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Everything you need to know about the IMC Interview

Published February 4th 2024
Last edited May 8th 2024

This guide meticulously outlines each stage of the IMC Trading interview process, providing you with an in-depth understanding and strategic advice to navigate the interview with confidence and precision. The interview process at IMC Trading consists of several key stages, each focusing on specific skill sets, knowledge areas, and aspects of your personality and cultural fit.

Stage 1: Online Assessment

The first round of the trading interview process at IMC for the role of Graduate Trader consists of two parts, testing your cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills.
  • Description: This assessment consists of brain-based assessment games that provide insight into your cognitive profiles. It takes 45 minutes and tests your accuracy, strategic use of tools, and speed without compromising precision.
  • Preparation Guidance:
    • Focus on accuracy in Game 1, strategic use of diagonal cannons in Game 2, and speed with precision in Games 3 & 4.
    • Practice the shorter version of these games at NeurOlympics to familiarize yourself with the format and improve your performance.

Although candidates generally find both Neurolympics and this aptitude test relatively straightforward, it's crucial not to underestimate them as passing them is a hard prerequisite for advancing in the interview process. If you don't pass them you'll likely never be able to apply to IMC again.

Stage 2: HR Interview

In the HR interview at IMC, you'll face an evaluation that not only probes your technical skills but also your motivation, cultural fit, and industry understanding. This stage might unfold through an interactive online video format (where you have to record questions that show up on a screen) or a more traditional interview with a recruiter. In either case you should be prepared for a diverse set of questions, especially if you're encountering the traditional interview format.

There are a couple of key points you need to focus on:

  1. Understanding Your Motivation:
  2. Market Knowledge:
    • In the traditional interview, be ready to talk about your awareness of current market trends and core trading concepts. Be prepared to discuss market dynamics or explain trading principles in a clear and informed manner.
  3. Personal Insight:
    • Reflect on your personal journey, strengths, and areas for growth. Anticipate questions about your approach to problem-solving, decision-making, and how you handle challenges.
  4. Behavioral Assessment:
    • Be ready to share examples of teamwork, resilience, and adaptability, showcasing your capability to thrive in IMC’s dynamic trading environment.
  5. Technical and Analytical Acumen:
    • Anticipate brainteasers or analytical queries to demonstrate your quick-thinking, problem-solving skills, and deep understanding of trading concepts.
  6. Industry Acumen:
    • Expect to discuss financial instruments and market strategies, highlighting your familiarity with trading terminologies and concepts.
  7. Alignment with IMC’s Values:
    • Articulate how your traits and professional ethos resonate with IMC’s culture, discussing the qualities that you believe are essential for a successful trader at IMC.

Preparing for this stage means not just understanding IMC's business and the trading landscape but also introspecting on your motivations, strengths, and how you align with the role and company culture. Clear, well-thought-out responses to these key questions will be crucial in this nuanced evaluation process.

Stage 3: Technical Interview

The technical interview at IMC is a pivotal stage that involves a comprehensive assessment of your analytical skills, problem-solving skills, and technical knowledge in trading and market dynamics, often conducted by a (senior) trader and occasionally by a recruiter. This rigorous evaluation not only scrutinizes your understanding of fundamental trading concepts but also your capacity for swift strategic thinking and decision-making under pressure.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the key components of the technical interview:

  1. Analytical Challenges:
    • Brainteasers and Probability Questions: Expect to tackle a mix of brainteasers and probability puzzles designed to assess your analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. Make sure to practice Amsterdam Ferry, Chips on a Table and Plane Tickets.
    • Fermi Questions: Face Fermi questions that test your numerical intuition and estimation abilities, challenging you to methodically articulate your approach and the rationale behind your calculations. Practice questions like Fermi: Piano Tuners, Fermi: Piano Keys or Fermi: Tennis Balls.
    • Preparation: Regular practice with a variety of brainteasers, probability questions, and guesstimates is crucial. Utilize our interview question database and filter for IMC to access relevant practice problems that mirror the interview’s level of difficulty.
  2. Strategic Trading Simulation:
    • Market Making Game: Engage in a simulated market-making scenario to demonstrate your grasp of market dynamics and your strategic agility in trading.
    • Preparation: Deepen your understanding of market making fundamentals. Practice adapting your trading strategy in real-time, responding astutely to buying and selling actions within the simulation.
  3. Technical Knowledge and Real-time Analysis:
    • Deep Understanding of Trading Concepts: Showcase your expertise in specific trading principles such as option theory, market-making, and financial instruments.
    • Real-time Calculation and Market Analysis: Exhibit your ability to conduct rapid calculations, analyze market trends, and make strategic decisions promptly and accurately.
  4. Mental Agility and Numerical Proficiency:
    • Estimation and Precision: Be ready to estimate market-related figures and probabilities, providing confidence intervals to demonstrate your ability to handle uncertainty and make informed decisions.
    • Calculation Speed: Demonstrate your mental calculation speed and accuracy, crucial for real-time decision-making in trading scenarios.

