Cringiest thing you’ve ever done in an interview

since we are on quarantine, why not get a couple of laughs/cringes in. wondering your guys' cringiest things you've ever done or said in an interview.

for me, it was more of a coffee chat at a top bank. I was really tryna vibe with the person I was talking to and tried to come off as bro-y as he was kind of bro-y. anyway, I've said "oh shit" at least 5 times. but the worst was when we concluded the call. I said "this was a dope ass talk - I'll catch ya soon!"

needless to say, I never got a first round.

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Comments (217)

  • Intern in IB - Ind
May 7, 2020 - 1:25am

Alumni Managing Director organized a coffee chat with me and a few other prospective summer analysts. I asked "What pieces of advice would you give to your sophomore year college self".

MD said "Hmmm let me think"

I was trying to be funny and said "Drink and party less" which is a frequent answer from younger IBers

he gave me a strange look and said he didn't drink in college

At the end of the day got an offer as worked ass off, but funny in hindsight.

May 7, 2020 - 4:18am

I go to a non-target "party school" and I get the opposite response when I asked that question.

They would just tell me I go to a fun school and just have more fun and party more while it lasts.

  • 4
May 7, 2020 - 2:05am

Had informal chats with some members at the office I was recruiting for. After I left I realized I left my plastic bottle of water on the table.

Came back a few weeks later for the superday. No idea why but halfway through I randomly brought up "hey btw I'm sorry I left the water bottle on the table last time" and the associate just looked at me with a blank stare, and eventually continued

May 7, 2020 - 2:29am

One of my first interviews - when it got towards the end and he asked me "do you have any questions for me". I had no idea wtf the job even was and I'd only worked at retail/gas stations before, so I was like "how much do I get paid" and "how many hours do I have to work"

The guy started laughing and hung up

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May 19, 2020 - 12:50pm

I think he'd be more surprised about the question over the hours

May 7, 2020 - 3:12am

One time at an insight day I misprounounced "liquidity" as "litquidity" and someone started laughing but the director didn't get it. Nobody was explaining it to him so I started explaining it but he didn't quite understand what a meme page was. He had a massive boomer moment but he didn't seem bothered, but it was very awkward for me to explain it whilst trying my best to not sound condescending.

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May 7, 2020 - 4:53am

Spend either more or less time on the Gram, young buck, or you´ll never make it. Pretty funny tho, would def chuckle.

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May 7, 2020 - 5:12am
ibd pilgrim:

One time at an insight day I misprounounced "liquidty" as "litquidy" and someone started laughing but the director didn't get it. Nobody was explaining it to him so I started explaining it but he didn't quite understand what a meme page was. He had a massive boomer moment but he didn't seem bothered, but it was very awkward for me to explain it whilst trying my best to not sound condescending.

I am not a boomer and had to google it to understand.. Still don't quite get it. Fuck me, maybe I should download tik tok or something. I am mid thirties so old millenial

May 7, 2020 - 1:02pm

I think it means either spend enough time on the gram that you're making money from it (aka an influencer) or spend less time because its a time drain that is the gateway to being unproductive.

Personally, joining instagram is one of my more recent regrets. Why do I waste my time looking at other people flexing when I know its all fake?

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 7, 2020 - 6:52am

Start of my first ever superday so I'm pretty nervous and I'm introducing myself to an MD:

Me: Hi, great to meet you. How are you?

MD: Good thanks, how are you getting on?

Me: Very well thanks, and yourself?

May 7, 2020 - 8:27am

Interviewing with a fund for an internship position. Interview went well and on my way out, I say "Well, this was fun" and leave. Ended up being invited for the second round but those are definitely not the last words you want to say after your interview.

May 7, 2020 - 1:25pm

It's most common to say this sarcastically / offhandedly after a very unpleasant experience.

Definitely see how that could be uncomfortable the minute it left his mouth.

“Doesn't really mean shit plebby boi. LMK when you're pulling thiccboi cheques.“ — @m_1
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May 7, 2020 - 8:36am

I was interviewing for my current role via phone around the end of October and after the formal questions we were just chatting about random things for a bit. The associate interviewing me brought something up regarding the next stage in the process or something similar, I can't recall exactly, but I said something along the lines of "makes sense, it is spooky season after all."

The associate gave a light chuckle and then the call ended. Still got the job though.

May 7, 2020 - 10:47am

PE Firm: "We invest in B+ companies. They have a lot of potential, but have some flaw that helps us buy at a discount (recent managment changes, disruption, etc.). We then work to transform them into A companies over our holding periods, and re-trade at a premium."

Me: "Sounds like my dating strategy."

PE Firm: Awkward Silence "You can go now"

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 7, 2020 - 11:50am

First time flying to New York to speak with an alumni. The conversation went smooth so at the end we began to shoot the shit and he talks about his time in the frat .

He reminded me of Thad in Blue Mountain State but he was also chill and down to earth, so I thought in order to not come across as a finance robot I should ask him a light hearted question. Well I froze, began to sweat because I was an introverted nerdy kid who never kissed a girl and took 30 seconds to nervously ask " yo uh do you have a strat to crush some puss?" He laughed, asked me if I'm serious and then proceeded to give me advice.

10/10 would not recommend asking an alumni how to crush some puss when you are trying to come across as polished and professional.

