The last and final chapter to the 3 part UG Recruiting series... theand Offer.
I have 2 hours carved out of my calendar on an already very busy for superday interviews. Three 30 minute interviews followed by a 30 minute feedback session between all the interviewers and HR to rate the candidates.
I got resumes a day before and didn't look at a single one. I'm running slightly late and can't seem to find the room my first interview is in. Found it. Its kid from a target school, 3.7, seems like he comes from a monied background. Knows his stuff, as most kids at superdays do. Hits all the boilerplate questions as expected. Breezes through the technicals. Checks the "why us" answer with the perfect answer that everyone that made it to a superday gave us in the first round interviews. It was a REALLY boring interview. I was extremely bored, this kid had no energy. I finished my questions in 10-15 minutes because I was so unengaged... I look at my and still 15 minutes to go.... errr. So I throw out a few bullshit questions to kill time... what are your 3 greatest weaknesses... he gives the standard answers... too much attention to detail, spread too thin, etc... he seems pleased with himself. DO NOT EVER smirk in delight after giving an answer in an interview. I saw this several times throughout this process and its quite off putting. I ask him what questions he has for me. One of them is kind of annoying to answer even though its a good question.
Next kid is very confident. Has been interning and doing meaningful work for a few years through college so he knows all his technicals inside out and can talk intelligently. But what tends to happen is it comes off too cocky. Definitely lost points for that. Otherwise seems like a rockstar. We was a referral from another banker, so I feel like we could close him if we gave him an offer. He was very sociable and engaging. Asked good questions... why'd you join this firm, etc...
Last kid, first impression... this kid looks like a huge dork, looks like he plays world of warcraft all day and night and hasn't seen sunlight in 13 years... also English is not his native language... thought it may be hard to understand him when we first introduce ourselves and shake hands, but find his English to be perfect otherwise... turns out he's lived in the US for 10+ years. Not withstanding his dorky demeanor, he's smart as a whip, knows our culture inside out and could communicate why he's attracted to it. Kills all the technicals... but also is a bit cocky so I shoot him down quite a bit. Lob a couple of fast balls at him and he stumbles and I point out that minute ago he claimed to have been able to do these in his sleep... also tell him the other candidates nailed these questions... seems to take it in stride, plus 1 for him. I ask him if he has questions he throws the usual ones out there, but shows interest in my answers and seems excited with my bullshit sales pitch about how we're the greatest thing since the Plan B pill. Then he asks me how I would have answered the questions he had earlier got wrong... he asks me to clarify what the answer should have been (they were technicals), I explain it. Plus one again, nice recovery.
In the feedback session, people talk about kids they interviewed and rank them 1-3. What this means is if 3 really strong canidates happened to get interviewed by the same 3 interviewers and weakest of the bunch is shit out of luck. Even though he/she may have been the 3rd strongest candidate in the entire interview pool. Demonstrating again, how sometimes its just the luck of the draw. People share their feedback on the candidates... too cocky, couldn't communicate why he/she was choosing our firm, doesn't seem likely to accept a FT banking offer/maybe not LT interested in finance, etc... My group starts talking about my 3 candidates... everyone agrees Kid 1 had no personality but was otherwise pretty solid. He's the bottom most ranked candidate. Kid 2 we all feel strongly about, but everyone agrees he seemed a bit full of himself... someone also says they still can't believe it but he said he something really stupid which I wont repeat because its pretty distinct. That alone is a reason for ding, the other 2 of us agree that in light of that he's def. a ding. The 3 of us agree that the last of the candidates was offer-worthy.
One main thing I noticed is that everyone in superdays is pretty well prepared and generally interview well. So after the first interview, people feel like they’re getting the hang of it… their nerves subside and they loosen up quite a bit. As a result, they come off pretty cocky and don’t have that level of nervousness that is actually necessary. You shouldn’t be too comfortable. I’ve seen this time and time again, so don’t think you’re on a roll so you can really flex your interviewing muscle. The kid who said something stupid and as a result didn’t get an offer, did so in his final interview. The kid who was way too cocky and I ended up shooting down, I was his final interviewers… etc… Stay sharp and stay on your A game, don’t get too comfortable/confident cuz that’s usually when you come off cocky and usually when you say something stupid.
In the end... a few of the other kids I first round interviewed and really fought hard for offers ended up not getting them. One kid cursed in his interview, completely fuckin ridiculous... particularly because he was interviewing with an MD. I really liked this kid and was pretty relieved that I was too busy and never got a chance to voice my support of this candidate to the others before interviews kicked off, because I would have really been embarrassed.
Another kid I first round interviewed was supposed to get an offer and didn't for some reason. I raised hell with HR and then he got it... but most people wouldn't actually do that, they'd just figure "ohh well, guess it wasn't meant to be"... again alot of it is just luck, sometimes it works in your favor sometimes it doesn't.
Our intern class is really just a pipeline for FT hires... so our main concerns are would they fit in with us? Would they bang out all their work? Are they interesting to talk to? Are they likely to accept our SA offer? Are they likely to accept a FT offer if we give them one.
A few things you DON’T want to do is tell each interviewer you interview that you are interested in THEIR group, because trust me they all compare notes.
Some other reasons people were dinged... they were foreign students with very thick accents and communication would definitely be an issue... lack of compelling interest in banking... too casual... too clueless... missed technicals... didn't know our company... were socially awkward (this was one of the leading torpedoes for otherwise super sharp kids).
Hope this was helpful.