needs or expectations of others in mind.

Show that you’re client-focused by including in your application form or covering letter an example of when and how you put yourself in someone else’s shoes to help them achieve the best outcome.

Our 'How to get hired' articles are written by TARGETjobs editors and writers with job candidates in mind, helping you research and understand employers. Copyright of all material written by TARGETjobs lies solely with GTI Media.
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