May 8, 2020 - 10:37am

I love this answer because it reminds me of how fucking cringe some of the stuff I used to say during interviews with analysts was. Before I realized how important it was to actually be yourself I tried so hard to come off a as a sports guy, as I thought that was crucial (based on literally nothing other than the fact that one of the first banks I interviewed with told me the guys loved drinking and watching some SEC school as a firm). Even used to call one of my friends who actually knew like everything about every team in our home city for key updates before final rounds so I could seem "informed". Ugh let me tell you that I did not come across as a sports guy and I did not receive offers using this strat. Even though I am somewhat nerdy once I just acted like myself offers started coming. Hope my anecdotal experience can be used as a lesson for others, don't pretend to be someone you aren't.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 8, 2020 - 11:21am

I am confident that the majority of times someone can easily tell if you actually watch sports or get girls instead of trusting that you say you do. I don't think there's a scientific explanation but rather a natural feeling that makes someone either think eh this guy is full of shit, he only looks at sportscenter or damn this guy has enough information to provide detailed analysis and insights into the game last night.

I think not trying to conform actually drastically improves the quality of the networking session because the alumni or interviewer will prefer to have a conversation with a genuinely normal and hardworking person who knows himself and is confident in what he can add to the firm instead of some guy who rehearsed every line and comes across as a bland or worst yet basic.

  • Prospect in IB - Ind
May 7, 2020 - 12:17pm

Was heading to a coffee chat with a JPM MD at his NYC office. It was pouring outside so I left with the first umbrella I could find in my apartment. As soon as I walked outside, I realized it was a Guggenheim umbrella that they gave away at their infosession. Felt weird walking into JPM with it, so I concealed the logo as well as I could. Coffee chat went well, but being the dumb fuck I am, I left the umbrella in his office, right by his desk. Needless to say, I did not receive a first round from JPM.

May 7, 2020 - 12:54pm

Don't have a personal one, but I think about this old Dilbert comic a lot:

Dilbert Common Sense from Aug 27, 2003

“Doesn't really mean shit plebby boi. LMK when you're pulling thiccboi cheques.“ — @m_1
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May 7, 2020 - 1:04pm

I worked Back Office Ops at BB remote office in the south (USA.) I was applying to any job I could find both external and internal, as my group was experiencing layoffs every 6 months and my team was an easy target. I did about 5 hours of real work a week…

Anyway, in the most ridiculous 2-hours span:

  • I declined an external job offer (it was a career pivot and no pay bump)
  • 15 Mins later I was laid off (offered to stay 6 weeks to train some Puna India replacement)
  • Walked out and immediately called and accepted the previous external job I declined. (said I had a change of Heart!!) LOL
  • An hour later I walk into an internal job interview with a MD on middle office team. It was set week ago, and I had already interviewed with the associates, just shit timing.

MD's first question: "Why are you interested in leaving your current position and team"

Me: "Well I just got laid off this morning"

MD: "………. (Face like he'd seen a ghost)…… Okay"

I think his head was spinning about if he would be getting laid off too.

“Capitalism: God’s way of determining who is smart and who is poor.” Ron Swanson

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May 7, 2020 - 9:10pm

This one I felt that shit is the worse, so weird to handle afterwards too like what the fuck do I ask for a redo?? Demetri Martin has a joke about it, except the person on the giving end of the handshake meant to go for a knuckle numb and he replies "paper covers rock bitch."

Gun rights activist
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  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 8, 2020 - 8:39pm

Oh man, I've been there. Was meeting a VP for coffee and on the handshake my pinky went between his pinky and ring finger. Awk, have to pretend it didn't happen

May 7, 2020 - 2:22pm

Two things.

An interview for my first internship in college. I was being interviewed by the managing partner of the firm. He asked how I was doing. I responded, "Crushing it." There was a pause and he ignored it. I somehow got the job.

At a networking event I was having a pretty good convo with an associate at the bank and I say something like, "I had a question about a certain aspect of the coverage group that I haven't been able to ask someone yet." He says, "Okay, shoot." I blank and stand there like an idiot because I forgot my question and coudn't think of another one.

May 7, 2020 - 3:02pm

An interview for my first internship in college. I was being interviewed by the managing partner of the firm. He asked how I was doing. I responded, "Crushing it." There was a pause and he ignored it. I somehow got the job.

That gave me a good laugh, thanks for that one.

“Doesn't really mean shit plebby boi. LMK when you're pulling thiccboi cheques.“ — @m_1
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  • Prospect in AM - Equities
May 7, 2020 - 2:39pm

I farted in an interview. It smelled really bad, so I tried to play it off as if it wasn't me by asking the interviewer if he could smell what I was smelling and twisting my face in disgust. There were only 2 people in that room.

May 7, 2020 - 3:53pm

Most cring worthy story I have was at lunch as an analyst:
I was out to lunch with our CEO and a few MDs after a meeting with a client (Eastcoast boutqiue, so I had this kind of access). It is pouring rain and we are in a crowded deli eating a sandwich where everyone is wet as a puddle. I was having some stomach issues, and the line for the bathroom so long it was demoralizing. Trying to prevent myself from exploding, I let some satan hellfire gas from my behind. FYI - it was one of those farts where even I was like, "Oh Lord, that's nasty."

