10/3/07

Hey,
I was just wondering what some good, intellectual questions would be to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview session?
Ive seen in a lot of mock interviews that they always ask if we (the interviewee) have any questions for them. I heard that it is good to have at least 2-3 questions to ask.
Is this true? and if so, what might be some good questions?
Thanks,
J

Comments (106)

Best Response
10/3/07

WOW,
thanks, those are some great suggestions.
I will definitely ask those types of questions when they ask me if i have any questions for them.
Thanks for the help,
J

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation +

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews.

10/3/07

I would make questions specific to the position you are interviewing for or the firm you are interviewing for.

10/3/07

Ask a question directly relating to your interviewer's experience at the firm.

If it's a 2nd year analyst:
"I bet you were in my shoes a few years ago -- what initially attracted you to X bank?"

If it's a 3rd-year:
"I know that it seems to be a big trend these days to move into PE/HF/VC, but the fact that you're staying on as a 3rd year says a great deal about X bank -- what are you thinking for the near and long term career-wise?"

If it's associate who was a direct-promote: "what influenced your decision to stay with the firm for the longer term?"

Then they'll say things like "it's the people," "it's the hands-on experience i gained," or "it's the MONEYYYY, BABY" but then you lead on from there and agree with the points they make, "the entrepreneurial environment that you describe is definitely one of the many things that attracts me to X bank..." and you can follow up with "how does your experience compare to your friends who work at other firms?"

The goal is to make it clear that you are:
1. listening to what they told you in the first 2 minutes when they were describing themselves
2. not asking some bullshit like "describe a typical day as an Analyst"
3. genuinely interested what they say and that you can actively contribute and develop the conversation

Remember: there is a ton of ego in banking -- bankers love talking about themselves. Just give them the opportunity!

--
Support WSO.com and visit these links!
Financial Modeling Training
Guide to Finance Interviews

10/3/07

I asked something along the lines of "How would you describe the culture of your group " and since I was applying for a summer analyst position...I asked how often are SA staffed on live deals as oppose to pitches

10/3/07

Don't ask anything you can find on the website.

10/3/07

I actually hate the live deal vs. pitch question. Its very canned, and in my opinion is not really a good way to split things up. You can be pitching for something and putting together a very complicated model. On the other hand, you can be on a live deal and just processing memos. It is also just a stock question that you can ask anyone so it's not really that impressive.

I like questions that ask about background, but ones that are specific like jackofalltrades is talking about. Don't just ask "Can you tell me about your background?" but show that you are paying attention.

I also think asking about the credit markets or specific events at that particular investment bank (ask them about recent loan write-offs, job cuts, etc.) show that you are well informed.

If you are stuck for questions and have to go to something canned, ask about an interesting deal your interviewer worked on. This is more specific than general background, shows that you are interested in deals, and bankers love to talk about their deals so they will go on for awhile and prevent you from having to think of more questions.

10/3/07

Ask them if they could have lunch with three people, dead or alive, who would it be???

10/3/07

I always think trying to engage an interviewer during the process is a better way. IMO, you should have asked all the questions at the relevant points in the interview, while they are topical. It shows a level of maturity, being able to hold up the other side of a conversation in a very formal context.

If, at the end of the process, you have questions you actually want answered, go for it. But those canned/leading questions are worse than asking none at all.

10/3/07

Ask them where they go shopping. What shirts they buy? What colors? What cut? Is brooks brothers really that pertinent today? Or does it get beaten by Pink? Are they single? Who should you date, a brunette or a blonde. etc.

********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********

********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********

10/4/07

I've always wanted to ask if there are any disadvantages or weaknesses at Company X. It's a genuine question, but maybe too forward?

1/4/08

A great question to ask if you are going for a sales & trading interview is...I know trading involves a lot of stree, how do people deal with that stress?

1/4/08

Solid questions i've heard:

Was wearing a Rolex to this interview too flashy?
Do you hair test for drug usage?
What is your funniest interview story?
What was your last bonus?
What are your thoughts on these other banks (pull out a list of competing banks at this point)?
Will having a criminal record hurt my chances?

1/4/08

While we're on this subject, anyone got any good Sales & Trading questions to ask?

1/4/08

Yeah, MadCatz for my Sales & Trading interview I asked: I know trading involves a lot of stress, how do people tend to manage that stress?

The response I got was people who do Sales & Trading want to be in that fast-paced, stressful environment in the first place, which is true. I also added at the end that I like that fast-paced atmosphere.

