A Few Hedge Fund Interview Stories (Including Meth and Stock Fraud)

I was joking with a friend the other day about some of our funnier interview stories (I’m not going to even get into work stories, just interviews).  Our investment management industry has a tendency to attract quite a few characters, as well as quite a few bastards and aholes.  

I’ve probably taken one of the windy-iest routes to running an investment management firm out there, but I thought I would share a few stories to give a little color to how strange (and funny) our world can be.  But also to show that sometimes, channeling a little Garth Brooks, sometimes you give thanks for unanswered interview offers.  These are just a few of the highlights..

-Interviewing in college with a hedge fund from a Myrtle Beach pay phone. Later showed up for interview in NYC realizing I didn’t know the name of the fund just the PMs name.  Learned that hedge funds don’t call to tell you that you didn’t get the job, they just never call you or respond to emails again.  Fund out of business few years later due to poor performance.

-Worked for a biotech fund and went to grad school at night at Hopkins in my year off before “going back to finish PhD”.  Too fascinated with investing world and PhD is (still) on hold.  First day on job got quoted in BusinessWeek as saying “I’ve been studying this stuff for years”.  To this day believe I never said that.  

-Interviewing with Soros funded hedge fund.  Suggested a biotech stock long, suggested my price target,  to which the PM suggested his price target of $0.50.  (I think he was close to correct it got bought for about $1.5).  Didn’t get job.  Both the PM and CFO went to jail for stock fraud for buying up 70% of the float of a few stocks and not disclosing it.

-Interviewed with PM who told me to work in his office for a week while he was gone.  Ran into him while skateboarding in the Presidio on a Flowlab skateboard.  Didn’t get job.  He closed fund a few years later.

-Applied for a sushi chef job in Tahoe and turned down on the spot.

-Interviewed with family office of probably the world’s top hedge fund.  Got asked a poker question and got the pot odds wrong.  Didn’t get job offer as PM said it was clear I wanted to be a CTA (becomes half true later).

-Interviewing with trading shop and probably 25 different people.  Spent all of lunch getting quizzed about my sports arb model at a table of probably 12 people.  After last interview and writing down equations for 30 minutes, two guys asked me what their names were.  No idea.  Didn’t get job.  Company in the news lately with HFT and buying Knight.

-Interviewing with wealth management shop.  Asked what books I had read on the shelf.  I replied all of them (wasn’t trying to humblebrag or be a total jackass but was actually the truth).  PM proceeded to take all the books down from the shelf and quiz me on the contents. Of. Each. One.  Got an offer but declined.

-Interviewing with quant hedge fund.  Talked about how I wanted to climb Aconcagua.  Later heard the PM referred to me with two words: ‘hubris’ and ‘gregarious’.  Didn’t get the job.  Fund involved in quant wreck a few years back.

-Interviewed for a fund where two of the partners are in or going to jail.  One for meth and one for stealing client funds.  

-Interviewed with an investment bank via the CEO finding my resume on Craigslist.  CEO was on Craiglist for the first time ever.  Company is now leading the charge in disrupting the asset management industry by launching actively managed ETFs.

What’s your best story?

A few reader stories below:

After months of trying to say the right thing in job interviews after tech bubble burst, I interviewed with (big name economist).  He asked me about various software like Bloomberg, Factset., etc.I just gave up, and said “they’re all just glorified video games. I’ll figure them out.”  Got the job next day.