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25 weirdest interview questions

I haven't seen anybody else post this, so here is an article my buddy just showed me on the top 25 weirdest interview questions of 2010.

25 Weirdest Interview Questions of 2010

I think some of these questions are just stupid, specifically the martial arts question, #3. But a lot of them get very creative. Again, they are looking to see how you think through the question, not so much that you get it correct. My friend said he will memorize the amount of ridges on a quarter along with the answers to all the questions, and then he'll be golden. I told him, no, they will think you have issues and ding you- besides the fact that they will ask a different random question that you won't know the answer to.

Anyway, have fun with it.

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Comments (222)

Jan 7, 2011

I went for an interview at Google... One of the interviewers asked me:

The world is running out of oil - how many barrels of oil would the US need to make it through the next two weeks?

Jan 8, 2011
Inimical:

I went for an interview at Google... One of the interviewers asked me:

The world is running out of oil - how many barrels of oil would the US need to make it through the next two weeks?

19M/day * 14 = 266M barrels (that's 11 billion gallons of crude oil, 42 gallons to a barrel)...and I would answer that off the top of my head (which would totally defeat the purpose, since I'm assuming they want you to try to figure it out instead of already knowing the answer)

(and btw, the 19M is an approximation, there are various definitions for "oil" and depending on which you use, and the date, the number will fluctuate by a M or 2)

Jan 7, 2011

Oops monkey bone posted some of those questions, but only put up 10 of them w/out the link. So i guess my post was worthwhile.

Jan 7, 2011

Any article written on yahoo, msn, google anywhere people can leave comments its interesting to read the comments... and then these people wonder why they don't have well paying jobs....

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jan 7, 2011
blackfinancier:

Any article written on yahoo, msn, google anywhere people can leave comments its interesting to read the comments... and then these people wonder why they don't have well paying jobs....

Good point. They are often very emotional and opinionated posters. While I think the martial arts question is a poor one, the fact that I don't like it is irrelevant. The fact is that it could be a question that lies between me and a job. For the record, I think the 3 weaknesses question is also a bad one.

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Jan 8, 2011
blackfinancier:

Any article written on yahoo, msn, google anywhere people can leave comments its interesting to read the comments... and then these people wonder why they don't have well paying jobs....

One of the most intelligent statements I've read today.

Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.

-Niccolo Machiavelli

Jan 8, 2011
blackfinancier:

Any article written on yahoo, msn, google anywhere people can leave comments its interesting to read the comments... and then these people wonder why they don't have well paying jobs....

I was reading one of the articles on the shooting today and someone said if everyone there had a gun, it would not have been as bad.

derivstrading:

if you could choose one shape: circle, square or triangle, what would it be?

GS Trading

It's hip to be square.

Jan 7, 2011

I was asked what my favorite sandwich was and why.....

Wtf does that tell someone about me? lol

Reality hits you hard, bro...

Jan 24, 2011
MMBinNC:

I was asked what my favorite sandwich was and why.....

Wtf does that tell someone about me? lol

according to some drunk I met, your favorite food relates to your interests in sex.

Jan 7, 2011

A couple questions I've been asked:

How many text messages are sent within the UK in a year?

How many pharmacies are there in the US?

Why is a manhole cover in the shape of a circle? (this one actually has 3 answers)

Jan 7, 2011

Holy shit, I just looked up how many ridges are on a quarter, and I was off by 1. Lesson: drink red wine before interviews.

Jan 8, 2011

if you could choose one shape: circle, square or triangle, what would it be?

GS Trading

Jan 8, 2011
derivstrading:

if you could choose one shape: circle, square or triangle, what would it be?

GS Trading

Circle, definitely.

Jan 8, 2011

Circle, definitely.[/quote]

alexpasch][quote=derivstrading:

if you could choose one shape: circle, square or triangle, what would it be?

GS Trading

The one I chose. I used the answer for the manhole brainteaser and said a circle because it would be easier to move by rolling it lol.

Jan 8, 2011

I don't know about you guys, but I would be really tempted to say to the interviewer, "Before I answer, may I ask you something? Why are you asking this retarded question in the first place, and what does it have to do with finance?"

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Jan 8, 2011
Pfalzer:

I don't know about you guys, but I would be really tempted to say to the interviewer, "Before I answer, may I ask you something? Why are you asking this retarded question in the first place, and what does it have to do with finance?"

I knew a guy who once went to an interview where they asked him some ridiculous math question like what's 3,456 times 7,472?

He then told them "thank you very much" and got up and extended his hand as if to imply "i'm done with this interview". The interviewer said "wait, wait, wait...sit down...why won't you answer the question?"

He cooly replied, "Because, if that question is indicative of the type of work I'm going to be doing for your firm, I don't want to work there; and if your firm can't afford a calculator, then I definitely don't want to work there".

The interviewer laughed, and the interview went on. He ended up getting a second round interview...

