Double checking and proofreading are essential parts of a job well done. Assure the interviewer that you are diligent when it comes to submitting good, clean, work.
Lazard Interview Questions
Accuracy is important to us at Lazard. Do you always double check or proofread your work?
Double checking and proofreading are essential parts of a job well done. Assure the interviewer that you are diligent when it comes to submitting good, clean, work.
"Spelling and grammatical errors are a pet peeve of mine. I will triple check my work if there is time! I feel that it is imperative to submit error-free work."
"I do my best to put great work out, at all times. I believe in double checking my work although I must admit that I have fallen victim to the odd mistake like the best of us!"
At Lazard, we expect our advisors to be available to speak with clients in person, over the phone and through email. What are your experiences in working with clients through different communication methods?
Customer interaction is the name of the game at Lazard as they rely on excellent customer to service to retain and grow their client base in a cutthroat market. For this question, your interviewer is looking to get a sense of how you use your communication skills to your advantage in your work and how those skills will benefit Lazard. As you answer and talk about your experiences in communication methods, try to show that you thrive on client interactions and have the ability to be both persuasive and trusted with those interactions.
"Looking back on my career, I can honestly say that success as an Advisor is really due to my passion for finance and my desire for interactions with other people. Being a people person at heart, I love working with clients in any way possible. My communication style with clients is to get to personally know them so I can relate my advising to them personally. While I definitely prefer to interact with my clients face-to-face, I do have a lot of experience communicating both over the phone and email as well. If hired for this position, you'll see very quickly that I have excellent writing skills."
"As you can see from my resume, I have taken advanced training courses in public speaking and written communication to help further me in this career field. In my early days in finance and making the move to financial advising, communication skills were my area that needed the most professional development. Today, I am confident in my abilities to work one on one with clients directly in person, over the phone or through email and have experience handling clients in all three ways. In my current role, I'd estimate that over 50% of my interactions are through email with the remaining interactions split between face-to-face meetings and phone calls."
In your work as a Portfolio Administrator, what kind events cause you the most stress on the job?
The high demands of a position as a Portfolio Manager or Administrator bring a lot of stress. Market volatility, greed, underperformance and tough clients can all contribute to a high level of stress in this field. For this question, your interviewer is looking to gain insight on how you handle these stress factors on the job by having you talk a bit about what types of things cause you stress. While you talk openly about what it is that causes you stress or discomfort, make sure that you also talk through how you handle that stress in a safe, healthy and good for business manner.
"While overall market volatility does stress out a lot of Portfolio Administrators, I have a very good way of explaining this volatility to my clients to the point where it doesn't stress me out. For me, any stress that I feel is usually put on me by myself in having very high expectations for my work with clients. To help alleviate this stress, I've learned over time that the goals and expectations that I put on my work have to be realistic and attainable when they sometimes weren't early on in my career."
"In reality, our work as Portfolio Managers for our clients is almost like trying to do the impossible. We are relied upon to make sound decisions for clients based on insufficient information, all while trying to maintain confidence in our decisions. This in itself is a daily stressor on the job and one that I don't take lightly. To help myself with this daily stress, I've learned to accept mistakes as they happen, own up to them with clients and work hard to alleviate those mistakes to put my clients back in the best position possible."
When have you shown a willingness to learn a new method or new approach to solving a problem?
It is a great skill to have when you can approach a problem in a new way. Discuss with the interviewer your ability to approach a problem using modern methods.
"When our company came under new management last year many new methods and policies came into place. I was able to learn many new approaches to our challenges in sales and customer management. I quite enjoyed the process."
"In my current position, I am faced with learning new sales methods and client approaches on a regular basis. I am always the first to embrace these new sales pitches because I truly believe the bigger diversity we can offer our clients, the better."
We are looking for the most motivated individuals to join the team here at Lazard. Where you would you like your career to take you in the next five to ten years?
This common interview question put you in a tough spot where you should talk about your ultimate career goals while also balancing the needs of the position that you are interviewing for and the needs of Lazard. Prior to your interviewer, try to research the job and Lazard to the point where you can match your career goals with they Lazard offers. While your interviewer is looking for a long-term fit for the position they are interviewing you for, it is okay to set your sights higher as long as your goals meet that of the organization's goals. If at all possible during your answer, point out that long-term success with Lazard is vitally important to you.
"Now that I am to the midway point of my career, I am looking for my next move to be my final move in finding my work home until I retire. As a successful Financial Advisor today, I want to focus on continuing to grow my skills in advising clients on retirement and private wealth management and it sounds like I'll have that opportunity here at Lazard. As I continue to grow in my skills and prove my worth to you, a long-term career goal is to be in management where I could oversee the work of Junior Advisors and mentor them towards success."