1/5/08

Is it OK to ask somewhat technical questions at the end of the interview.

1/5/08

MB00,

I generally like to be helpful here, but if you really can't think of any questions regarding the industry or the bank's culture, you might want to rethink if this is the right place for you.

1/5/08

I didn't ask many questions in my interviews, but here are a few suggestions:

1) In your opinion, what is the most important characteristic of a successful analyst?

2) Why did you choose this bank?

3) Can you tell me something interesting that happened on a deal you worked on?

4) Ask a very specific bank-related question. But don't ask a question that an analyst wouldn't care about. For example, don't ask why MS plans to spin-off its Discover card unit, because that really doesn't affect you and shows that you just used the first news article you found on your google search.

The point is to have your questions answered, but it is also another opportunity to show genuine interest in the industry and the bank.

1/5/08

People enjoy talking about themselves.

In reply to gibranmeng
1/5/08
gibranmeng:

People enjoy talking about themselves.

completely agree. my successful interviews have always ended with me asking questions about my interviewer's career path and how they enjoy their work. it won't necessarily give the best insight but if you can turn it into a more informal conversation they will walk away remembering that you're someone they can have a decent conversation with.

definitely don't be one of the jerk-offs who asks about the "global strategy of the firm in the next 10 years" or "recent divestiture". it may be a genuine question but it's something you could have found out at the info session or website.

1/5/08
1/5/08

MB00, you're gonna rock em.

CompBanker

1/5/08

It has two parts...

1)Excluding the people you work with, tell me what you enjoy most about the job and the firm and 2)if you could change anything about the job or the firm, what would it be?

That question really helped me get at the heart of firms' cultures so I could figure out where I'd fit in the best. For me, it worked like a charm.

In reply to BABanker
1/5/08
Alexey Kirilov:

MB00,

I generally like to be helpful here, but if you really can't think of any questions regarding the industry or the bank's culture, you might want to rethink if this is the right place for you.

haha What a fucking tool. Don't take yourself so seriously. Leave it to the russian nerd to post some sanctimonious bullshit like that.

1/5/08

Honestly, these questions are pretty bad. You need to be much more specific and ask questions that make you standout as a candidate. These are all generic BS questions which will not get you the job.

1/5/08

research the bank anbd some recent deals they have brokered, "what would have been my role in the ##### acquistion/merger, etc.?"

1/5/08

ask about deal flow
ask about industry focus
let the associate talk about themselves (they like that) so ask about why did you come here, etc.
if they started at the firm as an analyst, ask about their progression making associate

1/5/08

Can you please elaborate on what to ask about ask about deal flow and
ask about industry focus? What would be good to ask ?

1/5/08

-Can you talk about your role in the last [M&A, ECM, DCM] deal you worked in and what specifically you learned from it?

-What do you think of the people in this group vs. those in other groups? Who do you enjoy working with?

-Standard "why this firm" question... usually people give generic answers so I don't like asking this one.

-Are you organized into product/industry groups and who does sourcing vs. execution here? What kind of deal flow have you seen over the past year? What is it looking like right now and what do you think next year will be like?

On a side note: the best question I've heard personally came this fall during recruiting. Someone asked, "For companies that make products, employees can be proud that customers are using their products or that someone is finding their work useful. Since investment banks provide services to select individuals instead, what are you proud of as a banker?"

Very thoughtful question and one I had not heard before (at least not phrased this way).

1/5/08

I am assuming ur working at good place

The WSO Advantage - Investment Banking

Financial Modeling Training

IB Templates, M&A, LBO, Valuation +

IB Interview Prep Pack

30,000+ sold & REAL questions.

Resume Help from Actual IB Pros

Land More IB Interviews.

Find Your Perfect IB Mentor

Realistic IB Mock Interviews.

1/5/08

Are you organized into product/industry groups and who does sourcing vs. execution here? What kind of deal flow have you seen over the past year? What is it looking like right now and what do you think next year will be like?

Little Rookie here.. what do u mean by.. "sourcing vs. execution here"

Thanks,

Hope to hear more questions from you

1/5/08

Sourcing refers to bringing in a deal or client - developing a relationship, pitching the company on ideas, and finally getting them engaged as a client.

Execution refers to actually doing the deal - developing marketing materials for the company, going out and presenting to buyers (if it's an M&A deal), and then selecting the winning buyer, going through diligence and negotiating an agreement.