(The position was a huge reach for him given his credentials. If you're interviewing for a position that you know is a huge reach, you need to do something to stand out...otherwise you'll just be a part of the herd that gets eliminated because your GPA isn't high enough or whatever)

Jan 8, 2011

"10. Given the numbers 1 to 1000, what is the minimum number of guesses needed to find a specific number if you are given the hint "higher" or "lower" for each guess you make? (Reportedly from Facebook)"

Wouldn't it be a minimum of 2 guesses or am I missing something here? First being the initial guess and 2nd after being told higher/lower?

"Do whatever it takes to keep the legend of Wall Street as it was truly intended live on. When you think back on investment banking of the early 21st century, remember the heat--remember the passion. But mostly, remember the titans. " - LSO

Jan 8, 2011
Soul_Reaper:

"10. Given the numbers 1 to 1000, what is the minimum number of guesses needed to find a specific number if you are given the hint "higher" or "lower" for each guess you make? (Reportedly from Facebook)"

Wouldn't it be a minimum of 2 guesses or am I missing something here? First being the initial guess and 2nd after being told higher/lower?

You need 9 guesses, with each guess you eliminate half of the numbers, For example if the number was 1000 then the process would go like this (round any decimals to nearest integer):

  1. 500
  2. 750
  3. 875
  4. 937.5 - 938
  5. 969
  6. 984.5 - 985
  7. 992.5 - 993
  8. 996.5 - 997
  9. 998.5 - 999
  10. Correct Answer
Jan 8, 2011
derivstrading:
Soul_Reaper:

"10. Given the numbers 1 to 1000, what is the minimum number of guesses needed to find a specific number if you are given the hint "higher" or "lower" for each guess you make? (Reportedly from Facebook)"

Wouldn't it be a minimum of 2 guesses or am I missing something here? First being the initial guess and 2nd after being told higher/lower?

You need 9 guesses, with each guess you eliminate half of the numbers, For example if the number was 1000 then the process would go like this (round any decimals to nearest integer):

  1. 500
  2. 750
  3. 875
  4. 937.5 - 938
  5. 969
  6. 984.5 - 985
  7. 992.5 - 993
  8. 996.5 - 997
  9. 998.5 - 999
  10. Correct Answer

This strategy is the most optimal one and 9 is the max number of guesses using it. However, the way the question is phrased leaves 1 as a possible answer. If the number is between 750, or even 500, which is possible, the guesses will be fewer than 9. The question does not specify anything beyond the number range and that the goal is to find the minimum guesses.

Jan 8, 2011

Wow, 2,149 angry comments on that article.

Jan 8, 2011

^^I think it should be 1 - theoretically, it is possible to guess it correctly at the first try.

Jan 8, 2011

I was asked what was the biggest animal I could kill with my bare hands in a confined space

Jan 8, 2011
funfunfun:

I was asked what was the biggest animal I could kill with my bare hands in a confined space

How I would respond:

A blue whale. If it is a confined space and I am able to survive in it, then I could assume there is not sufficient water inside it to sustain a blue whale. Thus the simple act of choosing a whale and covering it's blow hole would kill it.

If the interview is a dick and responds that there IS sufficient water to sustain a blue whale, then I'd drown an elephant.

Yeah, that's right, I just shit ALL OVER that question.

Jan 8, 2011
Nouveau Richie:
funfunfun:

I was asked what was the biggest animal I could kill with my bare hands in a confined space

How I would respond:

A blue whale. If it is a confined space and I am able to survive in it, then I could assume there is not sufficient water inside it to sustain a blue whale. Thus the simple act of choosing a whale and covering it's blow hole would kill it.

If the interview is a dick and responds that there IS sufficient water to sustain a blue whale, then I'd drown an elephant.

Yeah, that's right, I just shit ALL OVER that question.

Confined as in the animal cannot get away from you. For example, blue whale would just swim away in the ocean. An elephant would kill you before you could even hurt it all.

Jan 8, 2011

cow tipping!

Jan 8, 2011

Interview questions in Braverman's day:

Q. Can you call people on the phone and get them to send you money?

A. Yes.

Q. When can you start?

Jan 10, 2011
Edmundo Braverman:

Interview questions in Braverman's day:

Q. Can you call people on the phone and get them to send you money?

A. Yes.

Q. When can you start?

lol at this

Jan 8, 2011

I remember being taken aback once when my interview blurted out "how big is your cock?"

Ah the naivety of yesteryear.

Jan 8, 2011

I was asked at an interview -- how many jelly beans can you fit in a 747. Funny/weird.

Jan 9, 2011

I was once asked, "how much money do you want to make?" i said, "as much as your company is willing to give me." the interviewer responded, "you're hired on the spot at a salary of $0/hr." i started the next day at GS IB

Jan 9, 2011

I think some of you missed the point of these questions. A lot of those are exactly the type of questions you would get in a consultancy interview (especially the estimation questions). Interviewers just want to see how you react to the question and how you structure your thoughts to answer the question. I also think that the interviewer wants to see the type of person you.
I do agree that the martial arts question is really weird, especially because of the answer he expected.

