Merrill Lynch Interview Questions & Reviews
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Very Difficult Interview
Technology Analyst Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in March 2008.
Interview Details – The interview process was quite short, but it was because of an immediate opening. the technology guys at merrill are very good and they know their stuff. They mostly asked me questions in C++ as that was what my experience was in. Even though the role was more on C# development. The pay is pretty good too.
Interview Question – Whats a static constructor? Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
Financial Advisor Trainee Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in June 2010.
Interview Details – Merrill Lynch requires a FIAT test to be taken before an interview can be scheduled. It's a Financial Indicator Aptitude Test that consists of fractional equations, capital market type economic questions, and even some geometry...like giving the pertimeter of the outside of a room. Definitely brush up on advanced math and complicated economy problems to be ready.
Interview Question – If given X area square footage and X length of the room, what is the room's perimeter? View Answers (7)
Very Difficult Interview
Financial Advisor Trainee Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in April 2011.
Interview Details – 1. I was contacted by a recruiter to basically do a screening interview. He explained to me what the position entailed and what the requirements were and what the process would be like. He then asked me if I was interested and if I would come to a Hiring Event within the next week. I accepted
2. I went to the hiring event, which was laid back and informal. They served us refreshments and gave us information about the company and about the position. We were told what it would be like to be in the program and given a folder full of information explaining the pay structure for the first 3 years, commission structure, series 66 & 7, as well as the requirements for the interview process moving forward. If we did not pass both of these tests then we would not be able to move forward in the process and we would not be eligible to retake the test for 6 months. At the end of the presentation the Resident Director and the Recruiter gave out their contact information asked us to send them an email letting them know if we wanted to move forward with the process. A day later I accepted the challenge.
3. I waited about 2 weeks for the next step, which was the FIAT exam. The FIAT is a Financially Intelligent Aptitude Test. Look it up online. You should also take a refresher on long division and long decimal multiplication. You cannot use a calculator. The same day I was informed that I passed and would be set up for the next round, which was the personality test.
4. I took the personality test a couple of days later. This is a timed test so I recommend you have peace and quiet so that you can focus. This is the test that will tell them what kind of advisor you will be. They will ask you questions about investing, sales ability, job history, personality questions, as well as a survey asking you how many people you know with a net worth of $250K in liquid cash to invest. They want to know if you are already connected to wealth. It was explained to me that this test is weighted and should be strong in the job history and network of relationships portion of the test. After passing this test then I was scheduled for a 1:1 interview with the Resident Director. This interview was centered around my plan for client acquisition. If you really want to get this job make sure you go above and beyond on this plan. I went the extra mile and had my plan bound at Kinkos for $10. I also formatted my plan like a presentation instead of in just bullet points. Do not be underprepared. There are so many sites that will help you prepare your plan. After this round I was passed to the next round, which would be an interview with the Regional Branch Manager.
5. This interview was not located in the city I live in. I actually had to travel for this meeting. It was well worth it considering I pretty much knew I would get this job; however, my meeting with him was probably the most challenging. The one question that I was asked in round 4 and 5 was, "Are you sure this is what you want to do and why"? I told him yes and that I understood that it was a very big decision but if I committed then I would be 110% committed. He explained to me that I would be extended an offer by the Resident Director and that he would be in contact with me very soon.
6. I advise anyone seeking an opportunity with Merrill to contact someone outside that office that also works for Merrill to get as much advice as possible. It helped me out and the FAs in other offices were very open to being helpful throughout the whole process. Do not be shy. That is not what they want. They want aggressive but not arrogant. Be dressed very well. Look as though you are already employed as an FA. I wore a tailored navy suit, a white shirt with french cuffs, black cap-toe shoes, and a very conservative power tie. I wore a bow-tie to the hiring event so that I would stick out among the others there. It definitely worked. The resident director told me that I was memorable at the event and that set me apart from the other candidates. How you dress is very important as well.
8. The regional director told me something that may help you. He told me that there are 3 qualities a FA at Merrill Lynch has to possess without question.
A) Intelligence (to pass the Licensing Exams and learn the products)
B) Work Ethic (to work your client acquisition plan without ceasing)
C) Sales Ability (The ability to make people comfortable and like you)
- Why do you want to be a financial advisor? View Answer
- Are you sure you want to do this? View Answer
- What do you believe the hardest part is about a financial advisors job at Merrill Lynch? View Answer
Negotiation Details – I was given the chance to negotiate and you will to; however, you need to remember that what you accept will determine your goals. The higher the salary; the higher the goals.
Very Difficult Interview
Vice President Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in October 2009.
