Gekko's Guidance (10 Rules to Interviewing) - Part 1 of ?

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Mod note (Andy): "Blast from the past - Best of WSO" - while Eddie is away this month in his place we'll be posting up some of the most popular posts from the past. This was originally posted on 12/07/10

Since everyone else seems to be jumping on the band wagon, I thought it was about time Gekko started posting a few blog topics. Considering it's about that time of year, I figured a post about "Gekko's Guide to interviewing" would be helpful to all the new monkeys out there looking for their first internships.

Rule #1-Relax
No matter what happens there will always be more interviews. Be calm and collected, just act naturally. Talk to the interviewer like a person. See that BSD MD? Odds are he just finished reading More Money Than God or that he had a small family get together over the weekend. You see that associate? Five minutes ago he was typing in the group's private associate chat room a quote from the Boiler Room. As much as they may think they are gods, your interviewers are flesh and blood humans. They think, act, and have the same exact problems that you do. Be respectful, but don't fear the business card. Talk to the man, not the title.

Practice, Practice, Practice
Just like everything in life practice makes perfect. I don't care how many times you have recited the answer in your head. The second that you have to convert the "words in your head" to the "words coming out of your mouth" I guarantee that something critical will be lost in translation. Sit down with friends, OCR, your family, anyone...that will make you tell your story and answer interview questions out loud. Don't be hard on yourself when you start practicing with these people and you sound like an idiot so you stoop and promise that you'll "get it right during the interview." That is the point of practice...to look like an idiot so that when the time comes you won't.

Rule #3-Don't Try to Memorize Answers
When you are preparing for an interview, don't try to memorize answers because you will mess them up during an interview. Instead of memorizing whole answers, write down answers during your preparation and remember key points or facts that you can talk about. Once you start answering a question, mention those points, but if you forget one, forget about it so that you can create a seamless answer. No one is going to know that you forgot something, if the interviewer wants to know something they will ask.

Rule #4-Take Every Opportunity to Interview
I don't care if it's for BO bullshit in Iran, sign up for every possible interview opportunity. This goes hand in hand with #2, but there are a few differences. First, you gain experience answering tricky (aka FUCKING BULLSHIT) interview questions that you have not heard before. In addition, it allows you to practice telling your story while under fire and allows you to make variations to optimize the story. You have no idea how many interviews where I would be telling my story when I would change how I worded something or leave something completely out and that change would become permanent the next time I told my story. Eventually, something just clicks and you can answer any variation of a question without thinking. You will develop a Midas' touch--You'll start to pull pure gold right out of your ass. Finally, take every opportunity to hedge your failure risk. You are competing against the smartest kids in America, in this economy nothing is for certain.

Rule #5-Show Them What They Want to See
Once you get yourself in that room, I don't care about your GPA or what else you have on your resume. I am looking for 3 things--a connection with myself and the firm's culture, Will you be able to do the work?, and do you have a passion for the job? Your general personality will come out throughout the interview--there is no hiding it. Being able to do the work, is shown in the confidence you display while answering general questions along with how well you answer the technicals. Showing passion is a little more difficult to say "That's it", but it comes out it different ways. Sometimes it comes out in how exited you are to answer questions, sometimes it comes out in the level of detail that you can answer a technical question that just says "This kid knows his shit", and sometimes it can come out in the types of questions that you ask when I tell you about what I do and the product that I trade. Chances are, showing passion comes from a combination of those examples.... I know in my case when I interviewed, I detailed the exact movements of the EUR and GBP for the last 6 months using dates.

Rule #6-Watchout for WMDs (Words of Mass Destruction)
Every time you open your mouth to speak you are simultaneously bending over and asking the interviewer to fuck you up the ass. NEVER EVER, EVER mention a subject that you are not 100% confident in. If you are not strong with options and derivatives, don't mention them. The second you bring up a topic it is fair game. Nothing can castrate an interviewee or turn a rock star into a mumbling pile of piss faster than a WMD. Screw it up badly enough, and you can go from moving onto the next round to dinged in a few minutes. The two biggest WMDs are "Why" and "Tell me more about X" It is these questions that separate the mice from the men. If an interviewee is going to mess up his interview, the chances are that it is going to be because he mentioned the wrong topic and the interviewer dropped a WMD.