Jan 9, 2011

The brainteaser I got and wasn't expecting was - How is a Chinese field worker's livelihood tied to T-Bill auctions?

I'm on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen.

Jan 9, 2011

Got this one once: "What's your spirit animal"

Answer: "A dragon"

Got the job (but didn't take it)... lol...

Jan 10, 2011
James07:

Got this one once: "What's your spirit animal"

Answer: "A dragon"

Got the job (but didn't take it)... lol...

a cockroach...lol....

Jan 10, 2011

My buddy got a great one in a consulting interview: if you were working in the San Diego zoo, how much would it cost you to rent a panda from a chinese zoo ?
As discussed previously I agree that these questions have no clear answer, the thought process and the way candidate structure their calculations is the only thing that really matters actually.
I would argue that "what was the biggest animal I could kill with my bare hands in a confined space" is definitely ridiculous though...I believe some of these questions are also launched at you to check your reaction to unexpected situations

Jan 24, 2011

lol i've been asked about my sex life by a jolly looking fat guy

one of the most awkward interviews ever

Jan 24, 2011

Here's a good one:

You have a justice weighing scale, and you want to be able to weigh any human in increments of 1 lb. You are only allowed to buy 6 weights though. How should you pick the weights so that you can weigh any human (accurate to the nearest lb).

Assumption: no human weighs more than 350 lbs.

Jan 24, 2011

what kind of bank was this?

Jan 24, 2011
kidflash:

what kind of bank was this?

IB firm. I don't wanna say too much.

Jan 24, 2011

Half of those questions are illegal to ask during an interview.

Jan 24, 2011
stvr2013:

Half of those questions are illegal to ask during an interview.

This.

Jan 24, 2011
stvr2013:

Half of those questions are illegal to ask during an interview.

What should he do?

Jan 24, 2011

That'll depend on whether he received an offer or not haha

Jan 24, 2011

guessing he's asking because his friend didn't get an offer.

Jan 24, 2011

It depends on the context. If the question is being asked as an "interview" question it would be more inappropriate than if the interviewee is simply having a conversation with interviewer and the question comes up ("Oh, cool, you just said you're from India. What state? What language is your first language?). Even if the question is strictly "illegal" it doesn't mean discrimination has occurred, even if the candidate doesn't get the job. If no actual discrimination occurs, there is no real recourse.

Jan 24, 2011
DCDepository:

Oh, cool, you just said you're from India. What state?

Ah yes, the many beautiful states of India. America #1

I sold some shares, but on a net basis, significantly increased my ownership.
Jeffrey Skilling

Jan 24, 2011
Dr. Derivatives:
DCDepository:

Oh, cool, you just said you're from India. What state?

Ah yes, the many beautiful states of India. America #1

Not sure I understand what you're saying. India has 28 states.

Jan 24, 2011

If this is in the US, your "friend" can sue. An employer cannot ask questions regarding race, religion, sexual orientation, and etc. It is against the law for ANY firm in the U.S. to ask questions regarding the aforementioned subjects.

Jan 24, 2011
securitiescrypt:

If this is in the US, your "friend" can sue. An employer cannot ask questions regarding race, religion, sexual orientation, and etc. It is against the law for ANY firm in the U.S. to ask questions regarding the aforementioned subjects.

If there's no discrimination then there is no point in the suit, and the question isn't technically illegal if there is no malice. Asking those questions does not automatically rise to discrimination. If no discrimination actually occurred then there is no case and no damages can be granted.

This article indicates that there technically are no illegal questions, just protected classes (race, gender, religion, etc.), and that intent is what makes a question illegal:
http://www.learnvest.com/2013/07/4-inappropriate-i...

Jan 24, 2011
DCDepository:
securitiescrypt:

If this is in the US, your "friend" can sue. An employer cannot ask questions regarding race, religion, sexual orientation, and etc. It is against the law for ANY firm in the U.S. to ask questions regarding the aforementioned subjects.

If there's no discrimination then there is no point in the suit, and the question isn't technically illegal if there is no malice. Asking those questions does not automatically rise to discrimination. If no discrimination actually occurred then there is no case and no damages can be granted.

This article indicates that there technically are no illegal questions, just protected classes (race, gender, religion, etc.), and that intent is what makes a question illegal:

http://www.learnvest.com/2013/07/4-inappropriate-i...

understand the point the article is making, but it's hard to argue intent. you don't usually ask a stranger those types of questions (maybe ethnicity if its obvious), and in the context of an interview the intent would appear to be screening out those you deem not acceptable because of race/gender/ethnicity/etc

that's why HR usually tells you not to even approach those subjects, even if the applicant brings it up. i don't know what the follow up is though. i dont think you just sue a company outright, and if you did i believe the result is just about getting a fair shot at the job. its not like you get money.

