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At first you might think it was because you screwed up your technicals. Then maybe after writing your story on here, the folks will tell you it was because you didn’t do a very good job with the brain teasers. Later some asshat might take it upon himself to inform you it was because you wore a blue shirt with an orange tie instead of a white shirt with a red tie.

And while those reasons all might have had something to do with it, none of them were the ultimate reason why you didn’t make the cut.

The reason you were dinged boils down to confidence. Specifically that you weren’t confident enough.

It’s not enough to download all the interview guides and memorize the answers backwards and forwards. It’s not enough to have simply completed an internship or two. You need to know the business inside and out. You need to live, eat, sleep, and drink it.

How do you do this? For starters, don’t just do what you are told. Push the limits. If you’re an intern, bite off a little more than you can chew. Yeah you might be worked close to death, but you’ll learn a ton in the process. If you’re not fortunate enough to have internship, then start building your own merger models. There was a guy in the equity research forum a while back trying to write his own full report, and I have mad respect for that. This guy gets it; the best way to truly understand something is by making it yourself from scratch.

Do everything you can to learn everything about the business. If you take this advice to heart and really get it inside and out, the full-time interview will be just a formality. You’ve already seen and done enough to know that answering questions about an oversimplified DCF model can’t faze you.

When you’re confident you can’t help but show it. Who cares what color suit you’re wearing or if you used the right font on your resume? Of course you’ll still be a little nervous going in to the interview, but there’s a difference between the standard jitters and a lack of confidence. If it turns out you don’t get the job, fuck it. On to the next one. Remember: you want this job, you don’t need it.

A word of caution though: always be mindful not to stray into the land of overconfidence. You’re still a child and have nothing on the years of experience the guy sitting across the table from you has. Don’t try to prove him wrong about some insignificant point or any other crap. You ought to be smart enough to know where the line in the sand is.

In order for others to believe in you, you must first believe in yourself. So pick up your skirt, grab your balls, and let’s go make some money.

See a similar discussion: Didn't get the job? How to survive rejection

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Comments (25)

  • backtofront's picture

    well said - totally agree here. only thing that can separate you and everyone else interviewing for that exact same position is how well you are prepared for the interview (confidence)

  • JPMortgage's picture

    Great advice. I'll add that your entrance into the office is important too (mostly talking about smaller firms). Open that door looking happy, like you just got your first blowjob. Be really polite to the lady at the front desk. If the person you're interviewing with is busy and you have to wait for a few minutes, ask her how her day has been. Connect with her. Notice something on her desk and start a conversation about it. When the interviewer walks in to greet you he will see you get along well with people. If you are instructed to walk into his office, walk in confident. Confident stride, strong handshake, ask him how hes doing, make a joke about something if it's appropriate. Like the OP said, overconfidence will hurt you. Don't over do it.

    Read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. The people skills taught in that book will change the way you deal with people. One of my favorite books.

    "If it were easy, everyone would do it"

  • sk8247365's picture

    I interviewed at WFS for IBD awhile back. The night before I had a 45 min call with the associate as a pre-network thing. Everything was going well; we hit it off relatively well. Given my weird midwest location, everyone else had flown in and was from HPY. I was the only one from my state and went to the worse state school here. Still, I had made it this far.

    I had to do the interview over lunch since I still had a job. I did not know if they would bring it in so I ate before in the parking lot in my car. They brought in lunch and I only had a couple bites. The girl taking notes did not eat and neither did someone else (obviously they were not important since I cannot even remember their face). One kid, a lateral from IBD in NY, chowed down.

    I am not saying I did not get the offer because of this, but some of the feedback was to "not be nervous, you know, eat your lunch and stuff." The lateral, for likely many reasons, got the offer.

    Take every chance you can to make yourself look like a good fit, and that means being confident/less nervous.

  • lasampdoria's picture

    Great post. Confidence is everything.

