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JMP Securities Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 28

If hired to this role here at JMP Securities, what do you see as one initial hurdle you will have to overcome in your first weeks on the job?

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JMP Securities Interview Questions

    1.

  1. If hired to this role here at JMP Securities, what do you see as one initial hurdle you will have to overcome in your first weeks on the job?
    • At the heart of this question, your interviewer is asking you to take an honest look inside of yourself to discuss what you feel is the biggest learning curve you will have if offered this position. This will give your interviewer a sense of how to handle your onboarding process if hired for the position and give them a sense that you have the ability to see what your biggest need would be. Similar to the what is your greatest weakness question, the key to answering this question is humbly pointing out a flaw that you may see and making a plan for how you will overcome that flaw.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Having put a lot of thought into this even before submitting my resume for this position, I realize that my greatest hurdle would be making the leap as an Auditor into the financial focused industry. My five years of experience out of college have been focused on management and technical consulting services, but I feel that I've built a very good knowledge base and experience for this role here at JMP Securities. If given the opportunity to join your team, my initial focus would be to get enthralled in auditing in the financial industry and I'd do this by being attached at the hip to my colleagues and taking the time to talk one on one with a lot of other staff to help better understand what they'll expect of me in this role."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Understanding that my role here at JMP Securities would have me working with the entire advisory staff, the first hurdle would be getting to know everyone on that team and showcasing the skills that I could bring to their work. If hired for the job, I would hope to be invited to team meetings where I could introduce myself and my role with the team and I'd invite an open conversation with the entire team."

    2.

  1. If you joined the team here at JMP Securities, how would you build relationships with those that you would be working closely with?
    • For this question, your interviewer will be looking to get the sense that you would be proactive about getting to know your colleagues and fitting into the culture of the organization. Use a personal approach to talk about ways that you have done this in the past and how you would do it if hired for this position. Talk about the importance of relationship building in your line of work and how it helps the overall good of the organization if you take the initiative to do this.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "From my first day on the job, I would take the time to break the ice with my colleagues by introducing myself and setting up an individual meeting with each person. In the past, I've done these meetings over lunch or in an office where I've had questions prepared for me to get to know the person both personally and professionally. I want to ask my colleagues what they expect from me and what I can expect from them. I've found that these conversations really help to open up doors for working with each other moving forward."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Being the new person on the job can be a very high anxiety time for some people, but I love the opportunity to break the ice with my coworkers by making that first contact. I think it's important to get to know each other on a personal level because we spend so much of our lives together in the workplace and I am a caring person that wants to know how last night's soccer game went for the kids. Beyond that first ice breaking conversation, my work relationships are then bonded through my work ethic and helping others on my team to show that I am a true team player."

    3.

  1. How would you define what working capital is for a company and what does its measurement mean?
    • As a Financial Analyst with JMP Securities, you will be asked to help measure working capital of organizations. In your definition that you provide to your interviewer, ensure that you give them at least the basic definition of the calculation being current assets minus current liabilities. Then, talk about real situations that you've used the measurement to make critical decisions in the work that you've done in the past. This will confirm with your interviewer that you have the ability to use the measurement in this job.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, we measure working capital to gauge the ability of a company to pay off its debts quickly. In working with many industries, from retails to the public sector, the determination of a company's ability to do so based on calculation can differ greatly from industry to industry. To calculate, a range of line items from the company are used to take their current assets minus their current liabilities. In the retail industry, seasonal spikes in business create the need for a much higher working capital and if hired for this role, I have a great understanding of each industries specific needs."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In a very broad sense, working capital is found by subtracting an organization's current liabilities from their current assets. In my current role, I utilize a more focused calculation of adding accounts receivable plus inventory and then subtracting accounts payable. The more focused calculation give a better idea of total working capital for organizations when trying to get a better overall picture of their health and efficiency when projecting out towards the future."

    4.

  1. Can you think of a situation where raising debt over equity would be beneficial?
    • Debt and equity have a very closely bonded relationship with each other in relation to a company's finances. In most situations, raising debt can create too high of an amount of pressure to meet payments versus raising equity. But, there are a few key situations where there is a distinct advantage in raising debt over equity and your interviewer will be looking to hear that you understand at least one of those advantages to be tax shielding, reducing cost of capital and not diluting the stake for investors.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In the situations where I've advised an organization to increase debt, they've received a distinct advantage in a lower cost form of financing versus equity financing. In the end, this reduced the organization's WACC and came out to be a win for them."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Last year, I advised a manufacturer to take the debt over equity route when adding a new line of products that was guaranteed to be very profitable. This fact allowed the company to simply and quickly repay the loan plus interest while being able to reap the rewards of the extra profits. In that same case using equity, final profit would've been less."