Jan 24, 2011

You're right, it's hard to prove intent, which is why you don't even submit a complaint unless you've been made aware that the organization has a pattern of discrimination. Simply asking inappropriate questions doesn't mean the complainant has a case. If anything, it's more likely to F up the complainant's career, especially without proof of actual discrimination.

Jan 24, 2011

"You just sue". No you don't, because you got no proof of it.
You don't because you don't want to be blacklisted in other companies.
You don't because why waste your time.
You don't because you probably won't win.
You don't because if it's for money, it's peanuts.
You don't because you don't just yell out: "It's unfair, am gonna sue you!"

Back to OP: your friend needs to just suck it up. That's life, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Jan 24, 2011
Disjoint:

"You just sue". No you don't, because you got no proof of it.

You don't because you don't want to be blacklisted in other companies.

You don't because why waste your time.

You don't because you probably won't win.

You don't because if it's for money, it's peanuts.

You don't because you don't just yell out: "It's unfair, am gonna sue you!"

Back to OP: your friend needs to just suck it up. That's life, and there is nothing you can do about it.

This. You have no power over them, and it's their word vs yours. Best case you'll win and make headlines, blacklisting you from every future employer. Worst case no one gives a sh*t (the most likely case), you're blacklisted, and have the rep of becoming the one publicly outed butthurt finance kid post-Vayner.

Jan 24, 2011

Since when does the government need proof to indict people in finance

Jan 24, 2011

if he didn't get an offer, I wouldn't sue, but I would send HR an email and notify them that there was one interviewer who asked all these questions and he found it extremely inappropriate. Leave it at that and see where it goes...you could get lucky, and the loser who asked you those questions will likely find himself in a giant tubload of shit.

Jan 24, 2011

If I learned anything from this site, and from others in the industry it's that everyone is friends. You try to fuck the wrong guy and 10 mins later say bye to getting a job anywhere.

This reminds me of a similar thread couple months back, where the guy wanted to sue, too. He obviously decided not to for his own good.

Once I did bad and that I heard ever. Twice I did good and that I heard never.

Jan 24, 2011

i just don't see how this is inappropriate. you are hiring the person sitting across the table from you and expect this person to be reliable, diligent, and not negligible. if he wants to learn about you as a person, instead of your bullshit rehearsed "strengths and weaknesses", i think he has the right to. why would your friend be embarrassed to answer these questions? clearly, he is not cut out for ib if he can't handle this. seriously, america is breeding fucking pussies who are quick to bitch out and run to the law for help. get a grip.

fyi, i get asked all of these questions all of the time and don't mind speaking on my background. shit, beats facing brainteasers.

    • 1
    • 1
Jan 24, 2011

Only time i have heard this kind of douchiness was some douchebag at ML pressing kids for information for a Financial Advisor role. They want to know if your parents have money and connections. This dude actually was asking people if their parents had black cards. Basically the guy was using interview list of private school kids as leads.

Jan 24, 2011

Wait to see if he gets an offer. If not, contact the NLRB.

Jan 24, 2011

i've been asked such quest. but the interview was frm da same quest. i'm from; however, to be asked such quest. randomly is odd

Jan 24, 2011

Suing is dumb. But the threat of a suit? No company wants to deal with the negative publicity. Maybe he can blackmail his way into a job.

Jan 24, 2011
krauser:

Suing is dumb. But the threat of a suit? No company wants to deal with the negative publicity. Maybe he can blackmail his way into a job.

That's the start of a healthy working relationship right there.

    • 1
Jan 24, 2011
GoodBread:
krauser:

Suing is dumb. But the threat of a suit? No company wants to deal with the negative publicity. Maybe he can blackmail his way into a job.

That's the start of a healthy working relationship right there.

haha yeah, can't wait for your first performance review with the HR team whose company you just threatened to sue...

Jan 24, 2011

I imagine both parties getting lawyers for the performance review.

Anyway the company sounds like a dump. I wouldn't like to work in a place where the interview isn't even over and already a couple of laws have been broken.

Jan 24, 2011

There are millions of laws on the books. The interviewee probably broke several on the drive to the office.

Jan 24, 2011
DCDepository:

There are millions of laws on the books. The interviewee probably broke several on the drive to the office.

This. I broke like 4 laws before I even made it to class today.

Jan 24, 2011

I guess that makes it ok, my bad.

"Oh c'mon officer, there are millions of laws, I just broke 1 measly little one, who cares right?"

Jan 24, 2011

Lol can you imagine how different the responses to this would be if a landlord had asked the same questions.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Jan 24, 2011

personally, i've been asked some in-depth background questions in interviews (including where i grew up, what my parents do, and how i financed school...though this is probably because at the very bottom of my resume, after extra-curriculars, languages and skills/certifications, I include a laundry list of part-time jobs that I've worked in the last 4 years).

it didn't bother me. it just gave me more of an opportunity to talk about myself.

