In no particular order, here are our top ten tips for making a great impression during our interview process.
Don’t be late – arrive at our offices in plenty of time or if we are meeting you virtually, log-in five to ten minutes before the interview start time. Test the meeting link in advance to make sure it works on your computer.
Do your research on Baillie Gifford. We’re keen to find out what you know about the firm, the position and what interesting things come up in your research. Don’t just repeat our own website back to us. Use what you’ve learned to show us you’re interested in the firm and what we do (but this doesn’t mean you need to be an expert in investment management!).
Take your time when answering questions and don’t feel like you need to jump in. Interviews can be nerve-racking, and we appreciate that. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to re-phrase a question if you don’t understand what they’re asking. If you don’t have an immediate answer, it’s okay to take a moment to think about it.
Feel free to talk about all of the experiences that demonstrate your skillset, interests or opinions. These could be from your academic studies, voluntary roles, part-time jobs or just your general interests and passions. These things will often spark more interesting discussions in an interview.
Don’t forget the ‘what’ – when giving your examples. What have you gained from your experiences? What skills did you develop? What did you learn? What would you do differently?
Remember you’re applying for a training programme and we don’t expect you to know or have done everything. We’re really looking for the potential in you, so if you don’t know something, don’t worry – be honest.
Remember your body language is important – although it can feel awkward, things like good eye contact can help build a relationship with the interviewers.
Sometimes we will ask you unexpected or abstract questions that have no connection to Baillie Gifford or investment management. Don’t worry about preparing for these in advance as there is often no right answer - we are more interested in how you formulate a response. It’s an opportunity to show us your thinking on matters outside of our industry, and we’re keen to hear what you enjoy talking about.
Even if you’ve found out a lot of information through your own research, have some good questions prepared for your formal interview and informal team sessions. We’re looking for curious individuals and by asking us questions you’re giving us an insight into how interested you are in the position and the firm.
Finally, be yourself and show us your individuality. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not or what you think we are looking for. We’re genuinely interested in hearing about you, what you enjoy doing and what’s important to you.
Edinburgh Napier University, MSc Human Resource Management
I’m the Talent Attraction Specialist. This means I’m responsible for managing the Early Careers marketing campaign. My role involves designing and delivering on the attraction strategy, planning our approach to the campaign and working with the team to ensure we attract the right candidates.
There have been lots of highlights; however, one stands out. I was responsible for launching our Modern Apprenticeship programme, which provides young people with an alternative route into the firm. This has been really rewarding, as we are shaping the future talent pipeline of the firm. I like being part of a team that’s giving young people opportunities. I’ve also really enjoyed meeting lots of different people from diverse backgrounds and walks of life.
Genuine curiosity. We want people who will challenge the status quo, who think about things and question everything. Resilience is also a key skill. We don’t expect you to know everything at the start, and you’ll get things wrong – but it’s how you deal with it that’s important. Collaboration and working together to share ideas are also vital, regardless of your role within the firm.
Be yourself! You’re treated as an individual throughout the whole process because we want to get to know you as a person. Ask lots of questions because finding out if we’re the right fit for you is just as important as us assessing your suitability for Baillie Gifford.
University of Aberdeen, Law & Spanish Law LLB. Manchester Metropolitan, MSc International Human Resource Management
I’m one of the consultants in our Early Careers team. I look after two of our graduate programmes, Business Operations and Accountancy, and our Modern Apprenticeships. With Accountancy, I was involved in launching the new programme in 2019 by looking at ways we could attract students interested in becoming qualified accountants, but not necessarily within one of the Big 4. Within Business Operations, I’ve been involved in re-designing the programme content – creating a more comprehensive training framework and opportunities for our graduate trainees to spend time in our international offices.
Collaboration is so important at Baillie Gifford. You have to be willing to work with others and take on other perspectives no matter your role. Good teamwork is something that we look for in all our candidates, to differing degrees. It sounds like a cliché, but sharing ideas is the key to our success. We need people who are curious – that have a growth mindset and want to develop continually.
There’s a paternalistic approach here, which probably stems from the partnership structure. But, whether it’s the continued career development opportunities or giving back through volunteering days – you always feel supported. The firm is constantly striving to do the right thing, and it makes you proud to work here.
Since returning from my second parental leave in January 2021, the company has been great. They really understand the pressures of balancing work and a young family. I’ve been able to alter my working hours to suit my caring responsibilities, and the firm also offered the services of a dedicated maternity coach. There’s no expectation of long working hours, making it easier for everyone to have a work/life balance.
Edinburgh Napier University, Psychology
I’m the Early Careers Consultant for all the Technology Solutions programmes, including the graduate programme and summer placements for the Application Development and Technical Infrastructure. I also look after the Business Operations Summer Placement opportunities. Working with the graduate managers and business stakeholders, I help plan recruitment, organise the recruitment process and establish screening criteria. I’m then involved through the application process and manage the communications with the new graduates – from their initial offer, to joining the firm.
It has to be launching the virtual summer placement programme during the pandemic. I found it really rewarding to still give our interns an opportunity in such uncertain times. From the start of lockdown, we only had a few months to decide if we could deliver an internship, how this would work and what content it would include. We overcame these challenges to successfully deliver a four-week virtual placement packed with structured training. I enjoyed seeing how all the interns grew in confidence, even during this shorter timeframe.
Just be yourself. We want to hear about everything you’ve done for work or a hobby that you’re really passionate about, even if you don’t think it is relevant to the job. Remember, you’re applying for a training programme, so we’re looking for potential. We don’t expect you to be the finished article and to know everything right now.
It’s a great place to learn. Everyone brings something different to the table and, no matter how long you’ve been with the firm, people will always listen and respect what you have to say. Each programme offers the chance to rotate around different teams, so you get a broader perspective of your team and the firm.
BG: No psychometric tests. No game based assessments. We want to find out more about you and your individuality.
Me: I want an honest, straightforward interview process where I can show my real self and have a conversation with my potential future colleagues.