First round phone interview what to expect?

I just got an email today about a first round interview, and all it said was that technical interviews are conducted over the phone. Any idea what to expect? This firm specializes in commodities, currencies and interest rate markets.

Comments (37)

May 12, 2010

Know key rates, indexes and commodity prices. You'll probably get quizzed on them. That's all I got asked for GS for technicals.

"I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcom

May 12, 2010

I did a phone for a trading firm, they told me to get a piece of paper and a pencil and only asked me math questions, heres what I got - LOTS of probability questions, an integration problem, a forex arbitrage problem (I got a list of prices and was asked to figure out a way to arb), options pricing problem - just make sure you can explain how you came up with the answers

the good thing about a technical phone interview is that aslong as you memorize key rates like the person above said ^ then the rest you can't really study for, so just relax and aslong as you know you'd be fine

May 12, 2010

Geez all my first round phone interviews were fit interviews, nothing like any of this; they saved all that for Stupa Day

May 12, 2010

Its going to be purely fit. You'll have to walk them through your resume, make sure you have your story down to a T. Very team oriented, I would highly suggest saying "we" a lot when describing your work experience. PM me for any additional info.

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May 12, 2010

I wouldn't bank on what westfald said. I have been through phone interviews with alums that have been purely fit, but I have also been through others that were 30 minutes of technical questions... be ready for both so you aren't caught off-guard. The WallStreetOasis guides and vault will both give you some technical questions to be ready for. (The WSO guide is great, if you have no experience in finance, just focus on the beginner sections).

May 12, 2010

I would prepare for both fit and technical questions. While "fit" questions are probably going to be essential to this round, I wouldn't overlook the possibility of getting a few to numerous technical questions based on your responses.

People have a tendency to take first round interviews/alumni interviews lighter than others and they shouldn't. It is when you let your guard down and get a bit too casual or complacent that a questions comes out of left field and bites you in the ass. I would absolutely have my resume/story locked down (see:, be ready to discuss your interest in banking, and have 2 or 3 strengths and a weakness ready. Besides that, I would know the financial statements very well, and be ready for some technicals that should be expected based on your resume - for example, if you have DCF analysis on your resume, you should know it well, as well as the components of said analysis, especially if you have it in your resume for a specific deal. Besides that, just relax and be confident. For a few more tips, check out:
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May 12, 2010

Thanks for all the great tips. Does anyone know of any projects that PJ has done in the past that I could mention during the interview?

May 12, 2010

Depends on the firm/position. Most phone interviews are used for screening purposes, to make sure you're a good fit and are at least minimally competent.

They'll probably go over your background and ask some basic behavioral questions, (ie: Describe a time when you...)

May 12, 2010

1) Questions asked most often are typically who you are, what your work ethic and experience is, and who you are outside of work as well. What's your greatest strength/weakness? Name a time when you've had to overcome a problem. List your 3 greatest traits in order. Tell me why you would fit into our firm. Why have you shown so much interest in our company? Do you work well with groups or solo? Are you an analytical thinker?

And the list goes on..

2) How many interviewers? Well they will probably tell you. I've had 1 person from Equities in Dallas on the phone and I've had a 3 way conference call between NY-London-Austin on my first phone interview. All depends on the position and how close they are to hiring someone.

3)Avg. is 25 - 40min. Some will go longer.

May 12, 2010

Length and questions depend on the firm, I had a phone interview with an asset management firm that went an hour and a half long, and she was mostly running down my resume and asking me basic questions, e.g. greatest strength, flaw, three words that friends would use to describe you, etc. You should have answers ready to go for these ones; they're basically gimmies if you take the time to prep beforehand.

You will get asked about your flaw(s), by the way. Even though they're used everywhere, interviewers know that it is difficult for most people to criticize themselves. As to how you want to answer them, I've heard some IB mentors say to just make something benign up, and I've had others say you should talk about a flaw that you've worked to overcome through past experiences. I tend to prefer the second option, as it gives you the opportunity to add some color about yourself.