    I got a CF SA this past summer simply by being confident. Other candidates were from public ivys (I am not)

    But one has to be careful, for you do not want to come off as arrogant.
    .

    JimmyLee gives great advice. For us non-target kids, confidence can land us the offers.
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-Pe...

    "Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

  • asiamoney's picture

    Confidence... but luck also plays a huge factor.

  • In reply to lasampdoria
    INR's picture

    lasampdoria wrote:

    But one has to be careful, for you do not want to come off as arrogant.

    Completely agree. Especially with the night before networking events. You should be comfortable, but not too comfortable that you come off as over-confident, over-eager or simply arrogant and think you have the job the next day.

  • In reply to JPMortgage
    zacharydavid's picture

    JimmyLee wrote:

    Read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. The people skills taught in that book will change the way you deal with people. One of my favorite books.

    This is a great book to read so that you know who in the room are the complete tools. It's kind of like learning statistics so that you know when someone is feeding you bullshit.

  • In reply to Bob123321
    SirTradesaLot's picture

    Bob123321 wrote:
    I was dinged because of the Color of my Skin . That is all.

    What makes you so confident that this is the reason?

    adapt or die wrote:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • couchy's picture

    I feel like the biggest reason should be fit - its easy to nail the technicals and be confident if you've prepared enough. It's hard to interview with a guy who can actually relate to you.

    But I study pure math at a non-target so I'm kind of expecting not being able to share the same interests with my interviewers.

  • BatMasterson's picture

    I don't think the confidence argument holds a lot of water. I'm sure that if you could quantify you'd find out say, out of 10 semi-finalists selected, at least 6 of them had very high, comparable "levels of confidence". So who made the cut had a "gradient" other than that.

    Fit-niet. Same as above. At least a couple of the finalists had it at similar levels.

    "I like money (as do most females) but love is...great :)"-student
    "Perhaps you've failed to take into account my hidden assets"-007
    Storm: Orig Mix

  • analyst1609's picture

    Love it! Solid post. Definitely makes you want to push the limits. Fuck yeah!
    Aside: Just you watch all you recruiters and interviewers next time you're talking with me. You bet your ass I'm getting the Job!

    No contract means I have all the power. They want me, but they can't have me. - Don Draper

  • In reply to Bob123321
    Finametrics's picture

    Bob123321 wrote:
    I was dinged because of the Color of my Skin . That is all.

    LOL. Not easy being a bbbllyaaak man in a white man's world. You be iite brah.

  • midtowngal's picture

    what about this? a good looking chick interviewing another good looking chick? My strategy would always be playing nerd, socially awkward and trying to drip sweat so to make her think I'm far from a threat.

    I'm feeling like a star, you can't stop my shine---Ridin' Solo

  • In reply to midtowngal
    BatMasterson's picture

    midtowngal wrote:
    what about this? a good looking chick interviewing another good looking chick? My strategy would always be playing nerd, socially awkward and trying to drip sweat so to make her think I'm far from a threat.

    The situation above has noting to do with "confidence" but clearly playing/dissimulating the lack of it. If you win, then confidence is not a trait worth having. More like lying.

    "I like money (as do most females) but love is...great :)"-student
    "Perhaps you've failed to take into account my hidden assets"-007
    Storm: Orig Mix

  • snakeplissken's picture

    and sometimes, you just suck.
    you know the company inside and out, but you just really fuckin suck.
    i know a guy like this.
    you know a guy like this.
    everyone knows someone like this.
    ...and they're unemployed

    Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
    Oh, you mean I can't count on you?
    No.
    Good!

  • In reply to snakeplissken
    tangent style's picture

    snakeplissken wrote:
    and sometimes, you just suck.
    you know the company inside and out, but you just really fuckin suck.
    i know a guy like this.
    you know a guy like this.
    everyone knows someone like this.
    ...and they're unemployed

    True.

    "Do not go gentle into that good night"

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  • spinach251's picture