To prepare effectively for this challenging stage, thoroughly practice the types of questions and scenarios outlined above. Relevant practice material for this can be found in our interview question database and applying the firm filter for IMC. 

Final Stage: IMC Superday

The final stage of the interview process is a full Superday at the IMC office. This round includes several distinct elements referred to by IMC as 'stations', each focusing on different aspects of your abilities and personality.

HR Station

  • Description: Before you begin the HR round, you'll be asked to complete a personal questionnaire. This questionnaire will assess various personality traits, providing insights into aspects such as introversion or risk-seeking behavior. The scorecard generated from this questionnaire will help the recruiter tailor questions to your profile, particularly if there are notable deviations in your scores.
  • Preparation Tips:
    • Understand yourself and your personality traits. Practice with questionnaires like this to gain clarity on how you assess yourself.
    • Be prepared to discuss any significant deviations in your scorecard and explain your thoughts and behaviors in various situations.

Trading Station

  • Description: In this station, you will engage in market-making games that assess your understanding of trading principles, especially in equity derivatives and options markets. You may be asked to predict outcomes of events, such as a tennis match, and make a market based on these predictions. The focus will be on your ability to understand and mitigate risk, as well as your capability to recall and justify the quotes you provide.
  • Preparation Tips:
    • Understand the basic principles of option trading and market making.
    • Practice with market-making games and focus on understanding how variability and risk affect your market predictions.
    • Be prepared to logically justify your market positions and to remember and analyze the quotes you provide during the game.

Quantitative Station

  • Description: Accompanied by two (senior) traders, this station involves tackling brainteasers and probability challenges. The focus is on your problem-solving approach, your analytical thought process, and your ability to communicate complex ideas effectively.
  • Preparation Tips:
    • Review and practice a wide range of brainteasers and probability questions. Make sure to study Circle Center, Flip Math and Mom's Spaghetti.
    • Focus on explaining your thought process and reasoning in a clear and structured manner. 
    • Be ready to approach problems both intuitively and quantitatively, demonstrating a balanced skill set.

Lunch or Coffee with Trader

  • Description: This informal conversation with a trader provides insights into the company culture and your potential fit within the team. Oftentimes, this conversation is with one of IMC's Desk Leads, these more senior traders are responsible for managing a team of traders focusing on specific market segments, and they will assess your ability to adapt, your technical knowledge, your alignment with the firm's culture, your motivation and your interest in trading.
  • Preparation Tips:
    • Familiarize yourself with the firm's culture, history, and the specifics of the market segments it operates in.
    • Prepare meaningful questions to ask the desk lead, showing your genuine interest and enthusiasm for the role and the company.
    • Be authentic and relaxed, showcasing your interpersonal skills and your fit within the company culture.

Throughout the final round, it's important to remember that IMC is looking for candidates who not only possess the technical skills and intellect to excel in trading but also the personality and cultural fit to thrive within their unique environment. Approach each station with confidence, clarity, and authenticity, showcasing your skills, character, and passion for trading.

Closing Remarks

The IMC interview process is an opportunity to showcase your technical prowess, problem-solving abilities, and your alignment with the firm's culture and values. It demands thorough preparation, adaptability, and a genuine passion for trading and innovation.

Remember, this journey is not just about securing a job but also about personal growth and understanding if IMC is the right place for you. Each stage of the interview is an opportunity to demonstrate your unique qualities and how you can contribute to the innovative and dynamic culture at IMC.