You want to do as much execution as possible when you're an analyst. People claim that sourcing a.k.a. pitching is all gruntwork and that's what it makes it stupid; actually, in my experience both sourcing and execution require a lot of gruntwork.

The difference is that you can't talk about pitches in interviews for your next job - you have to talk about deals. You'll also learn more from doing deals compared to doing pitches.

1/5/08

Has anyone ever ask the interviewer if there are any areas about the candidate's profile that they have doubts about? was wondering if this would be a solid closure...

1/5/08

1) Solid 7 year thread revival

2) Absolutely not. Always keep the interview as positively focused as possible. Never VOLUNTARILY attract attention to negative qualities.

1/5/08

Ask about culture - what it's like to work with the people in the group.

Ask about what someone that does the rotational program usually will do afterward - ie. what is the career path

Remember, you'll likely already know the answer to all of these, but you ask just so they know you've been thinking about these things, and you look curious.

- Capt K -
"Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham

1/5/08

One question you can never go wrong with is - "what differentiates 'outstanding' summers from mediocre ones? demonstrates that you are more interested in doing the job well/performing at a high level than you are in wondering how to get the job. it's a positive message to send and it leaves you with useful info.

1/5/08
1/5/08

Try this: Are you in Ops because you couldn't get into Front Office?

In reply to aachimp
1/5/08
aachimp:

Try this: Are you in Ops because you couldn't get into Front Office?

Definitely on my mind, but not exactly helpful.

1/5/08

Will I have to work overtime?

So what do I have to do to get your position?

What is your policy on Columbus day?

This job sounds pretty cool, why did the last person leave?

1/5/08

Ask the interviewer what is the closest they have ever sat to a hermaphrodite was, not counting today's interview.

In reply to two.N.twenty
1/5/08
two.N.twenty:

Ask the interviewer what is the closest they have ever sat to a hermaphrodite was, not counting today's interview.

The others were funny but this was very lame

1/5/08

hit too close to home, my bad.

there's an "lol" in your subject line, so i know you at least got a little girly giggle out of it.

In reply to two.N.twenty
1/5/08
two.N.twenty:

hit too close to home, my bad.

there's an "lol" in your subject line, so i know you at least got a little girly giggle out of it.

hahaha

1/5/08

lmao actually I though two.N.twenty was hilarious. the second post moreso.

1/5/08

"Want to get a beer tonight?"

This thread has to be a joke, do you seriously network with people you go to school with, and plan out the questions you'll ask them?

1/5/08

Drex, there is a senior at my school who is starting his analyst program in a month. He had interviews with all major BB and still has contacts. I give him same respect I give to alumni bankers. In 5 weeks he'll be making over $5,000 in salaries not including bonuses.

Kahlen, bankers LOVE talking about themselves and their accomplishments. Ask how they got into banking, what was their route, what was some remarkable achievements in college/high school, what do/don't they like about the industry. Make sure he/she does all the talking.

1/5/08

You've been going to school with them for years, don't you think it's a little strange to only want to know them now that they have an offer...

If you want to know someone and you go to school with them, it's not that tough

1/5/08

dexelalum11, there are 30,000 students at my school...

In reply to The Phantom
1/5/08
PussInBoots:

dexelalum11, there are 30,000 students at my school...

awww, that'll make a difference. Yeah, I suppose it's appropriate to network then - my school is about 5,000, which means I know a significant percent, and an even higher percent of those going in to finance. Suppose 30k would be different

1/5/08

That was pretty good. Also the blog Experiglot has this article on the right questions to ask interviewers

1/5/08
1/5/08

Pretty good, couple of obvious ones, but generally it helps!

Nice looking out for the crew.

1/5/08

These questions will result in auto-ding:

What exactly would my day-to-day responsibilities be?
What is the biggest challenge facing the organization today?
How do you feel that I measure up to your requirements for this position?

Might as well not show up for an interview.

1/5/08
1/5/08

10. Are you guys bulge bracket or not? I read on WSO that your mid-BB. Comment.

1/5/08

don't forget- "how much can i expect my bonus to be?"

1/5/08

I would suggest asking about their ranking in the current league tables.

1/5/08

I don't get this, it's not THAT hard to come up with good questions if you listen carefully during the interview and have some interest in the team you're interviewing for. Most of the seven proposed questions above you are supposed to know before you even apply for the position in the first place.

