Cringiest shit you have ever said in an interview!


I was wondering what was the cringiest/funniest thing you have said or heard in an interview.

For me it was my first interview at a PE. I had my finals in the same week and had not much time to study anything. I did really well at the technical but I knew literally nothing about ther company.

Which was pretty bad since 75% of the interview were case studies about which companies would be a good fit based on previous investments and industry expertise. Not knowing there investment tickets nor there general criteria I failed miserably. Especially since it were multiple interviews across two separate days.

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Comments (97)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 21, 2020 - 10:46am

My first ever IB interview sophomore year I had no idea what IB was and just applied to financey looking postings on our school job board. They asked me what investment banks do and I said "I don't know" and they asked me to walk through a DCF and I didn't know either. Never felt more stupid after in my entire life as I thought that it would just be easy behavioral questions like a normal interview. Little did I know lol. Still look back to those first interviews and cringe.

  • Financial Advisor in IA
Sep 21, 2020 - 11:04am

In college, I interviewed as a clerk at a small law firm. It was a late afternoon interview and I had classes that morning. I was tired. I researched the firm online early that day. 

At the interview with the managing partner, we were talking and I asked him where he went to law school, he said "Baylor" and I said "Yeah, I saw that online." 


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  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Sep 21, 2020 - 12:32pm

One of my first banking superdays, I get asked the typical "Why Banking?" question. I give the rehearsed answer and then add "and to make sure companies like WeWork don't have bungled IPOs," because there was a major headline that morning and I thought I was being all smart and looking like I kept up with the news. Guess what bank and MD were handling the WeWork IPO...

Moral of the story: If you're interviewing at a bank, make sure you don't tell the MDs that they're chunking a deal

Sep 21, 2020 - 2:42pm

I got this as a response from an older guy that applied for an operating position. He's been jobless since March and I guess this explains it.

Wow!  I was working on this problem, but didn't get the data all organized yet.  Sorry!  This is quite extensive and I hope you are paying the person who will be doing this much better than what the listed pay range was.

For reference, it was a problem that someone with entry level VLOOKUP/SUMIF/Pivot Table knowledge could solve. The job posting even emphasis that they'll be tested on it.

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  • 2
Sep 21, 2020 - 3:19pm

Sweating profusely.

Not something I said but was still embarrassing looking like I just got out of a hot tub. 

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  • Intern in Other
Sep 21, 2020 - 3:47pm

This was at my internship not an interview. But we were all at a bar after our meetings and the partner asked why I want to do private equity. I talked about how it was after watching Barbarians at the Gate yadda yadda. He does a sarcastic chuckle and was like "I have no idea what about that movie makes you attracted to PE." I kinda stumbled and backtracked and just said I learned about the industry from it lol. Not sure if it was cringe but it was to me.

Sep 21, 2020 - 6:04pm

Was interviewing at a relatively posh investment bank and they had a spread of food in the waiting area for candidates before interviews. It being one of my first interviews ever, as the Director walked me out, I mentioned that I had not had lunch and proceeded to make myself a spread and eat after the interview. Even more cringeworthy, I asked for feedback when I did not advance...

  • Prospect in PE - LBOs
Sep 21, 2020 - 7:31pm

You can make it more interesting by taking some food away after you finish your meal.

Sep 21, 2020 - 9:03pm

Lmao it's more sad than funny. This took place last year, when I was a sophomore. See I already had another offer for the summer and was feeling pretty confident (read arrogant) so I go in there make a fool of myself being all nonchalant, he asks me a question, I just give a bullshit answer, or make some stupid joke. I was trying to be a bro with this VP and he was being gracious, he ends it with do you have 'any questions for me?' I say nah, literally say 'nah I'm good. It was nice to meet you tho.' He politely smiles and says to me enjoy the rest of your day. I walk out didn't think much of it and meet up with some friends. Here's the kicker, my other internship gets canceled because of COVID, so was left without an internship my sophomore summer.