CEO (who is propably the worst human being I've ever met), was about to take a bite out of his sandwich when suddenly he jolts upright in his chair. He instantly knew it was me, turning his head with the most cock-eyed violated look. He locked eyes with me, and didnt have to say anything to communiate - "How dare you." I will never forget this as long as I live and am honestly laughing writing this LOL.

"A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself."
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May 7, 2020 - 4:33pm

Needed to establish dominance and retort "Those who smelt it, dealt it."

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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May 7, 2020 - 7:03pm

I was at a closed list MBA event at CS. MD gives a presentation. At Q&A some guy asks "to what do you owe your incredible success?". Italics because that's how he said it. He actually emphasized incredible.

I chuckled a bit at this obvious brown nosing. A few people turned around and looked at me, but only a few so I figured no biggie. Wrong. I look to the side of the room and the recruiter is craning her neck to see my nametag. I thought no way, it can't be. But then sure enough she calls over another recruiter and points to me. As we leave the room the 2nd recruiter walks up close to me, writes down my name and walks away.

Wasn't on that closed list anymore when interviews came around. Who knows where CS would be today if they let it slide

May 7, 2020 - 7:29pm

You dodged a bullet my friend.

"Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

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May 7, 2020 - 5:08pm

An interviewer once asked me "are you a nice person?"

I sat silently for what seemed like forever before saying "No" flatly.

I did not get the job.

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May 8, 2020 - 11:48am

I got the same question at one of my superdays. I responded with "Am I nice? I think I am but I think you'd have to ask someone else." Didn't end up getting that position

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 7, 2020 - 5:22pm

I had an informational call with an analyst at a BB set up one night. I typically have these calls set up in the mid afternoon, but one guy rescheduled to around 10pm on a Friday since he was abroad. I totally forgot about the call until I got an alert on my phone saying it was in 15 minutes. By this point in the night, I was already slurring my words drunk, but instead of doing the wise thing and rescheduling, my alcohol induced confidence convinced me to just proceed as planned. The call itself didn't go so badly, but I ended up sounding really stupid at times. I didn't have the balls to follow up after this.

May 7, 2020 - 8:45pm

I had a phone interview for an analyst position at a top EB (Evercore/Centerview/Qatalyst). Interview was already going terribly and my interviewer, who was kind of an asshole the entire time, asks me a brutal technical.

I had no clue so I just rambled for a minute or so and heard the other end go silent. I thought the call got dropped so I stopped talking for a few seconds, said "hello?", and there was total silence. I said something like "shit, I thought this interview couldn't get any worse". More silence and then the interviewer unmutes and says "I was muted, in case that wasn't obvious..." Most awkward second half of an interview ever.

May 7, 2020 - 9:07pm

Had final round w/ a PE firm. Last interview of the superday was with HR head of their analyst program, she asks me if i've applied to any other firms. I then list 6-7 other firms that I either had interviews for or was angling to get interviews for. Recruiter said they turned me down because it seemed like I didn't really want the role or some shit. I felt really stupid after that.

May 7, 2020 - 9:14pm

I mean, would it be better to lie? If I hadn't made this mistake before I would've done the same

Gun rights activist
  • Incoming Analyst in S&T - Other
May 8, 2020 - 4:59am

"I've applied to a couple of other firms in the space because I'm very interested in doing this after graduation, but based on my conversations/reading I think (your firm) is the best fit for me, which is why I'm really looking forward to moving on in the process." Probably something like that would work better.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 8, 2020 - 9:47am

Had this in a piper jaffray interview - had a 3.5 GPA from a non-target but still had interviews at a wide range of places and was told from an alum they dinged me because they thought I was lying about the places. Sad stuff lol

  • Intern in 
May 7, 2020 - 9:51pm

Years ago when I was a sophomore I interviewed with a big 4 accounting job. It was my first real interview with a real firm. I was freaking out.

"So why are you interested in this position" Manager asked me
I obviously never prepared for this question so I started bullshitting. The first thing that came to mind was what do I like? I like traveling a lot!

"One thing I really like about this job is the opportunity to travel. " I said awkwardly. In my mind I thought of him as a prestigious KPMG consultant who travels to global financial hubs and gives strategic (GAAP) advice to Fortune 10 clients.

"I see. But I don't travel for work" The manager said quietly, "You don't really travel in tax."

He was being really nice, and explained you do travel occasionally for training. I can still feel my face and my ear burning as soon as he said that. I really had absolutely no idea what people do in big 4 firms.

Needless to say that interview ended very soon after that.

May 8, 2020 - 5:54am

I had a similar experience in one of my first ever interviews with a Big4.

Int: "Why do you want to work in Valuations at a Big4?"

Me: "Management consultants are there to add value, so I look forward to make a tangible impact for clients."

Int: "Valuations at a Big4 means coming up with a few numbers that end up in financial statements, where do you see the impact?"

Me: Silence...

May 7, 2020 - 11:17pm

I was still in college and had an informational phone call with an MD at a boutique bank. Unfortunately, the phone call got pushed back by him twice prior because of something coming up, and by the time the clock hit the third reschedule, I was at the library cramming up for an exam and completely forgot to prepare for the phone call beforehand.

Now if that wasn't already bad enough, I didn't even bother looking up what investment bankers do. I was fortunate enough to get in contact with this guy initially through a network introduction. Given all the hoopla of investment banking while in undergrad and how glorified it is, my naive a** looked at being an investment banker as an equivalent of being fat in the middle ages - people envied you.