    5.

  1. In your experience as a Financial Analyst, what do you feel is the best metric to gauge a company's future stock performance?
    • As a Financial Analyst with JMP Securities, you will be relied upon by clients to provide the best risk and reward opportunities for them to have the most successful investments While there are many great metrics to use and no right answer for this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are confident in why the metric is important by talking about the details of it. The confidence that you project to your interviewer will carry over to your work with clients and your interviewer will be keying in on this aspect of you answer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "While there are many excellent metrics to consider for the future of a stock performance, the one that I weigh the most heavily is the price earnings to growth ratio. I prefer the PEG ratio because of its consideration of expected growth rate where simple P/E calculation doesn't consider that. This calculation is specifically great when looking at a wide array of companies within an industry to level their playing field."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Being familiar with metrics like free cash flow, payout ratio, debt-to-equity and price-to-sales, all can be very useful depending on the situation. In a recent economic downturn like we've had recently, I've relied heavily on the debt-to-equity measurement to measure future performance. As we've seen with many large retailers recently, a simple look into their debt would've shown the potential for disaster in their stock."

    6.

  1. At JMP Securities, our Financial Analysts have to often work under a tight deadline. Talk about a time you had to work under a tight deadline in the past. How did you handle that situation and what made it a success?
    • The financial field can sometimes be chaotic and stressful for analysts working on high pressure deadlines and the work life at JMP Securities is no different. To test how you will perform in these situation if hired for this role, your interviewer will be looking to hear about a time where you did just that. No matter what the situation is that you discuss, be sure to show how you remained calm, focused and on-task to get the job done. Try and stress how you are resourceful and willing to utilize a team effort if necessary.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I'm tasked with preparing some reports for our leadership team's bi-weekly meeting. Upon first taking that responsibility, I made sure that I kept myself organized during each work day and saving and prepping relevant information needed for their report. A couple of months ago, I was informed first thing in the morning that the meeting was being moved a week up to later that day due to some conflicts and vacation time for some of the team. Right away, I moved some things on my calendar to make this a top priority. From there, my regular organization of the materials needed made it easy for me to complete my job."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "During my last semester of my MBA program last spring, I was nearing completion of my capstone project. The project was a case study of mergers within the manufacturing industry and was a great overall project to learn from. During the semester, my full-time job I was working to put myself through school was becoming much more demanding and parts of my project got postponed to a point where I was fearing not being able to complete it to the best of my abilities with the final due date approaching. Right away, I rearranged my work schedule to work half time and began plugging away at the final pieces of the project. To complete it, I had to sacrifice some outside weekend events with friends. While sad to do that at first, I learned some great lessons on time management, project management and sacrifice."

    7.

  1. Have you ever run into a situation where a company had a positive cash flow but was still in critical financial trouble?
    • At the heart of this question, your interviewer is looking to dive in and take a look at your critical thinking skills. While positive cash flow is usually a very good sign of a company's overall ability to settle its debts and handle future financial challenges, there are some situations where all isn't as it seems when looking at a company with a positive cash flow. Whether you have run into this situation or not, it is important for you to point out that you are aware of situations where a positive cash flow can be misleading.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "If hired for this position, you can rest assured that I know all considerations necessary when looking at cash flow for an organization when determining their overall financial health. A cash flow statement can often show positive cash flow when they take on new cash from loans or long-term debt. While these items do show up as positive on the cash flow, they don't accurately reflect the profitability of the organization."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I have come across this situation with a company that was selling off a large chunk of inventory. At the same time, the company was delaying their payables. This showed a very skewed positive cash flow but the real story behind the curtains showed a company that was in serious trouble of keeping its doors open."

    8.

  1. As we work with clients on assessing potentials mergers and/or acquisition, valuation is an important skills to possess. How would you go about placing a value on an organization for a client?
    • As you look to join the ranks at JMP Securities, this question is giving your interviewer the chance to look into your technical skills that you could bring to their clients. For your answer, talk about your ability to take measure of cash flows, revenues, price/earnings ratios and other factors to value a company. Another aspect to keep in mind when answering question is the methods that are most common for a valuing a particular industry. Prior to your interview, try to do as much research as possible on JMP Securities and the typical clients that they serve.