"A career in risk analysis has been a dream for some time and this opportunity with Lazard is really my dream job. If hired here, my goal for the next five to ten years would be to continue to hone my skills and help the work of the department to a point where it is growing and becoming more effective. Down the road, I'm really in a position to be an open book when it comes to where my career with Lazard would go from there."
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 Lazard will rely on your ability to do so.
"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."
"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."
Talk to me about a challenging situation you had to handle on the job that involved another colleague. How did you handle that situation?
At the heart of this question, your interviewer is looking to hear how you use solid interpersonal and relationship building skills to diffuse a difficult situation with a coworker when on the job. No matter what situation that you talk about, make sure to focus your answer on a positive mindset and the steps that you walked through to turn a potentially hazardous situation into a good one. As well, talk about lessons learned from that situation that you keep with you to this day on the job.
"A couple of years ago, we had hired a new Junior Advisor on to our team and I was tasked with being his mentor. Having mentored several other thriving Junior Advisors prior to him starting, I was excited for the opportunity. Within the first week of him being on the job, I overheard a colleague of mine talking very openly about his disdain for the hire of this new Advisor and witnessing him personally criticizing him in a face-to-face encounter. Immediately, I spoke to my colleague in a private office about my concern over his actions and words towards the new Advisor. Having been a part of the interview process and his early mentorship, I knew that he had the skills to succeed and I reiterated that to my colleague. After agreeing to back off on any private criticizing of the new Advisor and a promise to help mentor him, I learned that direct conversations are the best way to handle workplace conflicts."
"f"A couple of years ago, I approached a colleague that had missed a deadline or a big audit we were conducting and she completely blew up at my during our conversation. At first, I was very taken aback by her response because I had never witnessed that from her in many years of working together. While remaining calm, I allowed her the opportunity to vent to me and it turns out that she was going through a lot of things in her personal life that were impacting her work. While keeping our project deadlines in mind, I also took a personal approach in letting her know that she could bring these issues to me as both a colleague and a friend and we could work through them together in the future. This approach is vital to any conflicts that can arise with colleagues and one I don't hesitate to take when needed."
If hired for this role at Lazard, how would you help make sound investment decisions for our clients?
While certainly an open ended question for you to run with, your interviewer is really looking to get a sense that you are resourceful in your decision making processes and that you don't rely too heavy on quantitative or qualitative information to make decisions. In your answer, talk about the sound use of data while also relying on your experience and judgement to help in your decision making processes. As well, if you are open and experienced in a team based approach among fellow colleagues, talk about that as well.
"In my current role, we have a great team that considers many factors in our investment decisions for our clients. Our engineers have developed mathematical models that gauge the markets and their propensity to shift over time. We have a team of market experts that rely on the new and current times to predict future fluctuations. As the Portfolio Managers, we weigh information from all of these teams to make decisions moving forward and this allows for the greatest confidence in our overall decisions."
"While all of our decisions for our clients are based on assumptions, my experience has taught me to weigh in many different factors when making investment decisions. Looking at historical data to predict futures carries some weight and can be accurate at times, but having firsthand knowledge of different businesses and industries like I do helps put that historical data into perspective when trying to predict the future. If hired for this position at Lazard, I'll have that ability to make the best decisions possible for your clients."
At Lazard, our clients are the lifeblood of our business and we do everything in our power to make them happy. What does the term customer service mean to you in your work?
No matter what position you are interviewing for at Lazard, your interviewer is looking to hear what customer service means to you in your work and how you apply that philosophy in your everyday work life. In essence, they want to hear your story as to why solid customer service is important to you. Prior to your interviewer, be sure to really think about this question to apply what is important to you in how you go about your work. Whether you talk about problem solving or making people happy, this should be reflected in the work that you do.
"A pursuit of a career in the financial field really suited my two passions in life of mathematics and problem solving. In this role, helping clients solve problems in an efficient manner and with a smile on my face would be the drive to succeed that I need. At the end of the day, if I see that my work helped a client grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals, I know that it was a job well done."
"As a people person by nature, I have an innate ability to do what is needed to give customers the best experience possible when I'm working with them. This means that I reflectively listen to their needs and concerns and do what is necessary to help them based on what I heard. In my interactions with customers, I am positive, pleasant and nurturing by nature and I've found that customers are very receptive to my style off communication with them. If hired for this role at Lazard, you'll quickly find that dedicated customer service is one of top qualities that I will bring to you team."
When would an investment in commodities make sense for a client that you were working with?
Prior to your interview, it is important to prepare for very market specific questions like this one where your interviewer will be looking to get a sense that you have the knowledge about particular markets like commodities, annuities and private equities. When you answer a question like this, try to give your interviewer an answer that shows that you understand the basic details of the market, when it is useful and what its downsides are to prove that you know situations where it can be very beneficial to a potential client.
"In my experience, commodities have made the most sense to use as a hedge when I am concerned about a potential upcoming crisis. I've utilized the gold market at times and it was very effective during the recession back in 2008. Gold prices have always tended to rise when the markets fell and some very high profile clients I worked with at that time were very pleased with their results while others lost a substantial amount in the market."