Jan 24, 2011
misscurious:

personally, i've been asked some in-depth background questions in interviews (including where i grew up, what my parents do, and how i financed school...though this is probably because at the very bottom of my resume, after extra-curriculars, languages and skills/certifications, I include a laundry list of part-time jobs that I've worked in the last 4 years).

it didn't bother me. it just gave me more of an opportunity to talk about myself.

+1 i actually bring up my background story first in my walk me through your resume because my story shows i bit and clawed my way up.

Jan 24, 2011

Correct.

Jan 24, 2011

its probably illegal but the moment you "sue" a company, your career is over with!!

alpha currency trader wanna-be

Jan 24, 2011

Although not exactly a question, I was once told that I looked much better in person than in my LinkedIn picture. This was like the first or second thing out of the managers mouth. FYI I'm a male and the manager was a married male as well.

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Jan 24, 2011

That's not weird. It is giving you the opportunity to address one of your strengths. You can set up a question for yourself to knock it down. For instance, "Why would I be a better candidate for the position over someone else?". You can use this to sell yourself one last time, that's basically what an interview is.

Jan 24, 2011

the question wasnt meant to be answered

Jan 24, 2011
GGopher21:

the question wasnt meant to be answered

I must not be understanding what you are asking. The way you stated it, it seemed like they were asking you what question they should have asked you that they didn't (or something along those lines) that would display your "interest/eagerness" in the position. NM I guess then.

Jan 24, 2011

How many best friends do you have?

Jan 24, 2011

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Jan 24, 2011

Played baseball in college and I had a guy ask me why I didnt play baseball at his college.

Jan 24, 2011

if you were going to be a tree, what kind would you be and why?

Jan 24, 2011

After several rounds of successful interviews, I met the "Head of" an Infrastructure PE fund in Europe for a final interview who asked me: "Where do you see yourself when you are going to be my age?"

I answered something like "Well, I would be thrilled to be in charge of a PE fund, Blah blah blah"..........Big Silence.........

The "Head of" looked at me and said "WRONG! you don't want do that!, the good answer was to be in a paradise island in the Carribeans, rich and surrounded by a GOOD DOZEN of NAKED GIRLS!!!"

That was fairly weird...

Jan 8, 2011
Machine:

After several rounds of successful interviews, I met the "Head of" an Infrastructure PE fund in Europe for a final interview who asked me: "Where do you see yourself when you are going to be my age?"

I answered something like "Well, I would be thrilled to be in charge of a PE fund, Blah blah blah"..........Big Silence.........

The "Head of" looked at me and said "WRONG! you don't want do that!, the good answer was to be in a paradise island in the Carribeans, rich and surrounded by a GOOD DOZEN of NAKED GIRLS!!!"

That was fairly weird...

You should have asked him how much he was worth. Now that would have been a weird interview question.

As to the OP, I had an interviewer ask me the EXACT same question. It was the last of about 5 or 6 interviewers that day, and it wasn't until the last interview that I realized they all seemed to have a common thread in one of their concerns about my candidacy. So when he asked me that question, I basically just re-iterated a previous question he (a several others had asked), which I had just now realized what they were worried about. So I said "well I noticed several of the people I met with wondered why X, and ... yadda yadda yadda."

Its basically like an interview lifeline. You can discuss a strength if you want, but what you should really be doing is trying to identify a common thread of weakness and addressing it. So when they go back to discuss and everyone is like well "he doesn't eat bologna, surely we can't hire him." The last interviewer will be like "actually, I asked him about that, and it turns out.... blah blah blah."

Jan 24, 2011
GGopher21:

So I'm wrapping up one of my timeslots at a superday and i get this question

"Whats the one question you would like me to ask you that i already haven't in order to determine how eager you are to work at firm X and how successful you'll be?"

I would actually ask tat to interviewers at the end of my interviews: "Is there anything that I can clear up for you that would show you that I would be a good fit for the job"

It was perfect because it left a really strong ending impression. It allowed me to take care of anything, and they usually would ask me where else I was interviewing which played out in my favor.

Jan 24, 2011

Reasons I would say are that I'm willing to work harder, I am not bringing preconceived notions in, etc.

Jan 24, 2011
futurectdoc:

Reasons I would say are that I'm willing to work harder, I am not bringing preconceived notions in, etc.

IDK... "I'm willing to work harder" seems like it would make you sound desperate.

Jan 8, 2011

Something along the lines of 'The school isn't the person doing the work.'

Jan 24, 2011

this.

Mr. Hansen:

Something along the lines of 'The school isn't the person doing the work.'

Jan 24, 2011

I usually say that I've had to work harder to get to where I am and cite very specific examples of excessive networking to line up interviews, working jobs + ECs while in school, etc.

Jan 24, 2011
makers mark:

I usually say that I've had to work harder to get to where I am and cite very specific examples of excessive networking to line up interviews, working jobs + ECs while in school, etc.

...and the Harvard/Stanford/Wharton grad didn't?

Jan 24, 2011
CapToed:
makers mark:

I usually say that I've had to work harder to get to where I am and cite very specific examples of excessive networking to line up interviews, working jobs + ECs while in school, etc.