In the emails leading up to the phone call, I was told that they gave out an offer (or maybe two) and they're waiting for responses, but there might be room for another analyst next summer. The phone call starts with me fumbling the introduction and accidentally telling the guy that "I appreciate giving you my time" instead of "I appreciate you giving me your time". Uhh. After he shared his background with me, and I with him, he asks me the "why investment banking" question to which I responded with - and I kid you not - "I love reading about the stock market, and I've been actively involved in pitching stocks to my school's Asset Management club, which I believe translates the skills necessary to pursue a career in investment banking." Silence.

"Well, unfortunately that's not exactly what we do". He then explained to me what his team and company do, asked a question about my study abroad (clearly tried to be nice), and the phone call then ended with him telling me that "there might not be a fit at this time because an outstanding offer they already had was accepted."

I hung up completely embarrassed about my absent-mindedness.

And I got a 62 on the exam.

May 7, 2020 - 11:36pm

3 stories:

Networking with a VP at a BB. This guy wouldn't stop talking about himself and his role. I think the conversation ratio was 97% him / 3% me. I thought I was doing something wrong because of how much he was talking, and we were talking already for like 20-25 min. I feared he wouldn't remember me because of how much he talked, so I felt pressured to be impressionable. So after he tells me he'll take my resume, I asked him what he planned on doing over the weekend, and he started talking about planning his wedding with his fiance. I joked that "Oh no, now your life is over", and he responded with a sarcastic "haha, ok bye" and hangs up right when I'm in the middle of saying bye.
I sent my resume to him after the call but I don't think he forwarded it over to anyone..

Was job hunting and interviewed at a real estate brokerage firm as a financial analyst. The interview went well, but as I was being escorted out, I noticed some of the analysts were glaring at me, giving me the "look at the fresh meat look". These analysts fit the stereotypical real estate analyst look. The males oozed with confidence, were tall, had slicked back hair. The secretary was a hot chick. After hearing how little the role paid, I was having none of that and glared at them back. I never heard back afterwards.

Interview was for some finance/web programming role at MS. Get asked all of these random fixed income black scholes questions I did not know the answer to. Expected a behavioral interview over the phone yet it was super technical. Needless to say, I did not get a return call, and was never more embarrassed in my life.

The bright side to this story is a few weeks later I interviewed for a role that focused heavily on fixed income and asked similar questions that I faced in my MS interview, and got the role!

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 7, 2020 - 11:51pm

Had an interview booked in with MS. Got 3 missed calls at 9am, I woke up at 11am. Called back and asked if we could re-book. He said okay only if I could tell him a joke. Half asleep (and hungover) the first thing that came to my head was 'what do you call Morgan Stanley? JP Morgan's ballbag (in london, the way MS and JPM buildings are connected, if you look at it sideways it looks like a penis and balls). he laughed, interviewed me straight after and still rejected me :(

went to a networking event at an EB. met this italian analyst and he was so boring. he had no hobbies or interests. i wanted to work for this EB and i thought the networking event was a test so i started to make interests up for him so we could have a conversation. it'd go like this:
we talked about his role and etc so he asked me for my hobbies,
him: so what are you into outside of school?
me: im a big golden state warriors fan and i follow tennis. what are you into? (in the hope we could talk about something we both like for ages)
him: ah thats nice, I enjoy reports of companies
me: yeahhh i hate the raptors too....

awkward and i left

May 8, 2020 - 12:00am

First interview at my first superday ever. Was asked what my biggest regret in the last two years was. Started having a serious life crisis in the middle of the interview and almost broke into tears. Got the offer tho.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 8, 2020 - 3:06am

did something similar one time and the interviewer explicitly told me that they vouched for me. Shows that you're not BSing the answer

May 8, 2020 - 12:01am

So this wasn't an interview, but the guy I reached out to made it like an interview. This was also one of the first calls I took so I didn't really have any solid ground to talk on. As soon as I pick up the phone, this guy told me exactly how we were going to talk and do this call in a specific order. "After all of this, you can ask me whatever questions" he said. Btw, this guy was super aggressive, would yell at me over the phone. I was pretty intimidated. Didn't even want to ask questions at the end, so when the Q&A came, I just didn't know what to say. Blanked out real hard and was just like uuuuuuhnmhnmh and asked some dumbass question like so what industry is this company again?
Super long awkward silence and then the guy was just like I wish u best of luck bye.
Definitely ruined my day I was pissed.

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
May 8, 2020 - 12:29am

When I first started interviewing as an intern, I didn't really practice interview questions and responses and usually went with the flow of the interview naturally. But I always had a bad habit of over-explaining certain answers too far and seriously forgetting what I was talking about and the question at hand.

One interview, the MD and associate asked some behavioral like "describe an instance where you showed leadership". I began giving my answer and one certain detail sparked a whole new train of thought and I began telling another story without realizing nor finishing the original story. I concluded with two halves of different examples and the look on their faces was priceless. They must have thought I was on coke or some shit, especially cause I just sat there smiling after, waiting for a response.

I believe that was the 2nd question asked and also the last. I was shown the door and never stepped back in the office again. Wouldn't trade those 19 year old fuckups for anything though.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Restr
May 8, 2020 - 12:42am

SA interview w/ BX. Decided to book a study room on campus to do the interview because I knew it would be quiet there. Interview is going fine, and the interviewer looks down at some notes to ask a question. As he does, the lights in the study room go out. He looks back up, sees a black screen and says "Oh...interviewee, are you there?" I pause for about 5 seconds, and reply, "Yeah...fuck."