  • Analyst 2 in CB
Sep 21, 2020 - 9:36pm

I asked why I received two job descriptions that I didn't apply to and got told its because I don't meet the minimum qualifications. I thought that was kind of cringe. The interview is still happening though.

Sep 21, 2020 - 9:45pm

Just here to see if anyone said "Ok Boomer" 

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • Intern in CorpFin
Sep 21, 2020 - 9:54pm

Was asked about a recent merger I thought was successful, freaked out and proceeded to make one up. Was instantly called out on it as I was asked to recount details of the deal. Interview ended pretty shortly thereafter.

Sep 21, 2020 - 10:09pm

I had a sophomore BB IB interview a few years back. I was running on zero sleep from studying and my mind was definitely not all the way awake. In the interview with an analyst, I used the word "conversate" rather than "converse". Analyst totally called me out on it LOL. I was mortified at the time but I laugh at it now. Good times.

Sep 22, 2020 - 12:40am

So i had one interview where I called in extremely chipper and confident... and then the interviewer got nervous and started stuttering.. and then I got nervous and started stuttering as a result of his nerves... suffice to say, I would make a great cultural fit there.

  • Intern in PropTrad
Sep 22, 2020 - 5:05am

+sb for the laugh out loud. I can literally imagine it hahaha

Oct 24, 2020 - 1:22am

Haha this is so underrated. I've seen when analysts and associates would get asked by HR to interview candidates, some get oddly nervous and tend to ask weird questions to candidates at times for god knows what reason. A lot of the super dickish technical questions and weird brain teasers I've seen asked have been from interviewers like this (when I was a co-interviewer) and I would always shoot a glance at them as to why they were going that direction lol. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 22, 2020 - 3:58am

Told the person IB is a sales job. He flamed me for that. Also, he asked me to talk about a deal and asked me who the target was. I said the price of the acquisition instead of the company acquired and he had to clarify what "target" meant. 

  • Associate 3 in PE - Other
Sep 22, 2020 - 9:40am

I had an interview with was a one-way video interview where they had generated questions and then you recorded your answers and submitted them. I hate video interviews to begin with...but talking to yourself in the camera is terrible. I was flustered after a pretty simple question (forget what it even was) and started stuttering/couldn't answer - I just shut off the camera and emailed the recruiter at Coatue saying I had technical issues and couldn't finish, but I wasn't interested in the job anymore / thanks for your time, etc.

Sep 22, 2020 - 10:54am

On a banking superday I was asked "why IB now instead of PE?" (b/c I was coming from a 6-month internship in PE secondaries), I don't remember the exact wording but my answer was along the lines of "PE dives too deep in company research and I'd rather do some more 'superficial' analysis and move onto the next transaction" and it came off as if bankers were just half-assing salesmen, so they spat back "oh and bankers don't do thorough analysis?" in the harshest tone and I knew I was out.

On another occasion I was asked to talk about a company I like in LATAM and I was fresh off the plane from a stint in Europe and hadn't done any reading whatsoever of LATAM companies, so I mumbled something about SpaceX having disrupted commercial satellite launching and reigniting a dormant industry, but they saw right through my BS.

"El subdesarrollo de América Latina proviene de la estupidez de los 'revolucionarios' que continúan alimentándolo." - Eduardo Galeano, probably not

  • 2
Sep 27, 2020 - 5:09pm

"I'm interested in getting a broader view of the market and seeing more of the competitive playing field." 

I guess, I don't know, in doing real estate, but that's how I'd answer if I were talking to debt people v. development (aka shorter term engagements versus longer term projects). 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 21, 2020 - 1:21am

I got asked that since I was coming off a PE internship that previous summer and was interviewing for IB. I basically told them I needed to learn how to walk before I ran. Being in IB gives you a lot of reps in that work comes and then work goes, and in that repetition, you build strong skills mechanically in doing shit and then analysis wise. You get a much broader view of companies as well and then know what to look for when you go into PE. Because IB is about churning the work and closing deals, PE you actually have to think about the company and how it plays in the broader scheme of things. So yeah, something along those lines but make it sound nice. 