...and the Harvard/Stanford/Wharton grad didn't?

I have yet to meet a HYPS kid who's had to cold-call 100+ boutiques or sneak into career fairs at targets... because they're already at a target. I'm not saying that they don't work hard, but they don't have to do as much to get interviews.

Jan 24, 2011

You don't know what the other guy can do. Say what you can do. Even draw attention to the fact you know nothing about him.

Your advantage over someone with less experience? That's your edge, creativity, something completely different. The big schools go with the same professors = same output each year. Clonesaplenty.

Jan 7, 2011

I would add that you are probably a lot cheaper than the MBA grad.

Jan 24, 2011

Ouch tough Q and very hard to answer.. but I find it's a bit unfair to ask this question to a recent undergraduate.
I've come across this before, and it seems like the interviewer already has more qualified applicants applying and he's just being a prick to you..

Jan 24, 2011

Obnoxious questions like this get asked in S&T interviews all the time. Traders are allowed to do this because everyone knows there's a certain lack of social graces; I am surprised to see it coming from PE where folks are required to make their living largely off of soft skills. Here's a sample answer that might go over well:

I'm really glad you asked that. A few years ago, I was earning $10/hour mowing lawns. I know the value of a dollar and how much value I need to deliver to earn the kind of money you guys are paying. I'm hungrier and I'm going to take less for granted. If you want someone with a few years of experience that may or may not be relevant and an expensive degree which may or may not be helpful, a Harvard MBA might be a good choice. But you're looking for a better alternative- that's why you've stayed open-minded about who you'd interview, and a hungry college kid like me just might be your man.

This question is a lot easier to answer if you've got confidence going into the interview. Some people start with more of it than others, but you'll pick it up as the early part of your career progresses.

The bottom line is that the interviewer is mildly bored and is putting things bluntly- trying to find a reason to consider you rather than the competition. Or he's trying to gauge how much grace you've got under pressure. Or he is an ass and wants some other guy to get the job. It's a difficult question for an untrained college student to have to dance through, but if you can answer it with grace, sobriety, a little bit of assertiveness, and a smile, you've either earned the interviewer's respect- or he at least knows you're a force to be reckoned with in the decision process. The fact that you are a 22-year-old college kid up against 26-year-old MBAs is really a compliment that should make you smile, if anything.

Jan 8, 2011
IlliniProgrammer:

Traders are allowed to do this because everyone knows there's a certain lack of social graces;

Not sure whether to be flattered or offended...

Jan 24, 2011

Not an akward question at all, just tell him you went to HYP and within a few years you'll be his superior then point and laugh

Jan 24, 2011

it really depends on your background... what's your age / experience level?

Jan 24, 2011

.

Jan 24, 2011

These are the questions you should excel at. (Assuming you didn't go to H/Y/P/S/W, etc. (Assuming you didn't because he's asking why he should pick you over the other person)) This is the time to tell him how hard you've worked to be competing against the other H/Y/P person and how you'll continue that hard work through your professional career with the firm.

I think that we are all clinging to a great many piano tops...

Jan 24, 2011

respond with: why did they hire you, instead of someone that actually asks legitimate, value-added questions during interviews?

Jan 24, 2011

person was just a bitch that didnt want me to get job.

Jan 24, 2011

The hot dog question is bang on - I have a similar one in my back pocket.

"When there's adrenaline involved and the blood flows rapidly towards a man's penis, in which direction does the head tilt first and why?"

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Jan 24, 2011

Wow, that may be the best one I've heard! I seriously don't know how I would reply to that. To the right I guess?

Jan 24, 2011
silverbuck898:

Wow, that may be the best one I've heard! I seriously don't know how I would reply to that. To the right I guess?

...clearly down

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Jan 24, 2011
Big5Rep:

The hot dog question is bang on - I have a similar one in my back pocket.

"When there's adrenaline involved and the blood flows rapidly towards a man's penis, in which direction does the head tilt first and why?"

Best reply you heard so far?

Jan 24, 2011

"Calling HR"....

Jan 24, 2011

I guess I meant heard of lol. Not necessarily just on here.

Jan 24, 2011

Depends on which or whose head we're talking about.

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Jan 24, 2011

bingo.

Jan 24, 2011

What the hell do you mean by "which" lol

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

Jan 24, 2011

I've got two heads. The one on my neck will probably tilt backwards. The one between my legs will rise upwards. So if we are talking about me, it depends on "which" one we are talking about for me to answer the question correctly :)

Jan 24, 2011

Made me burst into a short laugh. SB'd

Jan 24, 2011

Towards the nearest vagina.

Best Response
Jan 24, 2011

rubbish man, I would go with:

  • Is the reason you is against abortion is because you yourself was aborted?
  • Do you think there are any skinheads that aren't gay?
  • Why did jesus go round wit all dem reindeer?
  • do you tink all woman should try feminism at least once?
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Jan 24, 2011

big up yoself, respek

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Jan 24, 2011

boo-yah ka-shah

Jan 24, 2011

It's hard to be a dick in a politically correct way without getting fired... I've had about 5 min of writer's block. I give up.

