Interviewing
at Jane Street

We get questions all the time about what it’s like to interview at Jane Street. Here’s what to expect before, during, and after the interview process.

Process Overview

As with any interview process, our goal is to get a better understanding of your current skill set, as well as your ability to think, learn, and communicate. We’ll try our best to ask interesting, challenging questions during the interview, and to focus on collaborative problem solving to get a sense of working with you.

When we assess applicants we do so for one role at a time, while also considering all our open roles to try and determine a fit within Jane Street. Given this, it’s not uncommon for candidates to interview for more than one position over the course of the process. Throughout an interview process for a particular role, you’ll have one recruiter from start to finish - this person will manage your interview experience. They’ll review your application, coordinate your interview schedule(s), and book travel and accommodations if you end up interviewing onsite in one of our offices.

Interviewing is a two-sided process. We’re trying to understand what it’s like to work with you, but you should also be learning about us, and trying to decide if you’d like to work at Jane Street. It should feel interactive; please use this time to ask questions, get to know us, and try to understand how things work here.

While some roles follow a more bespoke interview process, most of our interviews at Jane Street are relatively standardized. If you are interviewing for one of the groups below, here’s a bit more about the structure your interview will likely follow. Keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for candidates to be considered for more than one role, so your own experience may be a blend of a few of the processes described below.

Preparing for Your Interview

Every role is different and your recruiter is the best resource for finding out how you should prepare. That said, below is advice for some of our most common roles.

Quantitative Trading

At Jane Street, successful traders have a strong quantitative mind and enjoy working collaboratively to solve challenging problems. In addition, most of our traders had little to no experience with finance or economics before they started. As a result, in our interview process we do not look to test your knowledge of finance or economics. Instead, we use our interviews to get a sense for your quantitative problem-solving skills and what it’s like to work together with you on a challenging problem.

Typically, the interview process for trading candidates involves a few phone interviews and then an on-site interview in one of our offices. In these interviews, you and your interviewer will work through one or more problems which touch on some of the concepts we often encounter as quantitative traders. This is by no means a perfect simulation of what it’s like to be a trader, but we think this is the closest that we can get in an interview setting.

We’ve put together a Probability and Markets Guide which covers many of the core concepts you may encounter in our interviews. If you haven’t been exposed to some of these things before, that is fine – we interview candidates from many different backgrounds. That said, most successful interview candidates are generally familiar with the concepts in our guide by the time they begin the interview process.

Quantitative Research

The work that researchers do overlaps both trading and software engineering, so the interview process resembles a mixture of the two. Reading over our notes on both processes above would be good preparation for a quantitative research interview. The process is subsequently a little longer than for trading or software engineering, with 2-3 phone interviews before an onsite interview (though with less of an emphasis on real-time decision making than you might see in a trading interview).

Software Engineering

We’re always seeking curious and disciplined engineers, both at the university level as well as those with years of experience. Throughout the interview process for a software engineer role, our primary goal is to get a feel of what it’s like to work with you. This means talking through approaches to the problems presented, working with you to write clear and concise code, and finding room for improvement over the course of solving the question at hand.

We strongly encourage you to bring your own computer to your onsite and to use the language you know best. We have preferred editors, setups, and of course a programming language of choice at Jane Street, but we find we best learn how you can perform and grow as an engineer when you use your favorite tools.

You can read more on our tech blog about what an engineering interview is like, as well as what we’re looking for in new hires.

Business Development / Rotational Development Program (RDP)

The Business Development internship and the Rotational Development Program (RDP) are closely related—when hired as full-time employees, business development interns join the RDP. This page describes the role and what types of projects you might work on as an intern or a full time employee in these groups.

We’re looking for analytical, curious problem solvers who can help us make our existing processes more efficient and tackle new challenges that we haven’t thought about before. The people we hire have a wide range of majors, including electrical engineering, government, economics, math, literature, and computer science. We don’t require any specific technical experience, though we do look for candidates who show an aptitude for either writing or learning to write code.

As with our other interview processes, the goal is to understand what it’s like to work with you. Our specific process is a combination of a take-home case study, a phone interview, and a final round of onsite interviews. There are more details on interviewing with this group in this guide.

FAQs

Applying

Do I need a degree to work at JS? Do you take undergrads? Do I need a PhD? Do you only interview students from certain universities or specific majors/concentrations? Do you interview students in all years? Do you look at GPA?