1/5/08

The best question is "tell me something about your career" and then start a normal conversation from there.

I ding people when they ask me 5 questions that are not related.

1/5/08

Here are some of the basic questions to ask:

Can you please describe how the the confluence of financial deepening and acceleration in cross-border capital flows ultimately led to multiple equilibria in the global financial system? And how is export-lead growth supposed to overcome sovereign debt intolerance when pre-crisis peak demand was artificially high, and now severe deleveraging is threatening the cripple worldwide consumption? In addition, while it is clear that the global economy is on life support, aka indefinite stimulus, and each new dollar of debt spent is having a marginally lower impact on world growth, why are multinational financial institutions still relying on excessive accumulation of debt to jump start the economy, especially considering this is only having a negative impact on global imbalances... if you would be so kind as to explain this to me I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

1/5/08

Jesus, you have too much free time on your hands.

1/5/08

man, I think you just need to step up your game

1/5/08

Ask them what you care about. Ask them what characteristics they like to see in their associates. Ask them about the responsibility split of the associates and the analysts. Interaction / culture of the group. You've got an MBA, so I'm assuming you've been employed before. You should know what you want out of a job by now.

CompBanker

1/5/08

Can you give me an offer I can't refuse?

Do what you want not what you can!

1/5/08

"where'd you get that tie?"

1/5/08

Instead of asking direct and boring "culture" questions, I have asked a couple "what do you wish you had more (or less) of at work?" definitely gets them thinking a little more about the question and i've gotten more insightful responses that way

1/5/08

For anyone that's been there for more than a few years, I always ask them why they've stayed with the company. This question opens up a lot of ways for them to answer, and generally gives very good insight into the person and company you're dealing with.

For newer people, I ask them why they chose this company. You'll typically get some bullshit answer but it gives you a good idea of what people in that company want to hear, so you walk in on the first day able to toe the party line. Very few people will say things like "I needed a job", "this was my only offer", or "I have bills to pay", so you're also allowing them to reinvent their own story and thus they will tend to be comfortable around you with the illusion that they have pulled the wool over your eyes.....which is fine because you already got much more important info out of them, so it's a two-for-one

If clear you're not getting the job, or you're practice interviewing for the hell of it, definitely feel free to ask things like, "so how long until I get my first raise", "is the boss a dick", and "how does this firm feel about swingers parties after hours in the office?" They will remember you for the rest of their life.

Get busy living

In reply to UFOinsider
1/5/08
UFOinsider:

If clear you're not getting the job, or you're practice interviewing for the hell of it, definitely feel free to ask things like, "so how long until I get my first raise", "is the boss a dick", and "how does this firm feel about swingers parties after hours in the office?" They will remember you for the rest of their life.

Haha. Still, please don't do this.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." - DT

1/5/08

I think the best approach is to really listen to what the interviewer says when they introduce themselves. Then, ask a question that specifically is about something they already said. Obviously you can't come up with the question beforehand, but I think it shows that you are really paying attention and are able to think on your feet.

In reply to dshack
1/5/08
dshack:

I think the best approach is to really listen to what the interviewer says when they introduce themselves. Then, ask a question that specifically is about something they already said. Obviously you can't come up with the question beforehand, but I think it shows that you are really paying attention and are able to think on your feet.

Agreed. Your not going to be able to ask an interviewer anything out of the ordinary or expect that you are going to get some great answer. If there is a question you would like to know the answer to, whether it be about culture, pay, hours, or any other item that would be a bad idea to ask about you can find out online. Most of the other questions are going to be opinions and are going to vary greatly on the person, their mood that day, etc.

Play a little psychology. If the guy looks like he thinks he is a big shot, ask him what he thinks about the economy or the future of The US. If he played sports in college, ask him about that. Ask them something that they will enjoy answering, something that will make them feel important.

That is the best way to play questions in my opinion. One of the best tips I ever got for interviews was don't be afraid to ask 5 guys the same exact question. If you are interviewing with a firm and the culture is very strong and you think a certain question will resonate with the each guy, don't be afraid to ask each guy the same exact question. I never thought about this, but its a good point. It is not like they are going to sit down after and compare which kids asked which questions.

1/5/08

What made you choose XX company?
What do you like most about working at XX company?

If you could have sex with Halle Berry, Beyonce, or Angelina Jolie, which one would you choose?
Follow this up by asking them in what way their race impacted their decision.

Ask them about their views on affirmative action.