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Jan 24, 2011

One of the senior analysts asked "can I facetime you" for a phone interview just to catch the interviewee off guard and see how they would respond

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Jan 24, 2011

I would ask what a candidate thinks about "gender pay gap". It's actually a good question to test if a candidate has at least basic understanding of statistics and basic critical thinking ability.

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Jan 24, 2011

Too politic though.... you can recite statistics on both ends and you being right or wrong depends entirely on the political leanings of someone else.

Jan 24, 2011

Would you rather eat shit flavored ice cream, or chocolate flavored shit?

"We listen, if it feels good we shake."
"This town is nuts, my kind of place."
-WSMFP

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Jan 24, 2011

Chocolate flavored shit. At least it tastes like chocolate.

Jan 24, 2011

1) What's the funniest politically incorrect joke you know and why?

2) Prove why Black Scholes doesn't offer a closed form solution to American Options.

3) What's the meaning of life?

4) What's in my pocket?

5) What gives you away when you lie?

6) Mathematically demonstrate why you can turn a sphere inside out, but you can't turn a circle inside out.

If I were senior enough/had the balls;

1) You have two condoms, how can you arrange it so that yourself and two of your mates (three people in total); use them safely (i.e. no double ups)?

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Jan 24, 2011
setarcos:

1) What's the funniest politically incorrect joke you know and why?

2) Prove why Black Scholes doesn't offer a closed form solution to American Options.

3) What's the meaning of life?

4) What's in my pocket?

5) What gives you away when you lie?

6) Mathematically demonstrate why you can turn a sphere inside out, but you can't turn a circle inside out.

If I were senior enough/had the balls;

1) You have two condoms, how can you arrange it so that yourself and two of your mates (three people in total); use them safely (i.e. no double ups)?

"What gives you away when you lie" would be great to ask at the start of the interview.

Jan 24, 2011

1) You have two condoms, how can you arrange it so that yourself and two of your mates (three people in total); use them safely (i.e. no double ups)?

You use one condom and the 1st mate uses the other condom to mate with the 2rd mate?

Jan 24, 2011

Can I fuck the interns?

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Jan 24, 2011

Rank the seven dwarfs from Snow White in terms of most employable for this position and describe why.

That'll get em'

Jan 24, 2011

Relationship in the value of debt with respect to the value of equity.

Jan 24, 2011

Listen, I was unaware that I had an appointment with you fine people today. As it turns out I have another engagement: I plan to get DRUNK!

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Jan 24, 2011

Would you rather be the shit of the kings or the king of the shits?

Jan 24, 2011

"Would you rather fight a hundred duck-sized horses or a horse-sized duck?"

Legitimate closing question we used back in the day.

Jan 24, 2011

duck sized horses

Jan 24, 2011

@Equities_in_Dallas_51 Horse sized duck. Ducks have their necks exposed and no real way to defend against a frontal blow to the jugular. Easy kill.

Jan 24, 2011

Would you rather have a nipple sized penis or penis sized nipples?

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Jan 24, 2011

Would you rather have a nipple sized penis or penis sized nipples?

Jan 24, 2011

Which is greater? 17% of 34, or 34% of 17?

Actual question I ask during phone screens, you wouldn't believe how many start to do the math in their head. Just think about it for a minute...

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Jan 24, 2011

In a fairness, that's a maths trick some children never got told by the teachers

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

Jan 24, 2011
kayz08:

In a fairness, that's a maths trick some children never got told by the teachers

I don't see it as a trick. I see it as a logic problem. You're talking about percentages of numbers, so just change the numbers: 1% of 100, 100% of 1.

Jan 24, 2011

Solved in less than a second its kinda easy when percieved as simple multiplication

Jan 24, 2011

"Okay, here's the shot out of the cannon: Oprah, Barbara Walters, your wife. You gotta fuck one, marry one, kill one, go! "

"How much money do you make a year, before taxes?"

"Have you ever farted on an airplane?"

"Are you currently harboring any fugitives?"

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Jan 24, 2011

Does money buy happiness?

Jan 24, 2011

Wasn't a question I asked, but my response to an interviewee's question for our upcoming SA program:

Her: I've talked to some of your prior interns about this, but in your words, how does your firm think about mentorship and communication with interns?
Me: We feel that verbal abuse is the best policy.

Jan 24, 2011

What was her response?

Jan 24, 2011

She just laughed. In her follow up email she mentioned that the prior interns had warned her about my humor.

Jan 24, 2011

Cash me oussah, how bow dah?

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Jan 24, 2011

These are the questions that you would ask during rush to weed out the weird kids.

Jan 24, 2011

I once had this smokeshow girl ask me "Do people hate you?"

Jan 24, 2011

How long was your last relationship and why did it end?

How do you feel about vegans?