      Ryan's Answer

      "First and foremost, my valuation method would be strictly dependent on the business and industry that I was consulting in. A majority of my experience in mergers and acquisitions has come in the manufacturing industry. In manufacturing, I have used the discounted cash flow model to properly value small operations and an important factor in this method was future forecasting. In each situation that I used this method, my clients saw significant growth and value in their purchases based on the work that I had done."

    9.

  1. In this role with JMP Securities, we will rely on your organized and methodical approach to provide financial analysis reporting. What does your current reporting process consist of?
    • Providing the clients of JMP Securities with detailed reports will be a key part of this position and your interviewer will be looking to gauge your ability to be organized and detailed while also utilizing your critical thinking skills to provide the best reports possible. In your answer, keep a focus on the techniques and tools that you use to do your job in ensuring that clients are receiving the most accurate and detailed reports possible. As well, let your interviewer know that you are willing to learn new ways and new technologies to help onboard yourself to their team quicker.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I utilize the Tableau program to provide live, up to date information to my clients. After using a simply built Excel program for many years, Tableau provides beautiful and easy to understand reporting that my clients can take and run with to make important decision. The connections and automations within the program have save me time and effort, allowing me to take on a much more robust client base. If hired for this role here at JMP Securities, I also have familiarity with SAS and Spotfire and consider myself a very quick learner if I need to learn a new program."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "When I need to provide reporting to clients or my firm, I ensure that the reporting includes all key risks and valuation. Today, we as Financial Analysts have so many great tools available to us and my current preference is a statistical program like Crystal Ball. When paired with the advance Excel sheets that I have created, and have been commended, my clients are always happy with the insight that I am able to provide."

    10.

  1. In this role here at JMP Securities, we will rely on you to conduct thorough presentations with clients. How would your rate your overall presentation skills and why would you give yourself that rating?
    • Solid communication and presentation skills are an essential part of a job as a Financial Analysis and this position with JMP Securities is no different. To show your interview that you will have what it takes to get hired for this role, talk about your experience in delivering meaningful presentations to a group. Be sure to emphasize your delivery style and your comfortability in speaking in front of others and stress that you understand the importance that communication plays in your role as a Financial Analyst.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Hopefully from this interview you get the sense that I am a people person by nature. In my current role, I make financial presentations to our largest clients and was asked to do this several years ago by my current Director. He saw my ability to capture a crowd through my confidence, my educational demeanor and my wittiness to use humor in my presentation skills. If hired for this role, I'd love the opportunity to work with the clients at JMP Securities to do the same."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I pride myself on my ability to communicate clearly and effectively with my colleagues and my clients on a regular basis. With my colleagues, I don't hesitate to talk in person, over the phone or through email when needed. With clients, I have a great way of talking in terms that are understandable and knowledgeable for them to understand complicated items. These skills definitely translate over to my presentation skills when required. A few weeks ago, I presented to a group of investors that were very engaged and asked a lot of questions. I was able to effectively navigate all of their questions to make the presentation a success for all who attended."

    11.

  1. Describe to me a time when you made an error in your current or former position, and the impact your mistake made? How did you correct the error, what did you learn from it?
    • Everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect. The interviewer knows that too and is asking this question to see how you handle situations when you make mistakes. Give an example that demonstrates how you took responsibility for your error and fixed it. Also, what you learned from the experience as a result. Sometimes learning from our mistakes allows us to gain some valuable tools.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "When I worked as a financial services rep, I accidentally double booked two clients for an appointment in one of the time slots. I realized the mistake after I was double checking my calendar and called the clients right away and apologized for my mistake. As a result of this experience, I always made sure to check the time slots on my calendar twice."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "When starting my current position, I had some struggles with learning Salesforce and let the frustrations get the best of me. I felt like a failure and was ready to give up. Once my boss pulled me aside and reminded me that everyone struggles with brand new technology, I was able to relax. I ended up taking an online course on the program so that I could fast-track my learning and avoid further frustration. What I learned was that only I am responsible for my learning and there are always ways to overcome challenges, if you look for the answers and are prepared to work for them."

    12.