I knew that I needed to break the silence and those were the only words that came to mind. They were not good words.

May 8, 2020 - 2:57am

Ok, not me but a classfellow: I was there at the meet and greet, and she sat next to the MD. I sat next to her. She put her hand consistently on the MD's knee while talking, and used his first name. I counted two times, and then I was called away. She didn't get an offer.

May 8, 2020 - 3:49am

Junior year my college buddy gets into a fight at our fraternity house. So being the douchebag frat star I was I jumped in. Woke up the next morning with a very subtle but still noticeable bruise under my eye. That afternoon an MD I had been networking with called me to tell me he back-doored me into the super day for the internship program and it was tomorrow.

Went through five rounds of interviews, was never asked about it. Got the internship and pretty sure my SVP knows about it but we just never brought it up. I didn't because I was still in need of a FTO. I'm starting full-time in July there with a different group so I might ask him if he noticed next time I talk to him.

TD Bank Junior Credit Analyst
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May 8, 2020 - 6:05am

I showed up for an interview (one of my first interview ever) like 45 minutes in advance, and everybody from the receptionist to people walking by were giving me super weird looks thinking "what is he doing here so early? Is he homeless or something?"

The interviewer was super annoyed by that too as he anticipated the interview by like 15-20 minutes, was super irritated from the start and treated me like s**t. Didn't get an offer, with hindsight a blessing.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 8, 2020 - 6:59am

that's fine i usually go about 30 mins early to take a shit and rub one out, really gets you into the mood and makes you feel like you're on home ground

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 8, 2020 - 1:33pm

Taking a dump at the enemies' field is a hell of a way to establish dominance. I 100% back that up.

May 11, 2020 - 1:15pm

That is the one secret to success Harvard doesn´t cover in their classes

May 8, 2020 - 10:10am

Pretended to be a left-wing retard since I knew one of the analysts in my interview was one as well.

Si vis pacem, para bellum
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  • 2
May 11, 2020 - 1:16pm

So, except for the political leaning, you were just yourself?

  • 9
May 8, 2020 - 12:45pm

This was a commercial real estate interview for sophomore summer, so not exactly banking, but after a super-day type interview (3 back to back ~20 min interviews -> 30 min interview with upper level) person, I was leaving the office and rode the elevator down with one of the juniors who interviewed me. Neither of us said a word and it was super awkward. When the door finally opened after what felt like the longest trip down, I gestured for him to go first and he stormed out and away. Needless to say, I did not get the offer.

May 8, 2020 - 1:29pm

Final round interview during a Super Day with an EB. Fourth interview in a row on that day, this time with an MD and a Senior VP.

Senior VP: "I see you did housekeeping for a year in parallel to your undergrad. I am really impressed by this."

Me: "Yes, it was my side-hustle to finance studies. I've been polishing the the toilets, now I am looking to move into polishing the slides, you see..."

MD looks like she doesn't believe I've just said that. I don't want to believe that either, but I realize I did. Senior VP just pretends to smile. After very awkward 30 seconds we move on with the interview.

Still somehow got the offer and Senior VP offered to grab a lunch once I start.

May 9, 2020 - 12:49am

I mean that's pretty funny hahaha. Idk how these senior guys don't just laugh when they hear these things.

"Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

May 11, 2020 - 1:17pm

Solid joke, would chuckle and give you the role/10

May 8, 2020 - 2:36pm

I had an informational set up with the head of a VC fund in the area (I live in a flyover state, so there aren't many around). Up until this point, I had been the one to call, but this guy wanted to call me. I didn't think to put his number in my phone, and I had the setting on that automatically sends calls from non-contacts to voicemail. As soon as I see that I missed the call, I call him back, and he does not answer. It was literally less than a minute since he called. I emailed him to see if we could set up another time and explained the situation, and he sent back a strongly worded email that we would not reschedule because I had wasted his time. It totally ruined my dad, and I have since turned off that setting on my phone.

May 8, 2020 - 4:14pm

Hope that your dad is okay by now.

"If it is on WSO, it must be true" ~ old Jewish proverb.

  • 20
May 8, 2020 - 3:24pm

ok not me but this is my favourite interview story.

At the time I worked in a small company (c.30 staff) and we had only one accountant aka Finance Director. He hated the place and wanted to move. Personal life - early 40s, recently divorced, no children.

So the Accountant goes to another shop and the interview is going great. He is interviewed by HR and an MD and he is a great fit, nails technicals etc. Towards the end of the interview, MD asks typical question to find out more about his motivations.

MD asks "If you could have anything in this room, what would you have?". And this mad lad answered "I'll have her - the HR lady. I'll appreciate it if you leave the room and give us some time."

HR lady later gave him his info and said they will contact him soon and they will keep in touch.

Mad lad got the offer, decided to reject later.

i love that guy.

made new unrelated account - dont reply or message as i never use it. 