Are you self-aware?

What's your view on the Iran-Contra affair?

Should Bill Clinton have been impeached?

I'm starting my own firm. I'm actually about to tell the floor in about 20 min. I need to know if you're with me.

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Jan 24, 2011

I think I have a rash on my balls. Can you please take a look?

Jan 24, 2011

My favorite "fit" question is "what kind of watches do you like?"

Insta-dump if the answer is rolex/omega/tag.

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Jan 24, 2011

What would be acceptable? Patek, AP, Vacheron?

Jan 24, 2011

I wear a vintage Omega from the 60s.

Is there something wrong with that?

Jan 24, 2011

Says the guy that wears a Hublot

Jan 24, 2011
Jan 24, 2011

Yes or no questions answers only.

Have you ever had sugar or PCP?

Jan 24, 2011

How would you redesign the giraffe?

Jan 24, 2011

Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or an army of duck-sized horses?

Jan 24, 2011

Me: Duck Tales

Interviewee: Uhm what?

Me: I will forward your information to HR and go from there thank you.

Next guy

Me: Duck Tales

Interviewee: Woo Woo

Me: (In my mind) this is the guy.

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Jan 24, 2011

number one is maybe unethical.

Other stuff, no.
2-> to make sure you're not a stiff
3-> also to make sure you have other interests!

Jan 24, 2011

where did you grow up isn't crossing the line or anything but it probably shouldn't be asked. i was asked the other two questions numerous times. clearly my interviewers didn't want to give an offer to a kid that a robot and does nothing besides bury themselves in books. you need to be somewhat outgoing and can actually talk to people in a non-finance manner. extracurriculars are very standard from my experience with interviews. all that stuff is on the person's resume anyway, the interviewer just wants you to elaborate on your experience to make sure you didn't just sign your name on a email list and pretend youre in the "club" or whatever it is.

Jan 24, 2011

none of these questions are off limits...... in fact i think i got all three in almost every interview i had.......

Jan 24, 2011

I have been told by HR not to ask the first question because you can infer socio economic status from the answer i.e. somebody answers Greenwich or Harlem

Jan 24, 2011

Illegal questions include:

-Age
-Nationality (including native tongue)
-Marital status
-Affiliations
-Disability

However, there are many ways to get around these questions. Question one can get dicey if they are using it for nationality, and not because they think they went to the same highschool as you.

Jan 24, 2011

Maybe 1 is off limits, but then again it helps personify you more. I grew up in a different country up till 9 yrs old, some ppl can relate, so it might be a good thing to ask, as in the person is showing interest.

I thought you were going to say something along the lines of what my friend had. He was working for a privately held portfolio company of a PE fund during the summer. He an interview with a boutique IB shop for a FT and the VP there was just fishing for information, said straight up we are not looking to hire. Then goes on to ask 30 questions about the firm. What is the revenue, expenses, etc. Guy said he can't answer, no dice on any 2nd rnd or anything like that.

Funny thing was the guy got the summer job because of his dad who is an MD at the fund that owned the firm, same reason he got the interview. Week later the VP calls the father and says "we have a lot of ideas we would like to show you about xyz company." The father flipped, "you expect me to sit here and listen to you, after you insult my son. I'm never doing business with you again."

Jan 24, 2011

Questions about nationality are not allowed, while work authorization questions are. So if you wanna know if someone is from the U.S. or from abroad, just ask about work authorization. Of course, if someone has a green card and is not a U.S. citizen, you won't be able to find out or ask them about it.

Jan 24, 2011

I don't think there is anything wrong with those, but I can see why #1 would be questionable. However, I think some interviewers would use it just to get to know you better, not to judge you. It can be part of the "Tell me about yourself" question.

Jan 24, 2011

Looking back at my interviewer packet from last Fall, #1 is off-limits but the others are kosher (according to HR). I have been asked #1 before in PE / HF interviews though.

Jan 24, 2011

I go to a state school. An MD said to me "the girls must be pretty hot at your school, huh?"

Jan 24, 2011

It's also illegal for interviewers to look at you during the interview, since this might allow them to discern your age and gender.

Jan 24, 2011

.

Jan 24, 2011

It seems like there are so many restrictions these days you can't even have a normal ice-breaking conversation. I agree that #1 may be questionable, but it's not strictly illegal. It gives you just enough rope to hang yourself if you're not thinking clearly. (Like you could answer "Indiana" or you could be stupid and say "Gary, Indiana.") #2 and 3 are common.

If you really want ILLEGAL, one interviewer actually asked if I plan on getting married and having kids. HA.

Jan 24, 2011
LizzieJane:

If you really want ILLEGAL, one interviewer actually asked if I plan on getting married and having kids. HA.

What did you say?

Jan 24, 2011

what about "so....do you think you've got the job?"

Jan 24, 2011

He was a male interviewer who had been flirty throughout the interview. So I was a little coy and flirted back while not directly answering the question. He took it well, even called me after the interview process was over to ask me out.