ICAP's graduate application question: 'Why have you applied?'

Drop in facts gleaned from your research when writing about why you’re applying and why you should be hired.

The application forms for graduate roles at ICAP have versions of the multi-part question: ‘Why have you applied for a role as X, how do your skills and qualifications match our requirements, and why should we hire you?’

Recruiters want to see that you have:

  • a genuine interest in the financial industry and the type of work you have applied for, whether that is broking, ecommerce or technology, and have thought carefully about why you are interested
  • a demonstrable interest in working for ICAP especially and the particular division, and have thought about both carefully
  • researched the division and wider organisation, and can understand how the former fits into the latter

This is what you should do:

ICAP graduate applications: carry out research before attempting to answer

Don’t dive straight into answering the question without carrying out thorough research. It is crucial that you have a good understanding of the role, division and company before you compose your response. Spend some time on ICAP’s website to find out more about the business, but don’t stop there. Check out ICAP’s LinkedIn page and other social media accounts (it’s on Twitter and Facebook as well) for more information. However, if you have done a summer insight or internship with the organisation it’ll be wise to reflect on that experience. First hand, real-life experience with ICAP will give you loads to talk about.

Make sure you drop in facts gleaned from your research when writing about why you’re applying and why you should be hired.

ICAP graduate applications: make sure you demonstrate your interest in financial markets

As well as testing your understanding of the division and company you’re applying to, ICAP recruiters will want to gauge your level of interest in and understanding of financial markets, and they will want to see that you are able to understand and discuss the business structure, the organisation’s objectives, and how the two fit together.

Your basic research into the business will help you, but you’ll have to do further reading. You could, for instance, look through the news room on to see the company’s most recent business activities, such as product launches and new areas of investment.

Then think how the division is connected to these activities. For example, there’s a press release from March 2016 about changes to ICAP’s Post Trade Risk and Information division (PTRI). What will be the impact of this service, which helps clients meet their European regulatory obligations? Might it affect your work in any way?

You could talk about your interest in markets when tackling why you would be a good hire.

ICAP graduate applications: structure your answer

With only 250 words to deploy, it’s essential not to get carried away with listing all of your skills, reasons and experience – there isn’t the space for it. The key is to provide an answer where you highlight the most pertinent points and then expand on them. To do this, it’s good to initially give an overview, then drill down a bit more and focus on facts, examples or results. There are a few techniques you could use when giving examples of how your skills meet ICAP’s requirements; among them are CAR (context, action and results) and STAR (situation, task, action and results). Click here for more advice about using the STAR technique.

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