May 12, 2010

Refer this phone interview questions list... I hope this helps you!
Good luck!

May 12, 2010

Had a phone interview with a MM IB some days ago:

  • 2 interviewers
  • scheduled for 30 minutes (although it actually went over 37 min)
  • first 10 minutes: walk me through your resume, tell me about your internships, why m&a, why this bank, etc.
  • rest of the interview:
  • accounting -> statements (how do they fit together), imagine a telecommunications company and a engineering company - tell me about their statements), depreciation etc.
  • valuation -> which methods: some questions about multiples and a brief overview of DCF etc.
  • enterprise vs. equity value
May 12, 2010

Have you looked at WSO's interview guide(s)? May not be free but if you're in a crunch and don't want to sound like a complete idiot, that may be the way to go. You can find the different guides here:

May 12, 2010

(btw, do you think they would go easier on me since I have a background focused literally ENTIRELY on engineering and high level math?)

No, you don't get a free pass just because you studied something else. Wanna do finance? Good. Better get acquainted with finance just like everyone else.

I agree with previous poster. Either get the WSO Interview Guide or the Breaking Into Wall Street one. Go over all the questions and make sure you understand them.

Also have a pretty decent reason why you're choosing finance over an aero job.

And remove your real name from your username - your LinkedIn page is literally the first search result on Google. Unless you don't care about us stalking you, that is.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

May 12, 2010

Account name changed. Thanks for the tip. And yeah, of course I don't deserve a free pass. Where is the challenge in that? haha. I am currently religiously reading the interview guide. I will do my absolute best to prepare.

May 12, 2010

Not sure why this was moved... I think it's more relevant in the hedge fund section since it is explicitly related to a hedge fund. Oh well.

May 12, 2010

I'm confused as to what type of internship this actually is. Online? How does that work?

May 12, 2010

Ask your career centre for the posting - I've done this numerous times and they don't ever have a problem passing it over.

May 12, 2010

i would be very skeptical of an internship that is over the internet...

May 12, 2010

My guess would be essentially that they send you relevant documents/projects over email and you just email them back upon completion.

I actually completed another internship through the career center that was done over the web. It was for a boutique investment bank specializing in clean tech and no red flags went up for me. Got the types of projects and exposure that I had been expecting.

I've already submitted an email to IT asking for an archived copy of the listing.

But anyways... back to the topic. Any advice regarding material, questions, etc.?

May 12, 2010

It'll probably be your average first round interview. Behavioral questions and/or a case are par for the course.

May 12, 2010

Firms like to talk about their culture so ask about training and development offers. Ask about their competetive advantage vs. other firms. Most of the time, you'll be controlling the convo with your resume review.

May 12, 2010

Be ready for a small case (simple P&L or something similar) and brainteasers, such as "if the time is a quarter past three, how many degrees is the angle between the two arrows?"

May 12, 2010

It happened to me with an ER internship. I had interviewed with group A and 2 weeks after the interviews they emailed that, although they liked me, they needed a native Chinese people so they were going to pass my resume around the office. I didn't think much of it - 30 minutes later I got a call from group B. They asked about my background and we went into stock pitching/technicals.

Not my best interview and I wasn't prepared but I passed, probably because the interviewer recognized the situation.

May 12, 2010

It happened to me this past summer. I got a call about an investment analyst position at around 7pm on a Thursday night. I had a bag over my shoulder on my way out of the door for a trip to Boston when I got the call. I was extremely unprepared for the missiles the interviewer hit me with and did not get call back. That was definitely a learning experience.

I'm sick and tired of chasing my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're going and hook up with them later.

May 12, 2010
anacott steal:

Has anyone here ever applied to an ibanking internship then received an unscheduled phone call where they were interviewed on the spot? has anyone had this type of interview without notice where they were also asked technical questions?

Yes. For a boutique IB in NYC. I didn't even know anything about the firm (I was sending out probably 10 apps a week at that point) and it was an extremely awkward 30 min.

May 12, 2010

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May 12, 2010