North Star’s Interview Process Through an Intern’s Point of View

North Star’s interview process is shown on our website; however, sometimes you never really know what to expect walking into an interview. This post focuses on giving you an inside look at our intern and training program selection process. Interns and new full-time advisors tell you how they applied, what their first, second and third interview was and their overall thoughts on the process as a whole.

Ziesemer-Jette-2017.jpgJette Ziesemer

Branch: Brainerd, MN
Finance and Financial Planning
School: University of Minnesota Duluth

Well, my interview process was a little unorthodox compared to a lot of the other interns. I had done a firm visit at North Star with the UMD Financial Planning Club last year. That was the first time I had ever heard about North Star.

I enjoyed meeting with everyone and liked the atmosphere. I got talking to [North Star executive vice president] Gary Schwartz, who had mentioned that there was a financial advisor in the Brainerd area (where I am from).

Long story short, a year later I emailed Craig Walters—the advisor in Brainerd—and asked if he had an internship position available. 

My first-interview was in person with Craig Walters. It was more just getting to know each other and learn about my background and future career goals and if I really wanted to be a financial advisor.

For my second interview, I was then contacted by the all-star Mitch Zimmer, national director of recruiting, for a phone interview. We talked about North Star's work environment and what the company really stood for. We talked about what it meant to be a financial advisor and the benefits and risks this profession entails. 

My third interview was over the phone with the legend Tony Ross, national director of professional development and new advisor liaison. He asked me a little more hard-hitting questions like, "Why do you think you can be successful in this career?" He asked some other questions like, "How would you feel if you were rejected 10 times in a row?" and "How would you persevere?"

Tony made it clear that if you don't work hard, you won't make it in this industry. Keep in mind that Tony is a great guy who is very respectful, but he doesn't beat around the bush, which is the kind of person I respect and enjoy talking to. The interview went well, and I advanced to the final step in the interview process.

My final interview was in-person with Craig Walters, where I presented my 35-page business plan and talked about the profession and future goals more extensively. Needless to say, everything went well, and now here I am.

The overall process was pretty smooth thanks to Mitch Zimmer who coordinated everything even in a time crunch because I had started this process a lot later than the rest of the interns. Everyone I interviewed with was enjoyable to talk to and get to know. It is a more difficult and extensive interview process than other jobs I have applied for over the years, but if you are truly serious about learning about this career, the extensive process and hard work putting together your marketing plan is completely worth it!

Bunch-Amanda-2017.jpgAmanda Bunch

Branch: Austin, TX
Finance and Real Estate
School: Florida State University

My selection process was definitely not traditional by any means. I was recruited by the talent acquisition coordinator whom I also went to school with. She simply asked if I was interested in interning for the company she worked for, and after she gave me a brief overview of the position, it sounded like a really good fit.

I set up an interview with Davin Bell, associate Partner, for the next week. Before her contact, I had not heard of North Star, but did have some knowledge of the financial advising industry.

My first interview was in the office with Davin Bell, but as I showed up early, I was interviewed by one of the other financial advisors in the firm, Kelly Hugghins, before meeting with Davin. What I thought was really interesting about these interviews is how the conversation flowed so naturally as if I had known them for a long time.

Most of the questions were based on my vision, such as, “What is something that interests you about financial advising?” The questions were much less focused on my last job or a time I overcame something like most job interviews. This one was very different; all of the conversation was about the future of financial advising and my place/role in it all.

Something that really intrigued me that Davin addressed was how North Star is independent and not owned by insurance companies or banks, which makes it truly client-first and honest.

The bulk of the conversation/interview was about the vision, the WHYs and the entire reason and motivation behind financial advising at North Star. I completely bought in on the WHY, and I think that was the underlying goal of the interview for each side. After the interviews, I felt as if I already knew them both so well, and on a more personal basis than a distant boss just firing through typical interview questions.


Daniel Demeritt

Branch: Boston, MA
School: Johnson and Wales University

I spoke to Mr. Ed Deutschlander, CEO, and was informed about the company. The initial conversation was face-to-face with Mr. Ed Deutschlander. I was excited but really didn’t know much. I loved what Ed had to say and how he was able to grasp my attention with his mindset. It was unbelievable, so I decided to give it a shot.

The first interview was over the phone with Mitch Zimmer. He asked questions about how I found out about North Star, why I was interested in North Star and what I looked to gain from the experience. I thought it went well. To be honest, I really wasn’t set on interning until I convinced myself that this was an outstanding opportunity. I was going to be content either way.

The second interview was also over the phone, except with Jordan Goehring, talent acquisition specialist. The questions were more personal: The why and what I was looking to do in order to further my career. Jordan does an amazing job relating to whomever he is speaking with. I have the utmost respect for him.

Craig Molldrem, senior partner, was the third interview. This interview was done via Skype. Craig didn’t really ask questions. He more so gave me a rundown of the business and used my reactions to judge whether or not I would be a good candidate. This was tougher. At this stage in the interview process, I realized this was what I wanted to do. I thought for sure I would not make it past Craig’s interview and yet here I am! 

I think the process was good. First, the national director of recruiting comes in, then the talent acquisition specialist, and then the mentor of the branch at which you would be working. Great set up. I really am beyond grateful to meet the people I have and am lucky to be on the receiving end of their wisdom. I’ve loved every second of the internship thus far and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Rhodes-Hailee-2017.jpgHailee Rhodes

Branch: Houston, TX
Business Administration
Minor: Computer Information Systems
School: Northwestern State University

I applied after someone reached out to me through LinkedIn and introduced me to North Star. My initial phone conversation was with Jordan Goehring, and it was honestly very casual. He was very friendly and comfortable to talk to. He asked me things about what I do and what I enjoy, etc.

My first interview was with Jean Beagle months later after a few more calls and tests with Jordan. We had a video conference, and it again was very laidback and casual. It was more of a getting-to-know-you type of interview, and she was very easy to talk to. I enjoyed getting to speak with her, and after a few minutes on the web conference, I wasn’t nervous at all.

My second interview was with Laura Vaughn, and we honestly talked about dogs for a good 10 minutes. She answered all of my questions and again was very easy to talk to and made me feel very comfortable. I could tell there was a family atmosphere by Jean’s and Laura’s personalities, and I was very hopeful to become a part of it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this interview process because I could just be myself and didn’t have to be so uptight. It made it very easy to explain my thoughts on their processes and North Star’s mission statement and values and how I appreciated and aspired to be a part of it.


Brandon Archuleta

Branch: Dallas, TX
Major: Personal Financial Planning
School: Texas Tech University

I got recruited from the Texas Tech PFP program and applied for the job. The first conversation I had was with Jordan Goehring, and he talked about how the interviewing process was going to work. What got my attention was how much time he spent to get to know me

My first interview was with Mark Miller, financial advisor, and it was over video. I asked a lot of questions about the company and felt I did well. I was surprised about how many questions Mr. Miller asked about me personally and my values, and I enjoyed that he wanted to know about me personally.

My second interview was with Mr. Miller again. We talked more about what the internship looks like, and I talked about what I liked about North Star and why I wanted to work here. 

My final interview was with Mr. Miller again, and I spent a lot of time learning about him and his values and why North Star worked so well for him. I enjoyed learning about him and thought the interview was not too difficult.

Thoughts on the process overall: I personally think that it is a good interview process and I really enjoyed that North Star took the time to get to know me on a personal level. It is a long interview process, and I had to take multiple questionnaires and quizzes and write some papers. Although the process takes a little while, it is because North Star wants to learn a lot about you personally, and I value that a lot. 

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RNR/DOFU 8-2017

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