Wow, that’s a lot of questions. TL;DR: we interview as many people from as many places as possible. The longer answer: in a perfect world, we would love to interview everyone who applies, but we’re not a huge firm, so we can’t do that. We do try to interview as many people as we can. We don’t have a GPA or degree requirement, and we do hire students of all tenures from many different universities and concentrations. We had over 70 universities represented in last year’s global internship program.

Do I need a cover letter?

Nope! If there’s something you think we should know about that doesn’t fit nicely onto your resume/CV, feel free to include it in the text box at the bottom of our application. If not, feel free to leave this blank.

Do I need a background in finance?

Nope! But those with previous finance experience are of course welcome to apply.

Can I schedule a phone call or coffee to get some additional information about Jane Street?

We get a lot of requests like this. If we said yes to all of them, we wouldn’t have time to do our actual work. So unfortunately, no. Plus, most of us are already appropriately caffeinated.

What kind of hours will I be working?

Depending on your role and which office you’re in, this might vary a bit, but we work hard to provide a reasonable work/life balance. Most nights, things are pretty empty by about 6:30 PM.

Jane Street is also a place that respects people’s time outside of the office. People here work incredibly hard during the day, but when they go home, they have the freedom to disconnect from work and focus on the rest of their lives.

Will you consider international candidates, and will you sponsor a visa if needed?

This changes from office to office, and depending on the role. Check with your recruiter if you’re not sure whether we’ll sponsor for the position you’re considering.

Can I apply for multiple roles/offices?

When we receive an application, we consider it for all open roles globally. From there, we’ll try to eliminate roles that don’t seem like a great fit, and help you find the right home. It’s not uncommon for candidates to be considered for more than one team over the course of their interview process. Our goal is to help you figure out which role could be right for you.

When is the deadline to apply?

We don’t technically have one; our applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. We do recommend applying as soon as possible, though.

What should I do if I already have offers or exploding deadlines?

Tell us! We can often work with you to expedite your interview process so that you know what all your options are and can make an informed decision.

During the Interview Process

Who will I meet with during the interview process? How long is the interview process? How many rounds of interviews are there? What kinds of questions will I be asked?

For any interview processes not outlined above, it can be a bit more bespoke; in those cases, your recruiter can give you more information about what to expect.

Do I need to be able to code in OCaml before my interview?

Nope! You can interview in whichever language you know best, and in fact, we strongly encourage you not to try OCaml for the first time during the interview. Most of the software engineers we hire come in without any OCaml or even functional programming experience.

What are your interview hours? Do you interview on the weekend?

We don’t interview on the weekends (see the earlier point about work/life balance), but we are happy to talk to you during local business hours from Monday - Friday.

For phone interviews, will someone call me? Can we use Skype/WhatsApp/Facetime/Google Hangouts instead?

If we’re speaking to you on the phone, you should wait for our call. If you know you’ll have a poor connection or won’t have access to a phone, please let us know ahead of time, and we’ll coordinate your interview via WebEx or Skype.

Will my flights and accommodations to/from interviews be covered?

Yep! We’ll book everything for you and take care of your travel and hotel costs.

What should I wear to my interview?

We’re a casual office, so many of us wear jeans and a t-shirt most days. If you’re coming from your current job, we understand you might be dressed a bit more formally. Either way, we won’t judge.

What do I do if I show up early?

If it’s 10-15 minutes ahead of your scheduled interview time, feel free to come to the office and get settled in. If you’re way ahead of schedule, you might want to consider grabbing a coffee nearby.

I’ve heard things about your interview process. Are they true?

There is a lot of information on the internet—some true, some not. Don’t believe everything you read. If you’re curious about something you’ve heard, ask us about it! We’re here to help.

Post-Interview

When can I expect to hear back from you after my interviews?

You should hear back from us within a week. We will follow up with you whether or not we’re moving forward with the process (no one likes to be left hanging), so if you haven’t heard by then, please follow up with your recruiter!

Can I reinterview if I was rejected? How long do I have to wait before I can reapply?

You can absolutely reinterview if it didn’t work out the first time. Plenty of people who currently work at Jane Street didn’t make it through our interview process their first time around. We usually recommend waiting to reapply for at least a year (in the case of current students), or until your experience or circumstances have significantly changed (in the case of experienced hires). This is not a hard and fast rule, but we think it’s a reasonable guideline.

If all goes well…

Let’s hope that all of this works out, and we decide to make you an offer. Congrats! This is the best part… but you might still have some questions.

When can I start?

We can’t wait for you to join, either. We’ll need to run some standard background checks and confirm your start date with your team. Hopefully the wait won’t be too long.