Sep 22, 2020 - 11:33am

I went to HYP, but didn't take any finance classes, so had zero accounting background. Was interviewing at a middle market debt fund, and was given a short case study that involved a snap shot of a company's financials. I literally had no idea what I was looking at. The interviewer asked me if I had any questions - so I was honest "what do the numbers in parenthesis mean?" Ha. "Those are negative numbers". Perfect, thanks.

Didn't get the offer.

I also managed to get a first round interview at Sequoia, and to be honest I had no idea the caliber of firm, etc that I was interviewing with. Looking back on that, I don't even remember how the interview went, but I can imagine it was a train wreck. Embarrassing. 

Sep 22, 2020 - 12:47pm

I don't remember specific details, but in Jan 2015 I was interviewing with Lazard for a SA position. I was very clear in the first interview (all behavioral questions) that I was one week into my financial accounting and introduction to finance classes. The previous semster I tried to learn these on my own through Coursera, but I was still pretty green having no professional education. Super Day comes around later that month (and keep in mind this is my first IB Super Day) and it was an absolute blood bath. I was grilled on technicals, valuation methods, etc. and I had literally no idea what I was doing. I absolutely did not get an offer, but the experience helped me realize how much more effort I needed to put into future interviews!

Short answer: everything I said in that interview. 

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Sep 22, 2020 - 2:32pm

I had a final round interview with an MD at a RE investment firm. 

MD: We have a very entrepreneurial culture. 

Me: Oh great, I come from a family of entrepreneurs so that's definitely something I would be interested in. 

*awkward pause*


I meant to say that I would fit in well with the culture but it came off like I was saying I wanted to start my own company.  

  • Prospect in Other
Sep 22, 2020 - 4:49pm

Was doing a HireVue for a BB internship. I had a scheduled call for first round with a HF ~75 minutes later so I figured I had some time and it would get me in the zone of conversing and answering questions. Breezing through the HireVue and was in the middle of answering the second to last question when my phone starts ringing and I realize it's the HF. Turns out, I didn't clarify timezones and my phone call was an hour earlier than I expected. I freaked out and said "oh shit" while the HireVue was still recording and ended the question before picking up the HF call. Somehow, still made the next round.

Sep 22, 2020 - 7:03pm

Was doing a HireVue for a BB internship. I had a scheduled call for first round with a HF ~75 minutes later so I figured I had some time and it would get me in the zone of conversing and answering questions. Breezing through the HireVue and was in the middle of answering the second to last question when my phone starts ringing and I realize it's the HF. Turns out, I didn't clarify timezones and my phone call was an hour earlier than I expected. I freaked out and said "oh shit" while the HireVue was still recording and ended the question before picking up the HF call. Somehow, still made the next round.

The HR rep screening the HireVues probably realized what happened - you having another phone interview made you seem like a worthy candidate, and is probably why you moved to the next round. 

Lucky coincidence tbh, some HR reps wouldn't have picked up on that 

Sep 22, 2020 - 6:48pm

haha back when I was applying for internships. I was in the final round interview with Greenhill made it through the the technicals without a breeze. Final interviewer then asked me about a m&a deal by GHL which I was most interested in... you can imagine i didn't think of one haha

Sep 22, 2020 - 7:18pm

This literally happened last week. I was at an IB superday. I had done zero prep because I already had an offer that I accepted, so I didn't really care. Interviewer asks me "is there any deal of theirs that I find interesting" and I responded with "no I didnt know of any deals done by them, due to covid i didnt have access to things like capiq and bloomberg". He follows up with "is there any deal that I find interesting in general" and I proceed to talk about a deal done by their rival

Sep 22, 2020 - 7:28pm

Nice job asserting dominance, you got that big dick energy. I tried to do something similar but didn't work (I got to a non target) and ended up with no internship this past summer. C'est la vie.