Interview Details – Got brought in by two managers and itnially hired in the location I wasn't looking for. The culture was a shark tank. The brokers with the most seniority are like little babies who run to the branch manager for every little thing. Everyone was extremely nice for about a week. After that it was like any other sales pit. People talking behind each others backs saying they will help then in reality actually telling you not to bother the other brokers. It was so bad i though i was working in 8th grade again.
Interview Question – why do you think this job is for you at this time in your career Answer Question
Negotiation Details – The hiring mangaer made the number, but the local manager only talked about how I was getting 20K more than him 4 years ago and how hard it was to support a family and yada yada yada. Not a goood way to recruit highy educated and skilled employees
Very Difficult Interview
Investment Banking Vice-President Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in August 2010.
Interview Details – Head hunter, interviews with senior MDs
- what would you describe as the most important factors in building a smart order router Answer Question
- do you have any difficulties with your current management? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – not much possible and over very quickly
PMD Trainee Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 8 weeks - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in May 2011.
Interview Details – Started interview for internship position until they realized that since I was graduating I did not/could not get credit for it. Then interviewed for PMD position. Had one phone interview with manager, then came in for the qualifying testing, once passed the tests, interviewed with 3 advisors, came back to meet with manager and got hired. Overall process took forever, 6-8 weeks from passing qualifying tests to start date.
Interview Question – Why at such at a young age can you succeed in this career? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No negotiation...first job...there is a threshold based on your job experience.
Managed Account Advisory Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Merrill Lynch.
Interview Details – The process started with a phone interview with HR that lasted approx 1/2 hour. Did not hear anything for about 2 weeks and HR followed up to schedule a phone interview with the hiring manager. That interview was also about 1/2 hour and was related to my work experience. Following that, HR contacted me to schedule another meeting. This time it was on site with 7 different people about 1/2 hr each. 1 Person was at a different location. The interview process was long but not overwhelming. Meet with manager from the various groups that I would be working with. I got the opportunity to ask questions about the role and culture. Seems like the wheels turn slowly there.
Interview Question – Product related questions regarding my current employer and no breaching confidentiality. Answer Question
Private Wealth Management Process Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and interviewed at Merrill Lynch.
Interview Details – Received a phone call after applying to schedule an in-person interview. I was asked many questions that related to my weaknesses and various financial concepts. Thought the entire interview was a little too rigorous for a position that entailed very little responsibility.
- What would your Mother say is your biggest weakness? Answer Question
- What is a Black Scholes model? Answer Question
Reason for Declining – I was extremely turned off by the interview process. The office environment was quite depressing. It was an unpaid internship.
Practice Management Development Program Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Merrill Lynch in October 2011.
Interview Details – I first learned and obtained contact with Merrill Lynch through a Job Fair event. At the event there was a bland table with a packets of information and sheets of papers. No bells or whistles. The recruiter was actually the Regional PMD Manager. His disposition was formal and frank. He enjoyed my charisma and said he would call. Though my qualificaitons were unique, the position mentioned being open to professional of varied backgrounds other than financial services so I thought great.
I got an email later in the week that attached a presentation of the program and the company. I scheduled a phone interview for later in the week. Little did I know the enthusiasm that got him interested was not enough. Even though they say they have the one of the best and most extensive training programs, they still would prefer you to have a financial background. Thus the interview didn't pan out.
Interview Question – If a monkey and a goat had a child, how soon would you be able to build a client base? Answer Question
PMD Program Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Merrill Lynch.
Interview Details – Very warm referral, and still nothing. Passed financial (98% on FIAT) and all top scores on personal/sales assessment tests. Nailed the first interview with the recruiter, literally blew it out of the water. Wrote "business plan" for the appeasement of higher-ups. Hit a brick wall at second interview with the MD and got turned down (interview started 30 minutes late - I arrived 10 min early on a very busy schedule) (Was also told by the head recruiter that sometimes he passes the best people through and they get turned down, while people he thought were barely worth the MD's time got hired and eventually fizzled out). I have a book of business from another quality advisory firm (Listed among Barron's Top 20). MD gave great feedback on interview, but I was completely blindsided by the fact that they weren't interested in giving a hard-working, high-producing advisor a chance in their TRAINING program. Also, didn't know I was interviewing for a training program. Was told to get more experience and to come back in a year? As someone who has run a company before and consulted for many; dealt with similar problems, I chalk this up to terrible all-around communication between recruiting and upper management. I feel if I came in on a Thursday with the MD's favorite steak I would have had a better chance than on a cold and stale Monday - this process was that unpredictable.
Interview Question – So from 1-10, how do you think you did in this interview? View Answer
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