Rule #7-Control the Interview
This is learned more with experience, but there comes a point in the interview where you have the ability to gain control of the interview and steer it in the direction you want. If you're having a conversation about China or Michael Lewis--you can keep it going by talking about another book that you have read. If you are asked a question, you can answer it in a way that almost guarantees the next question--which you will be prepared for. The number of choke points in an interview where you can gain control and dictate flow is endless, you just need to learn how to spot them.

Rule #8-Never Take Anything for Granted
I always like to send a thank you email (no cards please). It won't affect your offer or non-offer, but I think it shows class and it can't hurt to send a 2-3 line email. Just don't be offended if they don't respond.

Rule #9-Never Go Anywhere Without a Knife
Finance is a cutthroat world and you never know when you will need it.

Rule #10-Always be Honest and Humble
If someone asks you if you know about X, always respond with "I have done some reading so I know a little bit, I know that X and Y about Z. Show the interviewer your knowledge by talking about it--it may lead to more detailed questions, but if you are honest and humble about it those detailed questions that you don't know won't hurt you. If you get a question you don't know, admit you don't know it, offer some guesses with your reasoning behind them and then politely ask the interviewer what the answer is. Even if you know a great deal about a topic, it's always safer to play it humble and let your answers reveal your knowledge. If you walk into an interview with a cocky know it all attitude, I guarantee you will get mind fucked with technicals and will not receive an offer.

Well , I had no idea it was going to be so long. I'll try to keep it shorter next time. If you guys like the style of writing or would like to see a specific topic, post it below. There will definitely be a Part 2 with some more interview prep guidelines, and I also have another post that I want to talk about.

SB to anyone who can tell me what's "special" about Rule #8 and Rule #9...hint: there are 50 of them.

Comments (45)

Dec 7, 2010

NCIS gibbs rules :)

The post is sweet , gives everyone going into the interview a different flavour other than the usual "should i study DCF or should I know what is LBO" or any of these BS questions that you read on WSO sometimes.......at the end of the day if you click with the interviewer and you are not a total douche chances are you can get that offer !!

Maybe I do not have quotes under my name on google, but I KEEP IT REAL

Dec 7, 2010

I guess #9 gave it away, but I was hoping it would last longer.

Dec 7, 2010

loool yea i know how you feel, but that s what you do on a relaxed work day, google challanges that people put up on the internet

Maybe I do not have quotes under my name on google, but I KEEP IT REAL

Dec 7, 2010

Gotta whole heartedly agree with #2 & #4. Even having memorized points and practiced with friends (which started out very uncomfortably), there's nothing like being under the gun at an interview and rambling on due to nerves. Keep your answers succint, linear and logical.

Dec 7, 2010

Silver B.

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Dec 7, 2010

Gekko21, you are awesome.

Perhaps an admin should sticky this because as a college student, I think the info here is gold.

Dec 7, 2010
Gekko21:

First, you gain experience answering tricky (aka FUCKING BULLSHIT) interview questions that you have not heard before.
.

KPMG Round 2 Interview question: If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

=WTF REALLY?

Dec 7, 2010
Getgo:
Gekko21:

First, you gain experience answering tricky (aka FUCKING BULLSHIT) interview questions that you have not heard before.
.

KPMG Round 2 Interview question: If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

=WTF REALLY?

Maybe you shouldn't have answered with Flamingo?

Dec 7, 2010
Getgo:
Gekko21:

First, you gain experience answering tricky (aka FUCKING BULLSHIT) interview questions that you have not heard before.
.

KPMG Round 2 Interview question: If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

=WTF REALLY?

I've heard this question being given before and I still have no idea what to answer. If someone gave it to me I might just say a "horse"..they are muscular, have above average intelligence, are part of a pack (whatever a horse thing is called), and they have really big dicks......I would say that word for word and see the interviewer's reaction. If they asked something about not being serious, I would say "I only give serious answers for serious questions"

    • 1
Dec 7, 2010
Gekko21:
Getgo:
Gekko21:

First, you gain experience answering tricky (aka FUCKING BULLSHIT) interview questions that you have not heard before.
.

KPMG Round 2 Interview question: If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

=WTF REALLY?