  • Intern in RE - Other
Sep 23, 2020 - 1:57pm

Were you planning on reneging the old offer if you got one from the superday? I currently have two exploding offers and a number of superdays coming up and I'm not sure how to approach it.

Sep 23, 2020 - 2:52pm

Not at all. My first offer was at a much better bank in terms of pay, deal flow, everything.I only did the super day because I thought it would look rude if I bailed on a super day like 2 days before it happened

Weigh the pros and cons of each offer. If you're looking for an internship, the deal flow and culture are most important. Don't fall into a higher pay trap.

  • Research Analyst in PE - Other
Sep 22, 2020 - 11:54pm

Ah man I have a good one here. Junior year in undergrad I had an on-campus interview with a large F100 Pharma company for their FLDP program co-op.

It was the first interview I had ever given for a college level job. The interview was mostly behavioral questions and one easy technical question which I screwed up.

At the time I used to have an objective box on my resume and I was sending the same exact generic version of my resume to every firm recruiting on campus. For some reason this company give me an interview even though the objective box literally said "Purpose- to seek an internship with an investment banking, private equity, or investment management firm"

As you might have guessed, the first question in the interview was "this seems like a Wall Street resume.....why are you here?" I said some nonsense along the lines of "Pharma companies help people, and I'd like to help people'' mind you this guy was not convinced whatsoever.

Second question was like "What do you know about XX Pharma co?" I literally listed the names of 4 of my professors who also happened to have a day job working for the said Pharma co. Both of my interviewers had absolutely no idea who those individuals were.

At this point I was asked a softball technical question which I managed to fuck up. Slowly and steadily the interview became more and more awkward as it went on. They surprisingly tried to play it off as nicely as they could. Still lasted like 30 mins.

Long story short I managed to get a hedge fund internship that summer, so who cares I jumbled a F100 Pharma gig?

Single most awkward interview that I have had to date. 

  • 1
Sep 25, 2020 - 5:44pm

LOL at this, dude this wasn't a very self aware move. You ever consider the fact that it was disrespectful of you to waste their time interviewing for a position that you had no intent in taking? And then to come out and say that during the interview, then get pissed at them for checking out. This is an amazing post. You've gotta have a bit more emotional intelligence. 

  • 2
Sep 23, 2020 - 11:34pm

So my very first interview for IB, I talked with all the alumni work for that firm which includes the person who interviewed me. Small talk first and then he asked "why don't you tell me about yourself and why IBD and our firm"? after that, he asked me if I have any questions for him and I asked some. Then he was like alright, me"do you wanna ask me some technical" so he started asking me some basic ones, how to value a company, DCF, LBO, working capital etc. 

When he asked me what is investment banking what does IB do, I was confused because I didn't know how to answer that so he repeated twice and I gave a bullshit short answer. Then he asked me what's a good debt which I also didn't know so I pretend there is a phone cutoff and he repeated again and I answered why company would choose to issue stock instead of borrowing debt.... It's so embarrassing since I talked with him before and many other people but didn't prepare well

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Sep 24, 2020 - 3:28am

Last fall, I was interested in IB but didn't know how to get there or what I was supposed to know so I just applied to any finance related job as a sophomore summer internship. Interviewed at a hedge fund for their compliance role. Botched the only finance question asked because I never thought to actually learn about finance...."can you tell me the difference between stocks and bonds"? Needless to say I didn't get the job but it gave me a slap of reality that helped me immensely in IB recruiting this spring!

Sep 24, 2020 - 5:40pm

I said this in a similar thread, but I had an interviewer actually ask me my hobbies. I said the standard "golf, traveling, netflix, working out, etc." and ended it with "reading." Typically, I actually do read, but at the time, I was wrapping up grad school. Between crazy hours trying to finish my final project and the partying/playing video games/applying for jobs every day that followed, I hadn't read a book in months. He asked me what I had read lately and my dumb ass just froze. I couldn't think of a book for at least 2-3 long seconds and by the time I spit one out (I think I said "Zero to One") it was pretty obvious I was full of shit. 