"Commodities are always an interesting consideration because of their spectacular performance at times. But, because they don't receive dividends and aren't a great hedge bet over time, there are only a few scenarios where I utilize them. Crude oil markets are a great example of a short term buy in commodities when a production increase or decrease is announced."
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.
"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."
"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."
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 Lazard 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.
"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."
"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."
This position at Lazard has generate a lot of interest from applicants. What do you feel is the one quality that sets you apart from others we are speaking with about this position?
This question is the perfect opportunity for you to highlight the one key quality that makes you the best person for this position, so be sure to really think about what this one quality is ahead of your interview. While there are many ways that you can take you answer to impress your interviewer and seal the deal for you in getting the job, be sure to avoid making assumptions about the other candidates in your answer. As well, be sure to avoid anything in your answer that points to this job being convenient for you personally or the fact that you'll be getting compensated for this work. Those are quick ways for you to go to the bottom of the candidate ranking list.
"As I've talked about during this interview process and from what you can see on my resume, I have all of the technical skills needed to grow your financial advising practice here at Lazard. What sets me apart from my competition is my drive to succeed in this industry and I'd love to bring that drive to Lazard to help working with your highest profile clients possible. Growing up and continuing to this point in my life, I've always been a very competitive person. I've played many team and individual sports my whole life and my drive to win in those has definitely carried over to and been a huge benefit in my work as a Financial Advisor. I'd love to bring this competitive spirit to your team."
"From what I understand about this role in Client Services with Lazard, my day to day work will include a lot of client interaction and I really feel like the job description was written with my skills and abilities in mind. But the thing that will really set me apart for being the perfect fit for this role is my experience on the sales side of things where I spent five years of my working career in the retail sales industry. In sales, I have developed key skills like product knowledge and selling skills that would be very beneficial to this role."
How do you stay on top of new trends in the financial services industry?
The interviewer would like to know that your passion for financial services goes beyond your work hours. Do you keep on top of industry news and trends on your off time? Assure the interviewer that you are well immersed in the industry.
"I stay on top of financial service trends through a variety of blogs, news sites and financial magazines. My favorite finance news site at the moment is businessinsider.com."
"I believe that it is crucial for me to stay on top of news in the financial services industry if I hope to be a success. I have joined multiple meet up groups to network with industry peers. It has really helped my network and given me insight into how other financial service professionals are making their careers flourish."
What types of compensation structures have you worked under in the past and do you have any expectations for this role with Lazard?
Compensation for Financial Advisors can vary from a straight salary, straight commission, salary plus bonus or a fee-only structure. You can speak openly and honestly to your interview about the types of compensation you have received throughout your career up to this point, but it is always important to do your research on Lazard and how they pay their advisors when you elaborate on the compensation model that suits you best. In the end, it is important to match your expectations with the compensation structure of Lazard.
"In the current role that I have been in since graduating from college, I started on a base salary for three years guaranteed that also had a bonus structure tied in for performance. At the the end of the three year base salary period, I was moved to a straight commission and have been on that for almost five years now. I am very confident in my ability to be a high performing advisor on commissions and bonuses and find that I have a very high motivation to succeed in this atmosphere."
"As an experience advisor that has spent time working with a large firm, a small independent firm and being self-employed, I have worked on pretty much every pay structure possible for our profession. At the point that I am at in my career with an aging family and grandchildren on the way, a salary plus bonus structure is what I'm seeking during my job search. From what I understand about this position, the compensation you are offering falls within those parameters. Are you able to expand on the bonus structure so I have a better understanding of how it works?"
As a professional in the financial services industry, you must have great integrity. Do you consider yourself an honest and trustworthy person?
Due to the sensitivity of our business, in order to work for Lazard, you must be able to pass a criminal background check. Are you willing to comply?
We want our advising team at Lazard to be happy and healthy. How do you manage the day to day stress of being a financial advisor?
Lazard strives for client loyalty to keep us running strong into the future. What do you feel are the keys to retaining clients for the long haul?
How would you define what working capital is for a company and what does its measurement mean?
There will be great days at Lazard and some days that are tougher to get through. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
In your experience as a Financial Analyst, what do you feel is the best metric to gauge a company's future stock performance?
If I were to hand you $100,000 to invest today, where would you put that money and why?
Take a couple of minutes to sell this notepad to me.
Give an example of a time that you had to resolve a difficult situation with a client or customer. What were the keys to coming to a successful solution?
What is the most attractive thing in your eyes about this role with Lazard?
If hired for this role at Lazard, I want to be sure that I'm hiring a motivated individual. What motivates you in your daily work and your career?
Give me an example of a time that you had to solve a problem without having all of the necessary information at hand to do so. How did you handle that situation?