Ask them what their favorite animal is.
Pretend as if the question you actually just asked was about their sexual preference and ask follow up questions/ make comments as if their response was in response to this. Keep this up until you're absolutely positive they've caught on. Keep bringing their answer up throughout the duration of the interview... (ex: ask you would really fuck a horse or whatever animal it was they indicated?)

1/5/08

One question that I always got a good response from as well as made the interviewer thing was:

If there was one thing you could change about your bank/firm/company/group, what would it be and why. I got some great honest answers there and usually some praise for it.

Always good to ask about their personal background.

XX

1/5/08

What is the size of the team?
What is the structure of the group/office/firm?
Is there more of a team or autonomous atmosphere here?
How would you describe the culture here?
What are you looking for in the ideal candidate?
What do you like most about working here?
How long have you been at this firm?
Can you describe a typical day here for you?

Just be genuine with what ever it is you ask.

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."

Theodore Roosevelt

1/5/08

Ask why the person has stayed with the company.

Get busy living

1/5/08

I usually look over their website and ask questions about their most recent deals, are those deals commensurate with average deal size, is the industry those deals are in the norm, ask questions about the people interviewing me if their backgrounds were on the website, etc.

Just show that you took the time to look at their website and they are not just another X, Y or Z in the long line of companies you are interviewing at. People are egotistical by nature and like talking about themselves/the deals they worked on.

My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

1/5/08

many interviewers actually tell their stories at the beginning and leave me fewer questions to ask at the end...

In reply to thejoker
1/5/08
thejoker:

many interviewers actually tell their stories at the beginning and leave me fewer questions to ask at the end...

Is this serious?
You can always ask more detailed questions, ask them to elaborate or ask about something they don't mention.

In reply to FreezePops
1/5/08
FreezePops:
thejoker:

many interviewers actually tell their stories at the beginning and leave me fewer questions to ask at the end...

Is this serious?
You can always ask more detailed questions, ask them to elaborate or ask about something they don't mention.

well, despite that i'd always create conversations (as you said above) and ultimately landed SA and FT offers ;) but it is also true that sometimes interviewers are so boring that i didn't come up with any real questions and instead talked about my retriever puppy.

1/5/08

People love talking about themselves.

When luck shuts the door you gotta come in through the window - Doyle Brunson

1/5/08

Engagements they've recently been on and places they've traveled. The more personal you can get, the better. As upod01 said, people love talking about themselves.

Everything else about the company can basically be researched, and should be researched before any interview.

In reply to upod01
1/5/08

upod01:
People love talking about themselves.

If I had a banana I'd give it to you (pause)

This really is all it comes down to though. Ask open ended questions. Listen.

1/5/08

Thanks for chiming in. I know I'l just be speaking to someone from HR, so I'm not sure if they're in a position to answer some questions I had like how much leeway I might have in choosing a project? What's a newcomer's day like? etc....

1/5/08

Asking questions should demonstrate that you're seriously interested in the job and that you did your homework.

I'd probably not ask what's a newcomer's day like, but instead something like how to excel as a newcomer. Here are a couple of tips, too:

(not allowed to post links, google this:) 6-questions-to-ask-during-your-interview-that-will-make-an-employer-want-to-hire-you

I'd probably rephrase #5, and #6 is definitely pushing it... but I'm sure it can work.

1/5/08

That's a good post. I don't know if six would be my choice, I couldn't stand to hear the interviewer badmouth me lol

1/5/08

What is the most important skill for a new analyst? What is the one thing you wish you had known when you started? Why did you choose [bank]?

Hey, how's your art career going?

1/5/08

One I always ask is "How does the culture at your firm differ from others", it is very generic and basic but it gets the interviewee talking and shows your interest.

Recent College Graduate

1/5/08

"did i get the job?"

"After you work on Wall Street it's a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side." - David Tepper

1/5/08

To unlock this content for free, please login / register below.

  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • LinkeIn
  • Twitter
Connecting helps us build a vibrant community. We'll never share your info without your permission. Sign up with email or if you are already a member, login here Bonus: Also get 6 free financial modeling lessons for free ($200+ value) when you register!
1/5/08

--Meliora sequimur

1/5/08
1/5/08
1/5/08

What's Your Opinion? Comment below:

Login or register to get credit (collect bananas).
All anonymous comments are unpublished until reviewed. No links or promotional material will be allowed. Most comments are published within 24 hours.
WallStreet Prep Master Financial Modeling