Lying to make yourself look smarter in interviews, or looking like you're lying to make yourself look smarter, isn't a good look. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Sep 25, 2020 - 1:59pm

Kind of long one here but still makes people that know and know the individuals involved laugh.

Associate Intern 2nd round with a real "Karen" that worked in the back office but inserted herself into the IB process. She was on the School's Advisory Board and also took charge of the recruiting team for that BB at the school. "Karen" wasn't a fan of mine from the start but I had gotten along well with the other MD during informational interviews and we had a rapport. 

Got the softball of why IB and just gave a very rehearsed answer that seemed to resonate with enough other BB's (unintended weird flex...)

"Karen":  I think you are just doing this for the money

Me: (In my mind: Of course I am. Why else would anyone put themselves through this pain?) Not really, I took one job early in my life for money and it didn't work out well. 

"Karen":  What was that?

Me: I don't want to get into specifics but it involved working on a farm.

"Karen": So you are saying you are afraid of hard work?

Me: Not at all. It was just particularly unenviable and I learned early there is more to life than money (there really isn't...). I need to find something that I am passionate about and hope that it provides a decent standard of living.

"Karen": Why can't you just tell us what it is? It can't be that bad. You sound evasive.

Me: (Taking a deep breath and figuring there was no way out of this) Well, I spent a couple of days castrating hogs on my Dad's buddy's farm. It was really messy work and I got crapped on more than a few times. 


Me: Karen, you know what that is like right?

MD: Ok, well let's talk technicals

I got a call that afternoon from the MD telling me I wasn't going to get an internship offer but after the summer if I needed a job, please call him. It was one of the funniest things he heard in interviewing and thinks I would be a great addition to his team. 

I wasn't sure if the comment was what made me a great addition or the fact that I had castrated hogs and been shit on before for money. 

In the end it worked out for the best for me and I have a story of sticking it to "Karen" that still makes me smile.

Sep 25, 2020 - 2:35pm

As a tip for all the young guys and girls on here reading this, just remember:

Grades are important generally speaking but if you're successfully lining up interviews and an exam or finals come around, please take a step back and think about where your greatest upside is.  Do you think it makes a difference in life if you get a B- in a class because you did minimal studying and instead prepared like a beast for a superday?  Just think about the life trajectory you'll have created for yourself if you nail 3 super days and have a few options VS. acing a stupid exam while bombing job interviews and never getting called back.  You're not going to med school.... the A vs a B or even a C does not matter at all.... you already created the interview opportunity.  Don't mess it up.

Sep 25, 2020 - 2:56pm

I was applying for a real estate private equity gig and they asked me, "What do you think is the main factor that affects real estate prices?" I honestly had no idea, so I said climate change. "If there are tornados and natural disasters, real estate can take a serious hit." 

  • Intern in S&T - Comm
Sep 25, 2020 - 4:58pm

"What animal best represents you"

I had no clue and we were just talking about how I'm from Wisconsin, and I blanked so I said "a cow." Not the worst answer I guess, but I backed it up by saying that cows are useful and that they're worshiped in some parts of the world. 

I basically said that I have a god complex in the middle of an interview. 

Sep 26, 2020 - 7:39am

I also might have  good one. I once applied in Equity Research at UBS and they interviewed me and the interview went a couple of hours. Interviewers were VPs and two Assocs and we made a short break which I never experienced yet during an interview but I liked their way to do it.

So, imagine you had a great interview with the VP and the assocs and the VP really likes you and asks you to grab a coffee at the canteen and do some small talk. I went down with him and I was like "Dude, he invites you for coffee, you got this for sure, just make a cool impression now etc. and stay calm..."

