Failed joke attempt in interview

I was recently asked, "if you were an animal, which animal would you be?" I responded with, "a goat, because I'll be the greatest summer analyst of all time." The interviewer did not appear amused. Did well on technicals though.

Am I screwed?

Update: I got the offer, but accepted a different one

Comments (53)

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Feb 19, 2022 - 4:17pm

I would have said dragon, though.

Why's that?

Feb 19, 2022 - 5:14am
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Haha I always used to ask this at the end of superdays for fun. I never really gave a shit about the answer and usually maintained a stoic composure to mess with whoever was giving the answer. I even had one of the best analysts we had answer with "rat" due to their ability to succeed and thrive in any environment, no matter how vile. While I told him over drinks later that I hated his answer so much, it was never really a tipping point in my intention to recommend an offer. So I guess if your joke didn't land in your mind, don't worry too much lol

  • 11
  • 3
Feb 19, 2022 - 6:06am
Synergy_or_Syzygy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Giant Panda

"Rat" is better than some answer like "lion" or "alpha wolf"

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
  • 2
Feb 19, 2022 - 6:09am
TheBuellerBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Totally. It's a perfect screen to shield against stupid and try-hard answers like that.

What is your panda rationale haha. On the fence with that one

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Gen
Feb 19, 2022 - 1:08pm

A long time ago back in the aftermath of the GFC (disregard the title in my profile, I'm old) I had someone ask me a variation of this question.

It was "If [our bank] were an animal, which animal would we be?"

Stupid questions deserve stupid answers, but this interviewer was deliberately being an asshole to me throughout the entire interview (well beyond a stress interview to see how I did under pressure) and I could tell I wouldn't be getting an offer, so I said the first thing that came to mind which was:

"A cockroach, because your bank should be dead, but just won't die." (they had received $25 billion in bailout money) 

I still remember the awkward silence and look of astonishment on that clown's face.

P.S. If you are on this site, you know who you are. Fuck you.

Feb 20, 2022 - 2:29pm
daveydaytrader, what's your opinion? Comment below:

BSD answer. I hope guy is on this site

"I have unlimited money"

Feb 19, 2022 - 3:35pm
thesunenevrsets9293b, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A lion because it represents the British Empire (top bucket) or an eagle because it represents the Roman Empire (top bucket) or a dragon because it represents Great Qing (also top bucket).

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Feb 19, 2022 - 8:03pm

How old was the interviewer? Probably a bad idea for VP+. If an analyst didn't find it funny though, they're just lame. 

Feb 23, 2022 - 12:30pm
AttackSnail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Idk about this, not saying you're wrong but GOAT stopped being funny/cool in 2018. Now it's just overused by mainstream brands, boomers, and other people who are socially behind the times. I'm just not a huge fan of beating a dead horse into oblivion. The use of the word GOAT years after it reached it's peak just signals a lack of originality and frankly comedic laziness. Frankly this answer would've made me cringe a little but I agree with your point and I still probably would've laughed with the guy for not taking such a stupid question too seriously. 

  • Managing Director in IB-M&A
Feb 19, 2022 - 9:48pm

Your answer was fine. Dumb questions deserve dumb answers.

If you did well in all other aspects of the interview, then you shouldn't waste your time worrying over this.

A banker that dings you over this answer will be one that compels you to write out a "Quit as a first year analyst" post on WSO next year.

I really wish more people at the analyst level understood that surviving long-term in IB even at a "lesser" bank is 1000x more financially lucrative than doing a 2 year stint at an elite shop and burning out. The money you make as a senior banker will make your analyst comp seem inconsequential. Thus, it would be prudent to find a group that you fit in well with, and people you can tolerate being around for 80-100 hours/week.

Remember, life is long. Retirement age for my generation is 70 yo.

For your generation, it will probably be 75 yo.

Feb 21, 2022 - 8:00am
dojio, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Funnily enough this is the exact answer I gave in a software dev interview - the guy prefaced the question with "this may be out of the blue, but don't worry". Stupid question, blunt answer.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 19, 2022 - 6:10pm

it's funny bc you just demonstrated the same thing about yourself lmao

Feb 20, 2022 - 1:49am
scrubmonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you have said greatest of all time, I would've found it funny and chill. But since you said specifically greatest SUMMER ANALYST of all time, it kinda came across as: 1. Not too funny as you are not being subtle with the joke 2. Make you sound like hardo.

Having said that, I don't think it's a ding.

Feb 20, 2022 - 6:49am
freshman trying to figure it out, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly that's a pretty Witty joke, if they didn't laugh it's on them not because there was something wrong with your joke

Feb 20, 2022 - 10:31am
ZetaMale, what's your opinion? Comment below:

By 'did not appear amused' did the interviewer scowl or give some passive-aggressive response (e.g, 'well, that certainly is interesting')?

Either way, if they ding you solely based on this response, then--frankly--that's on them. I got a chuckle out of it and it shows you can actually add some levity to a stuffy conversation. 

Feb 20, 2022 - 11:10am
What is Upstart, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You are not alone. I was once asked "how many basketball balls could you fit in this room?" 

I looked around and said: "mmm, at least 3" (I mean I was technically not wrong)

There was a confusing silence (he didn't get the joke) and then I actually answered the question. The interviewer didn't laugh at the joke, he smiled not to make it more awkward. I honestly thought it was funny (I still do), maybe I didn't deliver the joke that good.

Now that I think about it, it would have been funnier to say a more stupid answer, like 8 thousand.

Feb 21, 2022 - 1:26am
chi.i.b., what's your opinion? Comment below:

Kangaroo - lots of energy, nurturing to juniors, willing to throw punches when necessary

Feb 21, 2022 - 6:37pm
LeoSteel77, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I get the joke, I don't think it's funny. It's just corny and low effort. This is a common interview question and it seems you prepared for it in advance. If I heard it, I'd probably be pissed off cuz I hear this BS year after year when I'm interviewing, and it's used mainly by the low brow candidates. I speak from experience. 

You know who calls everything the GOAT? My 12 year old nephew. Whenever I hear somebody say GOAT, it's so cringe. The word GOAT is overused and is something I'd see in instagram comments or overhear at the barber shop. 

If you really wanted a funny joke, there are probably way better animal jokes out there.

Feb 23, 2022 - 6:08am
BelfortBateman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

That is not that bad, since it was answering a less important question. I remember making a passive-aggressive joke on an important question and getting the job.

I saw it on the internet and I think it is hilarious. An interviewer asked me what my biggest weakness was, and I told him that it was that I feel the urge to always say the truth. He took the bait and said that that wasn't a weakness, and I replied that I didn't give a damn about what he thought.

It was amazing to see his facial expressions changing: from incredibility to anger to realization to laughter. 

Thinking about it, I was extremely lucky that the interviewer was that sharp.

  • Analyst 2 in IA
Apr 20, 2022 - 12:19pm

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  • Teller in Non-profit
Jun 21, 2022 - 8:28am

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