I've heard this question being given before and I still have no idea what to answer. If someone gave it to me I might just say a "horse"..they are muscular, have above average intelligence, are part of a pack (whatever a horse thing is called), and they have really big dicks......I would say that word for word and see the interviewer's reaction. If they asked something about not being serious, I would say "I only give serious answers for serious questions"

That is fucking priceless - if a candidate told me that he'd be hired on the spot. In all seriousness, great post - you just helped some monkeys step their shit up in the interview.

Dec 7, 2010
Getgo:
Gekko21:

First, you gain experience answering tricky (aka FUCKING BULLSHIT) interview questions that you have not heard before.
.

KPMG Round 2 Interview question: If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

=WTF REALLY?

It's more common than you think it might be. For applications to accounting firms recruiting last year (and apparently other years too), applicants had to answer "if you were a fruit, what would you be?" Apparently, it's to weed out all the robots who do nothing but study.

For the other question, the obvious answer is unicorn. I'd shit rainbows, have a really big dick and if someone tried to mess with me, I could spear them with my horn.

Dec 7, 2010
tylderdurden:

[
It's more common than you think it might be. For applications to accounting firms recruiting last year (and apparently other years too), applicants had to answer "if you were a fruit, what would you be?" Apparently, it's to weed out all the robots who do nothing but study.

I'd be a watermelon because I'm so well rounded and I love big melons!

Dec 7, 2010
tylderdurden:
Getgo:
Gekko21:

First, you gain experience answering tricky (aka FUCKING BULLSHIT) interview questions that you have not heard before.
.

KPMG Round 2 Interview question: If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

=WTF REALLY?

It's more common than you think it might be. For applications to accounting firms recruiting last year (and apparently other years too), applicants had to answer "if you were a fruit, what would you be?" Apparently, it's to weed out all the robots who do nothing but study.

Knowing the accounting profession, I'd think it's more like to "weed them in".

Funniest
Dec 11, 2010
tylderdurden:
Getgo:
Gekko21:

First, you gain experience answering tricky (aka FUCKING BULLSHIT) interview questions that you have not heard before.
.

KPMG Round 2 Interview question: If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

=WTF REALLY?

For applications to accounting firms recruiting last year (and apparently other years too), applicants had to answer "if you were a fruit, what would you be?"

Easy. Ryan Seacrest.

More is good, all is better

    • 2
Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Dec 7, 2010

Always be honest. If you don't know about derivatives and they ask you about them, just admit that you know very little.

Dec 7, 2010

I think this post should be printed (along with the earlier cartoon post from Midas) and read every night before going to bed.

great advice.

Best Response
Dec 7, 2010

What are the knife rankings? Which knives offer the highest prestige without being too flashy for analysts?

    • 2
Dec 7, 2010
Magua:

What are the knife rankings? Which knives offer the highest prestige without being too flashy for analysts?

Cutco

Dec 7, 2010

great advice. Would love to see a follow-up piece!

Dec 7, 2010

its unethical to take interviews for jobs you arent even considering from other students on campus that would consider them, i cant blieve you would support this gekko.

    • 2
Dec 7, 2010
nycIBD:

its unethical to take interviews for jobs you arent even considering from other students on campus that would consider them, i cant blieve you would support this gekko.

Can't tell if this is a joke.

Dec 7, 2010
nycIBD:

its unethical to take interviews for jobs you arent even considering from other students on campus that would consider them, i cant blieve you would support this gekko.

You know I was originally going to mention this fact, but I left it out to streamline the rule. I support signing up for any interview for several reasons.
1) Just because you have a killer resume doesn't mean you are guaranteed FO. Provided you don't have a FO offer, you are just like any other candidate and therefore have the right to apply to any interview that could give you an offer
2) Half the time top candidates are rejected from less prestigious interviews because the interviewer knows that they are just applying to hedge their bets and don't really want the job. I was rejected from DB finance and GS Ops, but I had a Superday with DB IBD....there is definite top resume bias even at non-target schools.

Dec 7, 2010
Gekko21:
nycIBD:

its unethical to take interviews for jobs you arent even considering from other students on campus that would consider them, i cant blieve you would support this gekko.

