It’s really not as if anyone with even a passing interest in equity analyst jobs assumes it’s going to be an easy recruitment process, but it also appears that few are genuinely prepared for how intensive it can be. The simple fact of the matter is that unless you’re already working in the field, it’s impossible to grasp the kind of pressure and intensiveness of it all – the interview usually being the very first taste of what’s to come. Most job interviews require the candidate to sell themselves pretty convincingly, but in an interview for an equity analyst you’re likely to be put to the test as if you already had the job.

Suffice to say, preparation can and usually will make or break the applicant’s chances.

The good news is of course that with the details of thousands of successful and failed analyst interviews having been laid bare on the web over the years, it’s now possible to gain a pretty good insight into what to expect. But at the same time, no two interviews are ever identical and so it’s crucial not to base your preparation primarily around presumptions built from researching past interview questions and insights.

So, for those headed for the big interview in the near future, here’s a quick look at five of the most essential preparatory tips of all from recruitment gurus:

1 – Make No Presumptions

As already mentioned, even if you can find a dozen examples of actual interviews that have taken place at the actual company you’re applying to, never for one second assume that yours will look anything like this…it won’t. Seriously, these recruiters and interviewers are smart enough to know that using the same interview script and template on multiple occasions will open the door for rehearsed answers, so while you can get a good idea of the kinds of questions they ask, these won’t be the questions you’re asked.

2 – Study Pressing Economic Matters

You can pretty much guarantee that they’ll want to test you on both your knowledge of current economic matters and indeed your skills as an analyst – both at the same time. If, for example, the last few weeks or months have brought about a huge change in oil prices, chances are they’ll want to know your thoughts on it and the advice you might offer. There’s also a strong chance you’ll in some way be questioned on matters relating to the value of any key global currency of importance to the business you’re applying to work with, so make sure you’re up to speed in any recent movement.

3 – Think Beyond the Obvious

A common favourite of the equity analyst interviewer is to ask the candidate directly about their own favourite investment opportunities at the time of the interview, by way of cheap stocks that are relatively safe. Now, in these instances it’s common for candidates to pluck the most obvious big names from the tops of their heads – Apple, Microsoft, General Motors etc. – which although qualify as strong examples show no real thought or insights whatsoever. After all, anyone reading the news that morning might well know that Apple’s stocks are on the up. By contrast, talk them through a prospect that’s considerably more obscure, perhaps unknown to them and of genuine value and you’ll immediately get across your knack for digging-up great opportunities beyond the obvious.

4 – Side-Line Qualifications

When it comes to qualifications, chances are the recruiters were pretty specific when it came to who they chose to call in for an interview. Or to put it another way, it’s very likely that every single candidate across the board has a very similar educational background to yours, if not even more impressive. Qualifications tend to be the prerequisites that determine who gets spoken to, though more often than not play a far less important role in determining who gets the job. Instead, this comes down to things like personal experience, character traits, ambition, personality, drive, enthusiasm and so on and so forth – all of which should represent your key areas of focus. They know you’re technically qualified, but so is everyone else – why should they choose you?

5 – Do Your Job

Last but not least, prior to the interview it’s more than in your best interests to spend some time working as if you already had the job you’re applying for, in order to give you a distinct edge during the interview. For example, spend plenty of time researching the company, studying prospects and working out what you believe to be winning investment opportunities and you can then present these during the interview. It’s a bit like giving them a snippet of what it would be like to have you as an employee, as opposed to just telling them how great you are and hoping they take your word for it.