Friday, September 4, 2009

Do You Have What It Takes To Be a High Frequency Trader?

In a story on high frequency trader, Optiver, NYT reports:

...[trader] applicants need to subject themselves to three math-based tests to test facility with numbers and the ability to think clearly under pressure. For one of the tests, 80 questions must be answered in under 8 minutes. Sample questions include 0.034 times 0.2, or, if you have a cube made of 10 by 10 smaller cubes, how many are facing the outside?

Few of the applicants even get an interview: 80 to 90 percent of people who take the test fail it. People who have worked at Optiver say the average age is young — under 30 — as the company has a policy of not hiring traders from rival institutions, preferring recent university graduates who can more easily embrace the firm’s culture.

Of course, if you can handle the equations, the perks seem to advance beyond what even Google provides. NYT again:
The dress code is aggressively casual. The company provides free breakfasts, lunches and Friday afternoon drinks, as well as chair massages.

And in one recruiting Web video (no longer online), an Optiver trader sitting before four giant trading screens is seen ogling two skimpily clad women as they sit on his thighs.

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