  • 10
May 8, 2020 - 4:47pm

no idea i wasnt there. but its hilarious. Keep in mind we dont live in a financial hub and these companies are small. Something like that could never happen at a BB lol. love it here.

made new unrelated account - dont reply or message as i never use it. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
May 8, 2020 - 4:05pm

First super day I had in M&A, first interview was with an Associate and an MD. Now, I knew the associate and had been to bars with him 3-4 times. After about ten minutes of pleasantries the Associate goes "What is 27*65?" I was significantly underprepared and blindsided. I responded after some quick mental math "ahh somewhere around 1750". MD responds, "Damn, this kid applying for my job? I thought only I could be vague, my analysts need to know it to the decimal". I laughed and the Associate said, so what's your final answer. I responded 1745. MD goes "You we're closer with the approximation". I got the offer

  • Director in AM - Equities
May 8, 2020 - 5:12pm

Quite a few, mostly going back to when I was interviewing for undergrad intern positions when I was totally clueless, but even some even during my MBA:

IB analyst at midtier IB:

Two interviewers, they're late to interview b/c their flight was delayed, clearly not in a good mood. I try doing the initial chit chat but not getting anywhere with them, stone cold. They then ask the typical "why do you want to work at (crappy midtier IB)." I say something along the lines "well (crappy midtier IB) has to fight for business and I like working hard and being on the underdog team." Interview might as well have ended there.

ER at regional brokerage:

I already had a job lined up, but our career office had a policy that they would blackball you if you cancelled with $200. Get on bus back to hotel and pass out. Never heard back from them so win/win.

Analyst at large AM:

Fly in early and stay at hotel next to their office. Wake up early, very well prepped etc. It's starting to rain outside but I don't have an umbrella and time is getting a little tight so I decide to run for it. Thunderstorm from hell erupts in that one block and I get soaked, I mean down to the bone. I play it cool, nobody says anything and I ended up getting an offer.

Midtier consulting firm:

Candidates invited to pre-resume drop dinner at Mexican restaurant. They invite dozens of people so it's really just to screen out the clueless. Naturally I order fajitas. Of course, this isn't exactly fork and knife type of fare and it made a huge mess during the dinner. I end up looking like a slob. No interview invite.

Top tier consulting firm:

First round interview goes well, typical behavioral questions, I'm riding high. Second guy comes in, midlevel guy from their Mexico City office. Meaningful language barrier and the case has something to do with telecom and was pretty technical. After 10 minutes I get stuck, and he won't throw any bones at all. Keep going in circles for 20+ minutes. At some point you'd think he would get tired of this too and drop some hints, but no.

Top tier consulting firm:

Get random invite via career service office to "learn more about the opportunities at M/B/B and dine with our professionals". Dinner is at a very high end sushi place, so why not. I had no interest in consulting and never claimed to, so spend the entire dinner having fun like I'm at dinner with friends. Other candidates are trying to butter the interviewer up, asking the typical BS like "what is the culture like." Anyways, nothing really awkward but I'm sure everybody involved was trying to figure out WTF my angle was.

Third tier IB:

Not me but worth mentioning. Superday with about a dozen candidates. Candidates rotate between interview sessions, and in between sit in a conference room and wait. One candidate returns from bathroom - must have tried to redo his tie because his collars are still upturned 18th century English style. Nobody says a word to him even though it's obvious this guy looks like crap. Interviewer comes in to grab him and looks at this poor guy like he's a shmuck and says "that's quite the look you have going" and the guy cluelessly thanks him.

Midtier global IB:

Said bank requires an IQ test as part of their process. I schedule the test for Wednesday morning at 8m. I forget and the night before is $1 beer night at my university's local bar and I partake heavily. Wake up at 10am and have an oh shit moment. Call the bank's HR person that is administering the test and make up some excuse, he's cool and tells me to come for the afternoon session. I made it for that but was heavily hungover...I'm sure they thought I was a retard when they saw my score. No interview.

May 9, 2020 - 12:56am

The other students at the Sushi place were probably thinking two things.
1. This guy fucks
2. That they got out-networked hahaha
russ hanneman

"Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

  • Director in AM - Equities
May 22, 2020 - 2:25pm

I never dropped my resume or applied to begin with - the invitation came out of the blue. I assume the recruiter randomly scrolled through our career center resume book and invited people to the dinner based upon their GMAT and resume. The invitation was open ended i.e. "come have dinner with our professionals" so I took it at face value.

May 8, 2020 - 7:17pm

It was a friend's birthday (at uni) the night before and we got absolutely smashed at a club. I had brought a friend and he and the birthday guy hit it off immediately (one is now in MM S&T, the other is in Tier 2 Consulting) and bought me drinks all night it was unreal.

Anyway - I wake up around 9.45am (no alarm) and just lay in bed knowing that I DEFINITELY had something to do. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but I can just tell I'm about to have my ass pounded. I realise at like 9:56am that I have a call with a recruiting agency (think Dartmouth Partners/Freshminds) for a budding tech boutique (quite a few £1bn+ deals) at 10am. I jump out of bed and get on my laptop (only in my underwear) and immediately google recent deals on the firm but the deals are between companies that I cannot recognise despite their size.

The phone inevitably rings and I pick up completely distraught. The interviewer asks how I am etc and for some reason but I hesitate then say I'm 'a bit under the weather' (ikr). He asks why and I say (whilst shaking uncontrollably) tell him that my friends and I went on an impromptu night out. He pauses then asks if I'm still free to do the interview. My half drunk brain somehow manages to convey "yeah I'm fine don't worry about it haha" to a combination of about sixty thousand of the most convoluted instances of flowery diction that I am currently attempting to exemplify using this word construction.

