macdonald and company
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Portfolio Management Job Interviewing Guide

Posting date: 9 May 2019
Ania Prosniak our consultant managing the role

Portfolio Management Interview Tips

What are the personality traits on your wish list? Are you searching for Portfolio Manager who is confident, enthusiastic and passionate? Do you want your next hire to be committed to working for your company, with the emotional intelligence that will make them a good team player? Is it important that they treat other people in the organisation with respect?

Not all the answers can be obtained by verbal communication during the interview. You will need to consider body language. There are also other ways to gain insight into your candidate's personality, too. Here are some tips to help you determine what the candidate is really like.

Ania Prosniak Real Estate Investment Recruitment

Start With The Handshake

The way in which a candidate shakes your hand can be a clue to confidence. A firm and cool grip may be a sign of confidence and lack of nerves. A tremor and sweating palms may mean the candidate is a bag or nerves in stressful situations. 

Other signs of a nervous disposition include fidgeting, bouncing legs, wiping hands on trousers, and leaning forward in their chair.

· Is There Eye Contact?

A candidate who makes strong eye contact is a confident candidate, sure of the answers they give. Eyes that dart around show nervousness, a candidate grappling to find suitable answers to the questions asked.

· Easily Distracted

A candidate who is easily distracted by what is going on around them may lack focus. If they lose track of what they were saying because of a knock at the door, it could be that their ability to concentrate on a single task is less than you need.

· Passion for the Job

A Portfolio Manager who slouches in their chair, fails to pay attention to questions asked, and stares into space when giving answers may lack the passion the role needs. You can gauge enthusiasm and passion by the way in which answers are given, the attention the candidate pays to the interviewer, and general demeanour. Are they leaning forward when answering questions? Are they engaged?

· Uncover Signs of Emotional Intelligence

People with high emotional intelligence tend to make the best team players and future leaders. High self-esteem often manifests itself as respect for others. Ask the receptionist how the candidate treated them. Was it respectful and polite? You can learn a lot about a person by observing how they treat others.

Portfolio Management  Interview Questions

To discover what an applicant is really like, their skills and experience, and how they react in different circumstances, you should ask open-ended questions. 

Well-designed interview questions will offer the candidate the opportunity to give you an insight into how they think and how adaptable they are. Good applicants who are keen to secure the Portfolio Management role will have done their homework. They will have prepared model answers and be able to shape them for the questions you ask. Answers will be given confidently. An effective method for candidates to structure answers is STAR – situation, task, action, and results. You can use the same method to formulate questions to ask at the interview.

Howard White Real Estate Investment & Funds Recruitment

Provide a situation which questions the task that the candidate had, asking them to describe what they did to overcome the challenge and describe the results they achieved.

Five STAR Questions to Ask Interviewees

There will be many questions that are specific to the portfolio management role you are filling and the team in which the candidate may be employed. The following five behavioural interview questions will give you an idea of what questions to ask. We also provide what the responses may mean as you seek to gain a better understanding of the candidate. The STAR method is a structured manner of responding to a behavioural based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing.
Situation: Ask your prospective Portfolio Manager to describe the situation that they were in or the task that they needed to accomplish. They must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalised description of what they have done in the past. Be sure to ask for enough detail for you the interviewer to understand it fully. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.

Task: What specifc goal were they working toward? Try and ensure they incorporate SMART goals.. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timed.

Action: When they describe the actions taken to address the situation with an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on them. What specific steps did they take and what was their particular contribution? Be careful they don’t describe what the team or group did when talking about a project, but what they actually did. 

Result: Describe the outcome of their actions and if they're being shy about taking credit for behaviour, encourage them to be a little bolder. What happened? How did the event end? What did they accomplish? What did they learn? Make sure answers contain multiple, relevant and positive results. 

1. “Describe a situation in which you led a team project”

This asks the candidate to give an example of leadership capability. It gives the opportunity for the interviewee to describe how they went the extra mile to achieve results. You should listen for egotistical or team tendency. A candidate who blames others for shortfalls or issues may become a problem in your portfolio management team.

2. “Tell me about a time when you improved a working process.”

This asks about problem-solving ability and creative thinking. Is the candidate able to think outside the box, while adhering to policy and regulations?

3. “Describe a situation in which you had to deal with a difficult colleague.”

The classic conflict management question, this gives the candidate the opportunity to show you that they are level-headed and can see issues from different points of view. Are they capable of dealing with emotional situations rationally? Can they resolve disputes and collaborate with others to find common ground?

4. “Tell me about a personal weakness that you tackled.”

It is hard for people to talk about their weaknesses, especially in a job interview. They want to tell you about their strengths, not their weaknesses. This question gives the chance for the interviewee to show they are self-aware, that they analyse their own talents, and are enthusiastic about self-development.

5. “Tell me how you set goals for yourself and your team.”

This asks about mindset and determination, the ability to manage time, and how the candidate sets objectives and manages projects. It gives the opportunity for the candidate to show they are both a self-starter and a team leader, able to develop goals and create processes to achieve them.

Freddie Moore Real Estate investment Funds Recruitment

Conclude Professionally

When the Portfolio Management job interview draws to its conclusion, bring it to a close professionally. Make sure all elements on your interview checklist have been covered. Reiterate the next steps and thank them for their time.

When the portfolio manager has left the interview room, write down any last-minute thoughts that you haven’t had time to note during the interview. Try and sum up the portfolio manager in a couple of sentences. What would your "elevator pitch" be for this applicant to your team or your boss?

When the portfolio manager has left the interview room, write down any last-minute thoughts that you haven’t had time to note during the interview. Try and sum up the portfolio manager in a couple of sentences. What would your "elevator pitch" be for this applicant to your team or your boss?

Finally, ignore the temptation to make a judgement based on your first impression. Doing so will waste your time and the candidate’s time. If your first impression is negative (for example, a weak handshake with sweaty palms), don’t let it cloud your judgement during the rest of the interview.

The interview should be an enjoyable experience for the interviewer and the interviewee. A chance for the candidate to show why you should employ them. A chance for you to show why they should work for you. Proper preparation will help you achieve both goals and help guarantee success going forward for you, your team and the candidate.

To find the most talented candidates for your portfolio management team, contact the Real Estate Investment & Funds team

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