BlackRock is a global investment management company based in New York, but with offices all over the globe.
The company was founded in 1988 by eight future-thinking entrepreneurs who wanted to create something special for their clients by combining technology and finance. The company has since grown to become the world's largest asset manager, looking after over $9.5 trillion in 2021.
There is a huge variety of career opportunities at BlackRock whether you want to support the smooth-running of the business through a position in head office, or you think your skills are best suited to working in something more specific such as analysis or engineering.
Describing themselves as sitting at the 'intersection of finance and technology', careers at BlackRock are hard to come by thanks to the incredibly competitive application process, and the sheer volume of people who want to work for such a big name in the industry.
BlackRock Application Process
An aptitude for numbers, an ability to problem solve, and a natural flair for thinking outside the box will serve you well throughout the application process, which includes assessments, aptitude tests and interviews.
You'll have to pass each round to make it onto the next, so you can expect the challenges to increase as you progress.
The BlackRock application process begins with an online application form and cover letter.
The form is designed to find out more about your education, qualifications and experience so recruiters at BlackRock can get an early sense of whether you'd be suitable for the role or programme you're applying to.
This is the first chance you have to make a good impression, so make sure you double check your form before submitting. It needs to be detailed, concise, and accurate, and it's important to remember that you might have to answer questions on the enclosed information at any point throughout the application process.
Virtual Cover Letter
Once you've submitted your application, you'll receive a link from HireVue with instructions on how to set up your virtual cover letter.
The virtual cover letter requires no writing. Instead, you'll be asked to record yourself answering two motivational questions submitted by BlackRock.
You'll only have three minutes to prepare an answer to each question, and then 90 seconds in which to record your answer.
Although time is tight, before you start recording try and think about what BlackRock is looking for, how you can best sell your individual strengths and skills, and how to ensure your application comes across as professional.
Depending on the position or programme you're applying to, you'll be asked to take at least one assessment.
Designed to analyse your speed, problem solving and numerical or verbal reasoning skills, the assessments are a crucial part of the application process and give the recruiters at BlackRock a better understanding of each applicant's individual strengths and skills.
Numerical Reasoning Test
The numerical reasoning test will be set for roles involving day-to-day work with numbers and data.
Typically, you'll have to answer around 20 multiple choice questions. The tight time limit on the test allows for about one minute per question, so it's essential to move through the test at pace but without compromising on accuracy.
The questions will be focused on graphs, percentages, data and tables. You'll need to analyse the information in front of you to select the correct multiple choice answer.
However competent you are at mathematical challenges, it's advisable to prepare beforehand by practicing some numerical reasoning tests and working on any areas you find more difficult.
Numerical reasoning tests offer a fairer and more objective way to progress the right people through to the next round of the application process.
The coding challenge is set for specific roles, such as software engineering, where coding will form a big part of your everyday work.
After submitting your application form, you'll be sent a link by HireVue asking you to complete the coding challenge and virtual cover letter.
Typically, the questions will focus on core data structures and system design, as well as your ability to write and design intuitive algorithms.
You'll be given four days to work through the challenges, which include six coding problems as well as a virtual cover letter and question and answer video (the video must be completed in one sitting). The whole process should take around 90 minutes.
If you are successful in this round, you'll be asked to take part in a first round interview.
First Round Interview
First round interviews are often virtual rather than in-person.
The interview will focus on your responses to behavioural questions, as well as your knowledge of the company values and how well you embody them through examples of your own experience inside and outside of the workplace.
Knowledge and understanding of the BlackRock principles (sometimes referred to as values) is essential for this section of the application process. They are:
- We are a fiduciary to our clients
- We are one BlackRock
- We are passionate about performance
- We take emotional ownership
- We are committed to a better future
And finally, if you're successful in the first round interview you'll be invited to take part in a final interview — an incredible achievement given just how many high calibre applicants there will have been.
The final interview will focus more on your qualifications and your technical skills than the first round interview did. As part of this, you may be asked to take part in a group activity or exercise, or even deliver a presentation or work on a case study.
If you're tasked with a group exercise, remember to try and find a balance between confidently sharing ideas and expertise, as well as ensuring you let others speak and you listen carefully to their ideas.
It can be hard to prepare for this final section as it's so dependent on which elements you're asked to take part in. Having said that, it's always wise to read up on BlackRock and its values and goals, revisit your CV, and brush up on interview techniques to ensure you make a good impression.