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How to Get a Job in the Finance Sector During a Recession

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One investment company actively hiring explains what it takes to get a job.

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While some job seekers have bypassed the financial sector during these hard economic times, there are opportunities out there for the right candidates, according to co-founder and CEO Hardeep Walia of Motif Investing which employs an index-diversified approach to investing (versus trying to pick stocks).

Walia should know since Motif is actively seeking to fill positions at a variety of experience levels including a Controller, a Quantitative Researcher; and a Research Analyst.

"I don't think anyone can predict the market," he said. "We're in quite turbulent times. I don't think we've ever had as much uncertainty, where even the pros are so far apart on their reads. I don't think anyone has a good sense of where we're going to be."

That said, Walia noted that 16 of the 30 stocks in the Dow started in a recession including Microsoft (MSFT) and FedEx (FDX). "A lot of great innovation comes in (during a recession) and I think it's because you focus on a model where you are not betting on hope. You're looking at a real, tangible world out there. I think you see great sources of innovation come out of these tough times, and I think it is because we have always come out of recessions. But I am an optimist on the market side. I do believe in what this country has to offer. You can't help but be optimistic."

Not surprisingly, Walia looks for candidates that have a similar mindset. "I believe in people who are themselves," said Walia. "I think a lot of people try too hard to sell. We look for people, honestly, who don't know it all."

Walia said Motif Investing's culture is one of "very capable people who don't necessarily know every answer, but boy they will put every drop of sweat into figuring out the answer very quickly."

"And we've got the right combination of experience in people who have done this before," said Walia. "But we've maintained a hunger to learn, because what we do is very different -- it's about learning from the experience, but also keeping the hunger to make sure we're applying that experience appropriately and not just blindly applying it but really rethinking the model as we go through everything. And that's what we look for -- a hunger to learn, a hunger to apply what you've learned, in a different way."

Further, Walia said that Motif Investing looks for someone who has an interest in the market. "I think it's someone who understands the fundamentals, who understands how indexes work," he said. "People come at it from many different ways, from different perspectives. There's no set job requirement."

When it comes to getting a job, Walia stressed the importance of standing out from the crowd. "A lot of resumes start to look the same," he said. "I think you've gotta tell a story about why you're different. I think people resonate with, 'This is how I'm different from all the other candidates out there.' I don't think enough people put enough focus on their unique skills versus the skills that a lot of other people have."

But it's not just about being original. It's about persistence. "We've hired people who we said no to the first time, but it was their ability to be persistent and convince us" that got them the job, Walia explained. He further stressed his recommendation that job seekers be themselves during the job hunting process.

"Interviews are kind of a funny process," Walia added. "You have an hour to communicate a lot of things, and a lot of important decisions get made in an interview, especially a first interview, where you're not getting into as much depth. But people are sizing up, so the ability to communicate is important."

Walia looks for specific personality triats like self confidence and orginality because he knows no one is a good stock picker. "Not even the professionals are good at picking stocks."

Twitter: @StreetID

This article originally appeared on StreetID.
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