We end up going into the interview and he starts asking me shit like 'why tech IB specifically', 'what's a recent trend in tech markets that will the biggest impact on _____' etc that I would have been unprepared for even if I was sober. It was a disaster and the most cringe interview I've ever had and it felt the alcohol had awakened some dysphemia in me or smthn. The funniest part is I actually moved on the Skype interview and had my best phone interview ever the next day for the firm I am currently going to intern with (American BB). The shit interview definitely was a powerful learning lesson though.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 8, 2020 - 7:23pm

I interviewed at Credit Suisse Singapore (over the phone) and the first stage is 3 separate interviews, my final one was with a VP. I had mentioned to the VP that I had previously had interviews and tried to mention their names (to seem engaged) but I fucking forgot both of them (spent at least 12 seconds trying to remember them ON the phone).

The VP was honestly a bit of a weirdo imho and he left pauses where there really shouldn't have been any? So towards the beginning I basically say "Do you have any questions for ME" during one of the pauses.

Didn't get to the next round. Singapore is rough yo, fortunately I have an offer from elsewhere and a better firm.

May 8, 2020 - 8:36pm

Had a phone interview for a sophomore internship and was battling a deep-lung cough at the time, so figured it was a good idea to take some Mucinex before the interview. I take it, and the medicine loosens up all the phlegm just in time for the interview to start.

All this loose phlegm, combined with the fact that my nerves were through the roof (one of my first interviews) meant that I had to hack up a loogie every fifth or sixth word, so I had to go on mute and cough probably fifteen-twenty times during this half-hour interview. I explained this to the interviewer but he must've thought I was a total weirdo. Didn't get the next round, lol

May 9, 2020 - 12:59am

This. This is painful hahaha

"Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

  • 1
May 9, 2020 - 1:33pm

SA S&T interview with a BB. Interview's going really well and was shooting the shit with the trader interviewing me. Towards the end, he asks me who the CEO of the bank was. No big deal, I answer with the correct CEO. He then asks who was the CEO before him....I panic completely.

I knew it was an Indian name but could not remember the specifics at all. Instead of saying I don't know (which probably would have been fine), I proceed to toss out a completely random Indian sounding name. Interviewer goes "wow just throwing around Indian names...not a good look man". Interview ends with my trading hopes and dreams crushed.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 10, 2020 - 2:44pm

Bro what's with Citi grilling people on their leadership? In an IB interview my interviewer was like "who's our CEO"? Which I answer. "Who's our head of IB"? No bigger. "Who's the global head of HR"? fucker.

May 10, 2020 - 4:01pm

This is so true. I got asked who was the CEO and Head of Institution Group too!

May 11, 2020 - 5:31pm

Citi's got a really hierarchical/political culture, but asking for senior mgmt names during interviews is taking it way too far.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
May 9, 2020 - 3:49pm

Not an interviewing mistake exactly but I had the offer for this M&A gig and was communicating with HR over email about some final details like start date etc.. Now a while ago I watched Borat and I have no idea why but I changed my names on gmail to "Azamat Bagatov" after the fat dude from the film and the profile picture to match. I had completely forgotten about it. So the HR was basically emailing Azamat Bagatov from Borat for 2 weeks until my dumb ass caught on and changed it.

Superior returns guaranteed
  • 19
May 11, 2020 - 1:31pm

Did you secure the offer by counter-offering your very attractive sister to them?

  • 2
May 10, 2020 - 4:59am

That is a truly interesting thread:)
May 10, 2020 - 5:40am

Had a 30 minutes phone interview for an analyst position with a senior analyst and hiring manager. Halfway through the interview, the senior analyst asks me about my master thesis:

Senior analyst: "Can you tell me about your master thesis like I have no idea what finance is?".

Me, having answered this question multiple times already and thinks it is a piece of cake, starts explaning in detail about Bayesian probabilities, portfolio optimisation and allocation of market views into the model for 2-3 minutes. Then there is a moment of silence...

Senior analyst: "Do you really think I would understand anything of what you just said if I don't anything about finance?"

Me: "Hehehe, ehhh... no not really", now realising that I forgot that I was supposed to simplify my answer.

Still got the offer though.

May 10, 2020 - 4:47pm

Freshman year my first interview ever was for an IB role at some local sweatshop. Me being the overconfident, useless cuck that I was did no prep for the interview. So one of the first questions I was asked was "Why are you interested in Investment Banking?" and I just talked about different investment strategies and why I was super interested in the markets. It was especially cringey because I think the interviewer wanted to but in and tell me I was mistaken, but I thought just saying more and more trading jargon would make me sound impressive and so I basically didn't let him interrupt and kept spewing random shit about trading. The dude basically just laughed at me for a few minutes and then said I should've at least googled what an investment bank is. Sadly, I did not move to the second round.

May 10, 2020 - 5:35pm

When I was in college, I was taking Chinese classes along with my Finance major. One week in Chinese class we learned how to say HaoJiLe, which means "Awesome" but literally translates to "good to-the-ultimate-extreme good" (literal Mandarin translations to English are always oddly funny).

Anyways, that afternoon I had coffee chat with an MD at a second tier IB.
He asks me: "Nice to meet you, hows it goin?"
I reply: "Good. Good to-the-ultimate-extreme good, actually" and I chuckle a bit.