At the coffee machine he was like "How do you like it? With milk or sugar or both?" and he even wanted to pay for me. I tried to be cool for the first time in my life and just replied in a casual way "Nah, I like my coffee the same way I like my girls: Black without sugar." Well, needless to say, they are really proud of their diversity and gender stuff, and this comment just didn't work out to be funny for him.

The next two hours in the interview were just horrible and I didn't know if I should cry or start laughing to make the situation better, but he just starred me down during the technicals and I knew he hated me for saying that. Got the rejection via mail on my flight home.

Sep 26, 2020 - 3:21pm

Interviewing (first serious interview ever) a long time ago (early 2000's) at a BB for an ECM FT job. Got the question on the first interview: "tell me, what makes a share go up and down". For whatever reason, I got completely  blank...only able to answer "greed and fear". The interviewer (very senior) was kind enough to keep on and made me elaborate on it. Not a nice spot to be in. And good bye to that one.

Sep 26, 2020 - 5:22pm

Last week the hiring manager for a position I'm considering said he wanted to do final round in person at a restaurant since the firm hadn't set up an office in my city yet. I said, "Sounds great, we will just have to dodge all the coughing people." Crickets after I said that but I had killed the rest of the interview so well I advanced to the next round lol.

  • Research Analyst in PE - Other
Sep 26, 2020 - 7:13pm

In person interviews are back? No idea this was happening....

A lot of people got hired completely virtually over the summer and I am extremely envious of them.

Sep 27, 2020 - 5:55pm

I called the school where one of the interviewers went a "cult". Did not get the job, do not recommend this approach.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

  • Research Analyst in PE - Other
Sep 27, 2020 - 6:32pm

Which school did you refer to as a cult? Notre Dame?

Sep 27, 2020 - 8:30pm

Exactly. I did get some laughs from the other interviewers though.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Sep 30, 2020 - 11:37pm

Interviewed for a trading job, and the interviewer asked me to design my ideal work day and how to split it between trading, research, operational work, etc. I gave trading 20% and said I felt that it wasn't intellectually challenging enough.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Oct 4, 2020 - 1:26am

I interviewed for MBB in my senior year. Already had a FT offer from IBD so I went in those consulting interviews pretty relaxed but also without much prep.  The consultants who interviewed me kept asking me all these mental math questions, interviewer after interviewer. When I was asked for the fourth time that day to yet solve another mental math problem, I kinda snapped and barked, "Why are you asking me these questions? Don't you guys use Excel? How does this make be a better consultant?" Surely, I didn't get the offer. 

Oct 4, 2020 - 1:57pm

Not sure I've ever said anything THAT bad...but recently I was speaking with someone at a firm I was interested in (IBD) and they mentioned how much work the group is doing with sponsors without their sponsor group involved. I said something to the effect of "yeah that's cool but would be nice if they could do the work beyond midnight." They laughed it off but I was kind of serious.

  • Associate 2 in RE - Comm
Oct 9, 2020 - 2:27pm

Once i was interviewing for an analyst position for a real estate investment firm in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I think I was 22 years old. The guy interviewing me, we will call him Bob, was close friends with a mentor of mine, who we will call Fred. At the time of this interview, Fred was working for a brokerage firm in Center City Philly, but had formally worked at this real estate investment firm in the suburbs with Bob, hence how they knew eachother. Now keep in mind, in Philly you are either a suburban guy, or a city guy, because working and living in those two separate worlds is a commuter's worst nightmare.

This connection oobviously came up in the interview and Bob said something along the lines of; "oh yeah, Fred, he's a great guy who left us for Broker about two years ago. How's he doing these days? I guess he thought the grass was greener working for Broker in the city."

I said: "haha yeah, well in the city there is no grass!"

I dont know why I said that, but I still cringe about that moment to this day.

Oct 10, 2020 - 11:14am

If was the interviewer I actually would have thought that was a hilarious joke and would have given you credit for being clever

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