How to succeed in your Fidelity International interview: know why you want to work there
If you’re hoping to land a place on Fidelity’s graduate programme (whether that’s in equity research or technology, for example), finding out about the company will help you impress your interviewers. But there’s more to it than picking up a few key facts; in order to really stand out from other candidates, your research should be grounded in your enthusiasm and your personal motivations for applying. Early careers talent acquisition managers Brian Sinclair and Dave Andrews have some reassuring advice for candidates: if you’re genuinely interested in working at Fidelity, the rest will follow.
‘The main thing candidates tend to fall down on is lack of preparation,’ Brian says. ‘The more you know about an organisation and what it’s looking for, the more you’ll sound like a potential employee when you’re talking to an interviewer.’
However, there’s more to researching Fidelity than reading everything you can get your hands on: you should have a real interest in the asset management industry and the role you are applying for. Fidelity only allows you to apply for one programme (out of equity research, multi asset, fixed income, sales and marketing, operational management and technology), so you’ll need to show why the one you’ve chosen appeals to you.
Reasons to research Fidelity
Developing your knowledge of Fidelity will reassure you that you’d enjoy working there and, as a result, your enthusiasm will shine through and impress the interviewers.
1. To make sure Fidelity and your chosen role are right for you
Fidelity's new strengths-based recruitment process places a lot of emphasis on making sure you're a good fit for the company. Dave says: ‘Candidates who are most successful in the early stages of the process maintain a high level of enthusiasm for the company and for the role they’ve applied for. A lot of that comes from understanding the depth of the role and the breadth of the company.’ Brian advises you to research Fidelity before deciding whether to apply, so that you can be ‘happy that this is the right firm for you, and the right programme.’
How can you convince recruiters that you are genuinely interested in working at Fidelity? According to Dave, you simply need to be genuinely interested in working at Fidelity. ‘Your motivation comes across naturally if it’s genuinely there; you’re either motivated or you’re not. If you’re really motivated then of course you will do your research beforehand because you’re interested in the subject matter.’
And how can you find out whether you’re truly interested in Fidelity? Dave says: ‘My advice to students getting ready to apply is to sit and research the company for as much as two or three hours, and try to do that in one sitting. By the end of two or three hours, either you’ll be completely bored to tears, in which case don’t apply, or you’ll be incredibly enthusiastic and be wanting to talk to your friends and family about this great opportunity you’ve found.’
2. To help set you apart from other candidates
Brian says that he often asks candidates the questions: ‘Why do you want to work here?’ and ‘What do you know about the organisation?’ Knowing some key facts about Fidelity is fine to an extent: ‘We want to see that you know what you’re getting yourself into,’ Brian adds. However, what really makes a difference is talking about your authentic, personal reasons for wanting to work at Fidelity. ‘We’re looking for authenticity around candidates’ motivations. We are looking for people who genuinely want to work here,’ says Dave.
Brian explains: ‘You might mention one or two key facts, but your third and fourth facts should be something that really resonates with you, such as a news article or something you picked up when you spoke to someone at the organisation, or something we’ve done in the community that you really appreciate.’
How to research Fidelity – some starting points
It may sound obvious, but you should read more widely than Fidelity’s own websites when deciding whether it’s the best place to start your career and giving yourself the best chance of impressing interviewers. Brian and Dave gave us some tips.
- Develop a general interest in the finance industry before you start investigating Fidelity as an organisation. ‘Start with the Financial Times and go from there,’ says Dave. ‘If you learn about the financial markets and what is happening in asset management, you’ll be able to apply this to whichever role you are applying for. Technology’s an obvious one: what technologies are emerging and what are the implications of those?’ At the end of an interview for the technology programme, for example, you could ask about a recent development: ‘How do you think X will affect the asset management industry and how is Fidelity responding to that?’
- Don’t research Fidelity in isolation. Brian suggests you find out facts such as: ‘Who do we interact with, who are our clients, what’s our impact in the market?’. You will then gain a better understanding of the context in which Fidelity operates.
- Know why asset management appeals to you over other areas of finance. ‘The nature of the work that we do here, and the broader lifestyle that comes along with it, is remarkably different to what you would expect if you were working in an investment bank or a consultancy,’ says Dave. Research the differences between asset management and the other career areas in finance (our areas of work articles and the culture section of Fidelity’s Inside Buzz reviews are a good starting point) so that you can explain to interviewers why you believe it would suit you best.
- General commercial awareness is essential for Fidelity applicants. Having an opinion on current issues such as Brexit shows that you are paying attention to the world around you, according to Brian. Dave agrees that mentioning Brexit is absolutely fine where it’s relevant, but warns that it shouldn’t be the only headline you’ve read.
After you’ve developed a good general awareness of what Fidelity does and its place in the asset management industry, focus on the elements that most interest you. ‘Research should be driven by your natural curiosity,’ Dave says. ‘The more you learn about the industry, the more curious you’ll become, and that will help dictate your research.’ Brian agrees: ‘Read about the areas you’re interested in. If you’re passionate about technology, look at what’s happening in the FinTech industry, for example.’
Don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face interaction
‘If you’d like to find out what it’s really like to work here, come and talk to us,’ says Brian. Careers fairs, presentations and other on-campus events can be a great way to meet Fidelity recruiters, graduates and people who have recently finished the graduate programme.
No finance background? You’re not alone
Internships with an organisation can sometimes be the best form of research and Fidelity’s summer internships remain an important fast-track to the graduate programmes. However, this should not be a concern for students who have not completed an internship with Fidelity. Dave explains: ‘If someone had previously done an internship with us then they wouldn’t be applying for a graduate job, as they would either have received an offer on the back of that internship or not received an offer. In any given graduate pool we deliberately aim to have a mix of returning interns and new graduates who have had other experiences.’
It’s also worth remembering that all of Fidelity’s graduate programmes accept applicants from any degree discipline. Fidelity will teach you any technical skills needed for your role; you just need to display the ability and enthusiasm to learn.