Da Vinci traders looking at screens

Acing the Da Vinci Trading Interview


Published March 20th 2024
Last edited April 12th 2024

The Da Vinci Trading Interview Guide


Embarking on the Da Vinci Trading interview process is the first step toward a challenging yet rewarding career in (volatility) trading. This guide is meticulously designed to navigate you through the distinct stages of the interview, providing insights and preparation tips tailored to Da Vinci's unique selection criteria. With Da Vinci's roots tracing back to Optiver, Da Vinci's interview process mirrors its heritage in rigor and depth but is distinct in its focus on the firm's core areas of expertise.

The Da Vinci Trading interview is divided into four main stages, each designed to probe different facets of your capabilities, from numerical agility to strategic thinking and cultural fit. Understanding the structure and expectations of each stage is crucial for effective preparation.

Stage 1: Online Assessment

Numerical Quiz: Your interview journey with Da Vinci Trading begins with the Numerical Quiz, a challenging assessment designed to test your proficiency in mathematical reasoning, quick calculations, and understanding of probabilities. Note that you need to pass this round in order to progress to the next stage, so don't underestimate it's importance.

Preparation Guidance: Our Green Test offers dedicated practice modes tailored to the Da Vinci Numerical Quiz. Practicing using this tool will sharpen your skills effectively and boost your confidence for the real test. It features 18 dynamic questions, emphasizing mental arithmetic, probability, and mathematics. Engaging with this test will not only sharpen your mathematical skills but also familiarize you with the types of questions you can expect, enhancing your speed and accuracy under the pressure of the real test.

Note that this test differs slightly from the usually purely numerical assessments that one undergoes at firms like Optiver and Flow Traders in the sense that it focus on probability and mathematics as well.

Stage 2: HR Interview I

This stage is similar to the Optiver HR interview in structure but is tailored to Da Vinci's context, focusing on motivation, knowledge of volatility trading (Da Vinci's primary revenue source), and basic mental math skills. Key aspects include:

  • Motivation and Company Knowledge: Understand Da Vinci's position in the trading world, especially in volatility trading. Reflect on why you're drawn to Da Vinci and how you align with their mission. Expect questions like: 'Are you a competitive person?' and 'What are your weaknesses?'.
  • Mental Math Questions: Expect to tackle spontaneous math questions such as fractions (5/17), multiplications (23*28), and squares (85^2), testing your numerical fluency.
  • Volatility Trading Insight: Demonstrate your understanding of volatility trading, elaborating on its significance and what it implies for the way in which Da Vinci trades.

After this introductory part, you usually move to a stage where you have to solve one or two brainteasers. Visit our brainteaser database and filter for firm Da Vinci to prepare for this.

  • Make me a Market: In this part of the interview you already start playing a basic version of the 'Make me a Market' game to see whether you understand the basics of trading and market making. To prepare for this, make sure to review our guide on how to play 'Make me a Market'. Note that the version played here is relatively simple and that in the later stages you will play more advanced versions of this game.

The market making game usually marks the end of the interview. The interviewer will also ask if you have any questions for them, so make sure you have some interesting questions prepared.

Stage 3: Technical Interview

The first technical Interview at Da Vinci Trading immerses you directly into a challenging and dynamic assessment environment, with a focus on evaluating your technical knowledge, analytical abilities, and how they align with real-world trading scenarios. This stage is crafted to push your limits and explore your capacity to solve complex problems under pressure.

The interview usually begins with minimal small talk, diving straight into a series of brainteasers. These puzzles are designed to test your logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and ability to navigate complex strategic scenarios. Make sure to practice Numbers Game I, Drawing Chips Game, and Boys and Girls in a Row.

Market Making on Personal Interests
Following the initial brainteasers, the conversation shifts towards your personal interests. This segment aims to understand more about you as an individual and how your passions might intersect with trading strategies. Based on shared interests, such as chess, you might engage in another market making game. For instance, estimating the number of moves in a notable chess match or goals in a certain football match, providing confidence intervals (100%, 75%, 50%) with a specified spread limitation. This market making game is already more advanced then the one you encounter in the HR interview.

Mental Arithmetic
Expect a series of random arithmetic questions throughout the interview. These questions will test your mental agility through basic operations such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication involving two-digit numbers.

Success in this stage requires not just technical knowledge but also the ability to think on your feet, adapt to new information, and maintain clarity under pressure.

Stage 4: Final Round

The culmination of the Da Vinci interview process involves two conversations, oftentimes taking place at their HQ in Amsterdam:

  1. In-depth HR Interview with Founders: A deeper dive into your motivations, alignment with Da Vinci's culture, and understanding of volatility trading. Expect to revisit themes from the first HR interview but with a focus on how you fit within the team and your potential contribution to the firm.
  2. Technical Interview with Head of Research: A session that revisits the technical and analytical challenges of previous stages but introduces new problems or variations on the card games, emphasizing strategic thinking and adaptability.

Closing Advice

Preparing for the Da Vinci Trading interview is a marathon, not a sprint. Dedicate time to understanding the intricacies of volatility trading, refine your mental math skills, and practice strategic games to enhance your analytical prowess. Remember, authenticity and a genuine passion for trading are your best allies throughout the process.

As with any competitive field, the key to success lies in meticulous preparation, self-awareness, and the ability to demonstrate both your technical skills and your alignment with the company's values and culture. Approach each stage of the interview with confidence and curiosity, ready to showcase your unique abilities and how they can contribute to the innovative and dynamic environment at Da Vinci Trading.