Moderator Note (Andy): Best of WSO - this post originally went up 3/31/2009 and we thought it deserved to go back on the homepage for those who may have never seen it.
How about a thread where we post some of the worst mistakes we've made in interviews, or perhaps an interview that just went REALLY badly for you.
For a Goldman internship back in college, the interviewers asked me to tell them about myself. This was one of my first interviews so I was very inexperienced, and I was pretty nervous. I didn't know where to begin, so I panicked and ended up giving them my life story, from where I was born all the way to college. The rest of the interview was very harsh and they really grilled me on every single thing on my resume. It was more like an interrogation than an interview. It was a typical stress interview, and I ended up finishing it with a headache, and clothes drenched in sweat. I didn't get called back.
Never Talk About Politics In An Interview
This should go without saying but talk about politics (at all) during an interview. The same goes for religion. Remember that age-old rule 'Never bring up religion or politics at the dinner table'? This goes double during an interview.
interviewer asked me about where did I see the dow heading.
I said frankly I think it is going to get a lot worse before it gets a lot better and bush is killing us with this war.
I have no clue why I said the last part but I had two more questions and interview ended. By the time I got home, I had a voicemail that I was not moving on.
Never Over-Embelish Your Skill Set In An Interview
Anything put on your resume is fair game for discussion in an interview. Make sure it's accurate and that you can back up your claims.
I posted on my resume "intermediate french" which at some point might have been true but I stopped speaking it at work (worked in high school and the first year of college for Air France) and stopped taking classes. I had the "luck" of walking into this VP's office who after a few pleasantries in English saw the French language skill on my resume and started conducting the rest of the interview in French. I think I probably had the language skill of a six-year-old trying to explain why I'd give mez financing to whatever company. Didn't get the offer.
Be Prepared For Basic Interview Questions
There are several 'classic' interview questions that come up in interviews. What are your biggest weaknesses? What would you do in .... situation? Tell us about yourself. Be prepared for these. They may not seem like much but give the interviewer a clear idea of your personality.
I interviewed for GS Strategies during my sophomore year. Didn't know how did I get it, since I am not a math/coding genius, and didn't really know how to prepare since it was their first time coming on campus.
I think I coasted through their quant questions just fine -- brainteasers I happen to think the correct way. But I spaced out during the behavioral: "What is your biggest weakness?". Me: "Um... I think I am a perfectionist". Obviously, bullcrap, which I cannot elaborate upon and only fueled the interviewer's appetite for more stupid answers. Him: "How would your friends describe you?". Fuck, I definitely never thought about this. Somewhere along my feeble attempt to squirm through this question, I think I mentioned "friendly", and "balanced" -- two traits that surely sealed my fate.
When I left the building, the interviewer escorted me through the door, gave his business card, shook my hand and said: "We'll see you during next year's interview rounds." And then he closed the door.
For the full list of fails, visit The Undercover Recruiter
Technical Questions Can Come Up In Any Interview
Regardless of the interview stage, technical questions are on the table so be prepared.
Last fall I really began to heavily network so that I could hopefully land an internship this summer. I had emailed and called every alumni I found on our alumni network. I ended up talking with two alumni at the same time about what I wanted to do with my life and other bullshit. After a couple of these questions, they immediately started drilling me on technical questions which I wasn't prepared for yet because it was still early Fall. I fumbled through those questions and realized they were both big douches for turning what was supposed to be a casual conversation into a technical interview.
Watch this video on how to master your interview.
Read More About Mastering Your Interview Skills At WSO
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- Top 3 Skills Needed for Investment Banking
- Corporate Finance Interview Questions And Answers
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