'Why Bloomberg?' and other questions you could be asked at your interview
Bloomberg uses different recruitment processes for different departments. As a general rule, expect a 30-minute telephone interview, before being invited to the offices for a face-to-face interview. This may be an interview panel or an assessment and there may be more than one before you’re hired. The company deals with financial data and current affairs, so you may be asked your opinion on, or understanding of, the news on the day.
Bloomberg graduate interview preparation
Bloomberg’s graduate website contains a wealth of information about each role in the business. As you research, note down points that will help with your application. Essential information that you can look for pre-interview includes:
- the financial products that Bloomberg offers
- the various magazines, broadcast products and online news services that Bloomberg runs
- the countries that Bloomberg operates in and the potential markets
- the company’s major clients
- its career progression pathways
- significant points of office culture
For example, the site describes Bloomberg’s financial products (which include the famous terminals) as ‘core’ and the ‘financial backbone of Bloomberg’. Bloomberg is telling you flat out where the money comes from and what one of the most important parts of its business is. You could use this to your advantage when planning interview answers. It’s also worth researching how the finance, news and media aspects of the business work together.
Make sure you know who Bloomberg’s main competitors are. Remember it’s primarily a financial data company, unlike many financial services companies. Look into other financial data providers, such as Thomson Reuters and Dow Jones, and try to determine how their work, products and office culture differ from that of Bloomberg. Remember that Bloomberg will be competing with major news outlets, publishers and broadcasters in its activities too.
Answering the interview question ‘Why do you want to work for Bloomberg?’
You will almost certainly be asked this question during a telephone and face-to-face interview, but it is also on the application form. Bloomberg wants to be thought of as unique and special – and what employer doesn’t? To impress, you need to combine what you know about the company with your own skills and experience. Ask yourself the following questions when thinking about a response:
- Why Bloomberg over its competitors?
- What aspect of the business do you think you would be suited to?
- How will Bloomberg help you achieve your career ambitions?
Why Bloomberg over its competitors?
In particular, think about: what are the differences between Bloomberg's newswires and those of its competitors? Which puts more of a focus on video? Which has a larger share of the market? Who do they collaborate with? If you studied media, back up your answers and use any insights that you may have gained and relevant experience. For example, if you prefer Bloomberg’s approach to video, when have you been involved in video production?
What aspect of the business do you think you would be suited to?
This is an opportunity to provide examples of your teamwork and working to deadlines, and match it to what you know about Bloomberg’s work ethic. If you’ve more of a head for numbers, use any success you’ve had on financial projects in the past to show why you would fit in at Bloomberg.
How will Bloomberg help you achieve your career ambitions?
Mention any training programmes that you might be interested in and how you hope they might develop your work in future. Bloomberg has a somewhat legendary policy of not rehiring anyone who has left the company, so it’s probably best not talk about taking long sabbaticals down the line. If you want to work for Bloomberg in one of its many offices abroad, perhaps try to use an example of a travel experience where you had to interact with different people and cultures to explain why this would be a good fit for you. What do you like about Bloomberg’s culture? If you choose to talk about this at interview, it may help to remember that the company famously has expansive modern headquarters and rules against private offices and other hierarchy-enforcing infrastructure. You could articulate what you like about this sort of environment – or something else that strikes you as interesting.
Answering a Bloomberg current affairs interview question
Bloomberg deals in news as well as finance and the topics often overlap – and you are almost guaranteed to be asked a question about current affairs. According to anecdotal reports from past Bloomberg candidates, the topic is likely to change regularly or even day-to-day. These commercial awareness style questions can be tough, so read on for our tips on how to handle them.
Stay up to date with Bloomberg’s running news service, which is available on their main website. Know who each billionaire is on the visual data graphic, and read the stories about economies around the world. Bloomberg’s news should become your new religion in the days, weeks and months before the interview, and on the morning of the interview itself. This is still no guarantee of success – Bloomberg may ask you about an older story which has had a lasting impact.
Don’t discount non-financial topics. What may seem like a purely political story at first will have knock-on effects in the financial world. If you need help getting into this mindset, examine some of the stories from 2016 and try to think how they’ve affected the economy of different nations, for example:
- the Philippines general election
- the vote to Brexit
- the Olympic Games
- the rise of populism in politics across the world
Think globally, not just locally. For example, what might be the consequences for the world’s major trading areas if the UK leaves the European single market and trades by WTO rules? For each sample world news event above try to ask yourself how it changes the financial map of the world and what effect would it have on businesses in different regions?
What to do if you don’t know the answer
Even with preparation, there will always be a chance that you’ve missed a story or you’re not up to speed on the minutiae of the matter. There are steps you can take to mitigate the damage:
- Don’t panic
- Don’t guess randomly
- Don’t make things up
Even if you don’t know the answer, you may still be able impress recruiters if you can work through to a conclusion logically. Think first about what you DO know about the situation. For example, if the topic is about a political crisis in a country which is predominantly known for oil, think about what impact that crisis might cause against a backdrop of a long-term shift away from petrochemical economies.
If you well and truly reach a brick wall, try to explain it as politely as possible. ‘I don’t know’ doesn’t leave a good impression, but explaining that your news focus lately has been in a different field (with an example) is the gentlest way to avoid a meltdown.