You know I was originally going to mention this fact, but I left it out to streamline the rule. I support signing up for any interview for several reasons.
1) Just because you have a killer resume doesn't mean you are guaranteed FO. Provided you don't have a FO offer, you are just like any other candidate and therefore have the right to apply to any interview that could give you an offer
2) Half the time top candidates are rejected from less prestigious interviews because the interviewer knows that they are just applying to hedge their bets and don't really want the job. I was rejected from DB finance and GS Ops, but I had a Superday with DB IBD....there is definite top resume bias even at non-target schools.

SB for you sir, you could not be more correct than above. I, along with many of my recruiting peers experienced the same thing. Always take an interview - and if you are not interested, forward your buddies resume that you know is a stud and help him get that offer.

Dec 7, 2010

Really!

Dec 7, 2010

Dont go to Texas without an AR-15

Just sayin...

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 7, 2010

Nice work Gordie SB

Dec 7, 2010

Thank you for the post good sir, and LOL @ the horse reply. I will have to remember that in case it ever comes up (though i will use 'well endowed' instead of 'big fucking dick' :))

Dec 7, 2010

Goldman SA S&T Interview:

  1. What kind of car would you be?
  2. If you could choose one shape, triangle, square or cirlce, which one would you choose and why?

wtf

Dec 7, 2010

Goldman Sachs FT, final round:

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Nah, I'm just shitting you. Never happened lol. (But the KPMG was real)

Dec 11, 2010
Getgo:

Goldman Sachs FT, final round:

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Nah, I'm just shitting you. Never happened lol. (But the KPMG was real)

A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck should chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

I mean, duh.

Dec 7, 2010

Great work Gekko...keep it coming

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Dec 7, 2010

Gekko,

You forgot Rule #76. Otherwise great list.

Dec 11, 2010
<span class=keyword_link><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/what-is... rel=nofollow>LIBOR</a></span>:

Gekko,

You forgot Rule #76. Otherwise great list.

Did you mean rule 34?

More is good, all is better

Dec 7, 2010
Argonaut:
<span class=keyword_link><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/what-is... rel=nofollow>LIBOR</a></span>:

Gekko,

You forgot Rule #76. Otherwise great list.

Did you mean rule 34?

this rule 34? http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Rul... if so thanks for introducing me to this

i meant this
http://www.zazzle.com/rule_76_no_excuses_play_like...

Dec 7, 2010

Well done, Mr. Gekko. Well done.

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Dec 7, 2010

Great post Gekko, please keep them coming!

Also, #6 cannot be more spot on. One of the best rules on the list.

Dec 8, 2010

This list is interesting...

Gekko, how many years have you been working on Wall Street?

Gekko21:

Once you get yourself in that room, I don't care about your GPA or what else you have on your resume. I am looking for 3 things--a connection with myself and the firm's culture, Will you be able to do the work?, and do you have a passion for the job?

Dec 9, 2010
12345:

Gekko, how many years have you been working on Wall Street?

+1

Interested in this as well.

Dec 7, 2010
TNMN:
12345:

Gekko, how many years have you been working on Wall Street?

+1

Interested in this as well.

1st year analyst. The vast majority of this list was created off of personal experiences.

Dec 11, 2010

As far as peni go, the biggest belongs to a blue whale

in relation to the body size, the biggest belongs to the Argentine Blue-bill
the pic i was gonna post was of a bird with a 17 inch penis, although the average for species is 8 inches. In a flaccid state the penis is coiled up inside the cloaca. Their penis also can remove seed from previous matings in a manner of a bottle brush.

Among non-vertebrates, barnacles have a penis 40 times the length of their bodies.

Good news is that you don't need a giant schlong to enjoy practicing for reproduction.
Bonobo monkeys enjoy more frequent and more varied sex than humans, with a generally less impressive penis

More is good, all is better

Nov 1, 2012
Victor252:
tylderdurden:

[ It's more common than you think it might be. For applications to accounting firms recruiting last year (and apparently other years too), applicants had to answer "if you were a fruit, what would you be?" Apparently, it's to weed out all the robots who do nothing but study.

I'd be a watermelon because I'm so well rounded and I love big melons!

Wow, who's this guy? He's a regular George Carlin! Hire him NOW!

Nov 1, 2012

I love how these same rules could be applied for being a good stripper!

Nov 11, 2012
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