  1. Here at JMP Securities, we are expecting someone with strong leadership skills to take this role. How would you describe your management style?
    • Prior to your interview, try to take a long, hard look inside your skills and styles as a leader of others and prepare to present the best management style possible to your interviewer that fits the role that you are interviewing for with JMP Securities. Your answer should also involve solid research into the culture of JMP Securities and the details of the role you are interviewing for. Some important things to touch on are your ability to promote a team atmosphere and your ability to delegate responsibilities when necessary.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "My overall management style is the belief in building a positive team atmosphere. I'm a firm believer that each person and role brings a specific skill set to the ocverall goals and purpose of a team and I promote a team based atmosphere by larifying everyone's role on the team, keeping every person's objectives clear, rewarding great performers on the team and holding people accountable for their actions. If hired for this role at JMP Securities, you can be assured that my promotion of a team based atmosphere would help achieve even higher goals than you have set right now."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I think that it is crucial for a leader of others to be flexible in their style rather than relying on just one of the canned management styles. I'd like to highlight my abilities to lead as being a manager that works to grow and develop my staff to help them achieve their career goals and a leader who is able to provide direction and authority when the time for it arises. By knowing my team well and promoting our goals, I have the ability to assign work to the right people and follow through with my team on meeting all objective necessary."

    13.

  1. Discuss a time that you worked a client through a difficult financial situation. What were the keys to making it a success for the client?
    • Your interviewer is posing this question to see how you will handle a situation where a client at JMP Securities is working through a difficult time. As you talk about how you managed that situation, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have the interpersonal skills to be effective from the client's perspective. In your answer, be sure to explain the importance of an empathetic approach with your clients and how that approach helps them get through a difficult time.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "During the recession in 2008, I had a very large client call to request that all of his funds be pulled out of the stock market. Knowing that this move was a very poor strategy, I needed him to hear that in most personal and educated way possible. With an active listening approach, I repeated back what he had told me and I reiterated that he wanted to sell them at a low price and hopefully buy them back down the road at a high price. This made the client take a pause and think. This was my opportunity to talk about market history and the odds that his stock prices would rebound over time. He decided to keep his funds in the market at the time and a few years down the road, he called to personally thank me for the sound advice. The fact that I took a personal approach while educating him in the process to make his own decision was the definite key to success in this situation."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Sometimes in this field, difficult conversations have to be had with clients and when I need to have them, I use a very personal and empathetic approach. A great situation where this happened was with a client that wasn't meeting their personal retirement goals to be done working at age 62. At the point we were working together, she was 55 years old. After a quick assessment of her finances, I talked to her about letting her two kids be responsible for their own college tuition. As a mother, her intuition was to support her children in every way possible but the reality was that it was hurting her own goals. Simply put to her, I told her that there are no loans available for retirement and that she was doing both herself and her kids a favor by taking the route I suggested."

    14.

  1. If you noticed that a company's balance sheet was showing increased amounts of accounts receivables, what future impacts to that company would you consider to be feasible?
    • At the root of this question, your interview will be looking to hear that you understand how the different lines on a company's balance sheet are related to each other. In your answer, be sure to point out your understanding of this as your job as an analyst with JMP Securities will rely on your ability to do so.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "An organization's lines on a balance sheet all have impact on other lines. In the case that I was made aware of an increase in accounts receivable for an organization, I would note that cash flow could be directly impacted and give a higher chance that the organization didn't have enough money to operate. As well, the reduced value of assets is a real possibility for that organization."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In reality, an increase in amounts receivable can have both a positive and negative impact. In the short term, accounts receivable show up as current-period revenue and have a positive effect on income statements. But over the long-term, a large increase in amounts receivable has a negative impact on cash-flow for the company."

    15.

  1. List the top 3 skills that you have acquired in your last role.
    • You have likely gained many valuable skills in your career. Share with the interviewer which skills you value the most. Be sure to include skills that will potentially benefit this potential new employer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In the past few years I was able to upgrade my education while still working full time. The biggest skill that I gained was my ability to multi-task as I worked the dual role of employee and student. I also have strong skills in a variety of Microsoft programs such as PowerPoint and Excel."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "There are many skills I gained in my most recent position as I had a great training program and my boss was a strong mentor. If I had to choose three top skills I would say that the biggest ones were effective multitasking, solid closing skills, and cold calling abilities."

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