The MD looks at me with the most confused look ever. I bet that coffee chat only lasted 15 minutes lol.

Over the next few years I matured a bit, continued studying mandarin and actually got a job (at a different bank) because everyone loved my mandarin skills so it paid off. Always funny thinking back on those days though.

Life's too short to smoke cheap cigars.
  • 6
May 10, 2020 - 5:45pm

Had my 2nd round for a SA gig at a T1 IB via Skype due to my exchange semester. For whatever reason ended up with an Assoc and MD (Country Co-Head). The MD messed up in his own paper LBO. tried correcting him but he wouldn't admit his mistakes. Awkward silence followed with his part of interview ending after just 15 minutes. Needless to say there was no AC invitation.

Si vis pacem, para bellum
May 10, 2020 - 5:54pm

Had an interview at a small boutique IB in nyc early in the cycle. I arrive at 8:45 hoping to impress. I was nervous, high on caffeine and was having an urge to take a leak. The HR comes in at 8:50, tells me to have a seat, leaves abruptly out of the office for some reason before I could ask her where the bathroom was (probably outside the office).

Around 9, the MD comes out of his corner office and asks "Hi, how are you doing today?" to which I reply "Thanks, where are the urinals?". There was an awkward silence for a minute there. He gave me directions reluctantly.
He was so pissed off that he did not interview me, instead sent one of his analyst to fill his time. I was escorted out of the office soon after.

  • 4
May 11, 2020 - 2:08pm

Well I was looking to mark my territory to calm my nerves after having read a similar post here on WSO, wish I had better understanding of the shitty location beforehand.

May 11, 2020 - 9:00am

I interviewed at a large power company for a project finance role. They were going to pay $25 per hour.

I was in the interview talking about how much I wanted to be an investment banker. They interviewed me, and tried to steer me back to the role in question, and I bombed it horribly. I mean it was literally my job to have. Still wish I could get that interview back

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Ind
May 11, 2020 - 9:52am

Not an interview but something embarrassing happened to me during my internship.

Was at (GS/MS/JPM) for my summer analyst position, 8 weeks in and was going well, told I'll get a return offer. Towards the end I killed myself on a pitch and was ultimately taken to the pitch with the team as a reward of my hard work.

When the CEO of a multi billion dollar company asked me to introduce myself, the nerves took over and the first thing I said was I'm a summer analyst studying X at the university of X. CEO didn't seem pleased the team brought an intern and we didn't win the deal. I'm not sure why we didn't win it could have been because of me or just a general loss with the other bank pitching better. The seniors were pissed and said I should have said I was an analyst.

After I was buried with unnecessary work and treated terribly - I was told I'd never get an offer at this bank again and the seniors never spoke to me again, I tried reaching out by email but was ignored.

To this day I'm still unsure whether I lost them a $4m fee or not.

Note: straight after my internship when I didn't convert I ended up interviewing with the team at the other bank which won the mandate, made it through to the final round but wasn't made an offer - would have been hilarious if I joined that team and got to work on the mandate.

  • Incoming Analyst in S&T - Other
May 11, 2020 - 11:48am

Even if you weren't nervous, would you have known to introduce yourself as an Analyst? Wouldn't have seemed to be common sense to me to lie, though I guess you could stretch it and say Summer Analyst = Analyst just with a Summer on top.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Ind
May 11, 2020 - 12:27pm

Agreed I thought that to myself after, I wouldn't have considered lying unless I was told to, but I guess the seniors wanted someone to blame for not winning the mandate and took it out on me.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Ind
May 11, 2020 - 12:42pm

Was difficult as most banks fill out their FT places through their SA. Every interviewer also asked me why I didn't convert - I didn't have the balls to tell them the real reason why so I just said cultural fit reasons. I managed to get a FT offer at a non bulge bracket which has a far better culture than my SA.

My advice if you don't convert, reapply to SA positions, I made the mistake of only applying for FT roles which was extremely tough, whereas my friend who did his SA at a tier 2 bank and didn't convert reapplied for SA positions again for the following year and got multiple EB/BB SA offers having already had an IBD SA on his CV. He accepted a top EB, converted and started FT straight after so worked out perfectly for him.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Ind
May 11, 2020 - 10:28am

My first ever interview was with Morgan Stanley, I wasn't given any insight as to who I'll be interviewing with, just that I'll receive a call at 9am on the day.

The interview started and after running him through my CV, he asked me to pick any topic within the markets and for us to have a debate on it. I wanted to pick something that he would have no clue on so it would be fair and wouldn't risk me looking dumb.

Young naive me picked emerging markets commodities and the impact of oil prices on china's economy. I made it up on the spot as I thought it sounded smart and guessed he was an m&a banker that would have no clue. Straight after saying it, I realised I had no clue either and had nothing to say.

Turned out he was senior research analyst focused on emerging markets and originally from China - he completely destroyed me. I never made it to the second round.

May 11, 2020 - 11:09am

I should start by coming clean. I was on the receiving end of this one rather than its genius author but here we go. A few years ago I interviewed a grad for a researcher role. The interview had gone fine but nothing extraordinary. When I brought the interview to a close and asked the candidate why I should hire him, he replied:
"in the words of Kanye West - harder, better, faster, stronger".
I hired him on the spot.
And then I said "now for your first lesson, these were in fact the words of Daft Punk, who are far more talented".

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