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Moderator Note (Andy): Best of WSO - this post originally went up 3/31/2009 and we thought it deserved to go back on the homepage for those who may have never seen it.

How about a thread where we post some of the worst mistakes we've made in interviews, or perhaps an interview that just went REALLY badly for you.

For a Goldman internship back in college, the interviewers asked me to tell them about myself. This was one of my first interviews so I was very inexperienced, and I was pretty nervous. I didn't know where to begin, so I panicked and ended up giving them my life story, from where I was born all the way to college. The rest of the interview was very harsh and they really grilled me on every single thing on my resume. It was more like an interrogation than an interview. It was a typical stress interview, and I ended up finishing it with a headache, and clothes drenched with sweat. I didn't get called back.

Interview Coming Up? Be Prepared.

Comments (160)

  • In reply to harry12
    PaperTrail's picture

    harry12 wrote:
    I just bombed my interview for summer internship at headwaters investment bank. I had 3 interviews but the guy guy who took my technical i was certainly not ready, he asked me what is asset= libalities+? i knw that it is onwer's equity but couldn't think of that at that time
    then my downfall started, he asked how would you value a private company, i said through PE ratio, he said i told u that it is private lolzz
    Then he asked me to rate your MS skills i said excel to be first becoz i knw to break into IB u have to be good in that but certainly that was BS and he asked me few Q's on that i F up
    Haven't heard yet but certainly will get NO

    How did you land an interview in the first place?

  • daemonavn's picture

    This was for a SA Research position at a Hedge Fund, last year.

    After a discussion on increasing globalization, capital flows and Asian countries.
    Director: Have you heard of outsourcing?
    Me: I am from Asia, you bet I have heard of outsourcing.

    Then he proceeds to ask me three questions on outsourcing and related effects, none of which I am able to answer.

    Feedback: Over-confidence.

    My defense- Well i had 'heard' of outsourcing, I hadn't done a PhD in it.. jeez

  • In reply to harry12
    Diesel's picture

    harry12 wrote:
    I just bombed my interview for summer internship at headwaters investment bank. I had 3 interviews but the guy guy who took my technical i was certainly not ready, he asked me what is asset= libalities+? i knw that it is onwer's equity but couldn't think of that at that time
    then my downfall started, he asked how would you value a private company, i said through PE ratio, he said i told u that it is private lolzz
    Then he asked me to rate your MS skills i said excel to be first becoz i knw to break into IB u have to be good in that but certainly that was BS and he asked me few Q's on that i F up
    Haven't heard yet but certainly will get NO

    Headwaters is a sinking ship anyway.

  • bluechimp's picture

    I interviewed for GS Strategies during my sophomore year. Didn't know how did I get it, since I am not a math/coding genius, and didn't really know how to prepare since it was their first time coming on campus.

    I think I coasted through their quant questions just fine -- brainteasers I happen to think the correct way. But I spaced out during the behavioral: "What is your biggest weakness?". Me: "Um.. I think I am a perfectionist". Obviously bullcrap, which I cannot elaborate upon and only fueled the interviewer's appetite for more stupid answers. Him: "How would your friends describe you?". Fuck, I definitely never thought about this. Somewhere along my feeble attempt to squirm through this question I think I mentioned "friendly", and "balanced" -- two traits that surely sealed my fate.

    When I left the building, the interviewer escorted me through the door, gave his business card, shook my hand and said: "We'll see you during next year's interview rounds." And then he closed the door.

  • In reply to harry12
    Devils Advocate's picture

    harry12 wrote:
    I just bombed my interview for summer internship at headwaters investment bank. I had 3 interviews but the guy guy who took my technical i was certainly not ready, he asked me what is asset= libalities+? i knw that it is onwer's equity but couldn't think of that at that time
    then my downfall started, he asked how would you value a private company, i said through PE ratio, he said i told u that it is private lolzz
    Then he asked me to rate your MS skills i said excel to be first becoz i knw to break into IB u have to be good in that but certainly that was BS and he asked me few Q's on that i F up
    Haven't heard yet but certainly will get NO

    Lmao...wtf man?

  • Jay Buhner was sweet's picture

    I had my first superday ever with Merrill S+T. The first 3 interviews, all behavioral, went really well. The fourth was with an MD, and it was all technical. After I got a few easy ones, he gave me a very difficult options question involving rolling hedges, which I had never heard of at the time. Needless to say, I stumbled through the answer, and we ended up spending 20 minutes going over it on a dry erase board in his office.

    The interview ended and I was thoroughly embarrassed. I meekly apologized for my performance, saying "Sorry Ken, I'm just not familiar with some of the terms you used."

    He responded, "Well, my name is Carl, and that's with a C, not a K. Maybe next time you'll at least remember my name."

    End of interview. Didn't get the offer.

  • In reply to Jay Buhner was sweet
    Mainstreet_wallstreet's picture

    Jay Buhner was sweet wrote:
    I had my first superday ever with Merrill S+T. The first 3 interviews, all behavioral, went really well. The fourth was with an MD, and it was all technical. After I got a few easy ones, he gave me a very difficult options question involving rolling hedges, which I had never heard of at the time. Needless to say, I stumbled through the answer, and we ended up spending 20 minutes going over it on a dry erase board in his office.

    The interview ended and I was thoroughly embarrassed. I meekly apologized for my performance, saying "Sorry Ken, I'm just not familiar with some of the terms you used."

    He responded, "Well, my name is Carl, and that's with a C, not a K. Maybe next time you'll at least remember my name."

    End of interview. Didn't get the offer.

    The sick thing about this whole story, is that had you remembered his name and explained to him that you would study harder, you would have prob got the offer. He did take the time to go over it on the board, so right there I think you should have been able to closed. BTW good stuff with the name, made me laugh. It reminded me of one of my interviews with Citi.

  • AlgorithMIT Trader's picture

    I interviewed with a financial data supplier / data base as a business analyst. My interviewer knew absolutely nothing about finance but plenty about databases, so proceeded to ask me databasing questions the entire interview that had nothing to do with the position that I applied for.

    Best example, he asked me to create a relationship logic diagram, which I had no idea what the hell he meant by it. I proceeded to draw an elaborate diagram for about 15 minutes while he watched and smiled as I suffered my way through it. After I was finished, he picked up the pen, drew 3 boxes and 5 lines connecting all the boxes together and told me that was the correct solution.

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