King of the shortlists but can't get an offer


For the past two summer recruiting cycles I have been able to interview my way to the final rounds of SA IBD, but was unable to get an offer. I thought all of my first and second round interviews went really well, but when it came to the final round, I could never connect with the interviewers as well as I did in the previous rounds.

For those of you who are going through the same thing, what are you doing to change things up?

For those who have been able to break through after multiple failures, how did you figure it out?

I attend a non-target with a decent GPA and great extracurriculars.

Comments (10)

Dec 9, 2018 - 2:04am

I was in a similar situation during the recruiting cycle for next year’s SA class, non-target with a solid GPA and good extracurriculars. I had four super days before getting an offer—the three that I didn’t get offers from all said I was second on their list. It really sucks, but keep your head up. I found the most helpful thing was asking for feedback. Alumni and sometimes even other people I had only met during the superday were generally pretty good about telling me why they choose the other person over me. Take the feedback to heart and improve. Good luck with the rest of recruiting.

Dec 9, 2018 - 12:56pm

I agree, I think fit may have been the biggest issue. However, I was able to have great interviews with their colleagues in the first two rounds to the point where it became a casual discussion rather than a formal "Q&A" interview. Assuming that their colleagues "fit", I don't know why it was so much harder to connect with the MDs.

Was able to get good interviewing experience from this and hope to figure something out for summer 2019.

Most Helpful
Dec 9, 2018 - 2:39pm

in all seriousness, i don't think there's anything you can do besides keep trying. ask for feedback if you haven't already and jog your memory - are there certain technical concepts that you're having a bit of a tougher time comprehending and conveying to the interviewer? you may think certain questions are "bonus" and that the interviewer is simply trying to challenge you, but if another candidate can nail them, then you're SOL.

make sure you don't act too casual with interviewers, firm reps that you have met in the past. still be professional. on the other hand, if there is someone who you've built a good relationship with, try to connect with them on a more personal level. this shows you're an interesting guy and can easily build relationships with potential clients.

at the end of the day, there's nothing that we can tell you that you don't know. for all we know, you may not be getting offers because certain interviewers were having a bad day, spilled coffee on their new suit, or even thought you looked like a dude who stole their ex-girlfriend away from them. point is keep trucking and eventually you will land something. I'd be more concerned if you can't even get final rounds.

Dec 9, 2018 - 2:51pm

I am in the same position. Did 2 ACs last year, 3 ACs this year (so far), and no offer. It's frustrating but what I find helpful is to know your weaknesses through feedback and keep them in mind while preparing for your next one. Learned this too late as I've only started asking for feedback recently!

Dec 10, 2018 - 8:29am

This could be due to many reasons, and the only way to tell is to actually see how you do at your interview. Seek feedback, do more mock interviews, even sign up for a premium interview coaching service like WSO, etc. While it may be a 'luck' issue, you only get a handful number of superdays, more so given you are from a nontarget, and at this point you probably don't have many chances left.

Dec 10, 2018 - 10:24am

Something similar happened to a friend of mine this past recruiting season. He was very qualified on paper, but interviewed in ~8 final rounds and only finally heard good news back from one. In the middle of the process, we sat down with him and had him do a practice interview with us, and also thought about what potential areas of weakness he had. We ultimately identified something: he was overconfident due to his qualifications (3.9+, 2 F500 internships), and once he was aware of it he changed his behavior in interviews and ended up with an offer. Obviously, as others have said, asking for feedback from the interviewers/others at the firm is key. But, if you can't, try doing mocks with friends or have someone you trust help you identify what the problem might be. Often times people close to you will be able to see something a mock interviewer/professor/whoever can't

Dec 10, 2018 - 12:10pm
Work hard, work clean, & most of all do not give up.
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