Mixed Signals in Interview

I had a second-round interview today with an MF for an internship. The interview went smoothly, and I think there was a good rapport, as we smiled and laughed a lot, which made the interview feel very comfortable. Apart from a small blunder in my resume walkthrough (had to think 1-2 secs about how to continue) and some smaller stumbles on unexpected questions which caught me off-guard, I think I handled it well and gave thoughtful responses. There was also a situation in which my interviewer said that he had the interview notes of my previous interview and I could either say the same or something new regarding an investment idea. I said that I had a strong conviction of my idea and thus provided the same answer, just with more detail. In the end, I was asked about hobbies, mentioned three hobbies, one of which is rather uncommon but teamwork-heavy. Asked about a deal he worked on, got an enthusiastic 6 minutes response. When I finally asked about the next steps, he said there was another round next week, and I should hear back by Monday. However, then he said that other candidates were strong, but adding that I was strong too. Suddenly, he mentioned the other upcoming IB internship on my resume and that it conflicted with the one I applied to; to which I responded that it is my backup and that the role I'm applying to better suits my interests and skills. Hence why I'm interviewing with them.

Why would anybody mention that other candidates were strong?

How would you interpret this?

Note: Interview lasted much longer than expected. And he gave me his email in case I had any questions.

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Comments (8)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Apr 24, 2021 - 6:29am

to make u feel better if u dont get chosen (i.e nothing wrong w/ u, someone just interviewd better) or make u like the firm more if u do get through

Apr 24, 2021 - 12:58pm

It means literally nothing. People say it just to say it - it doesn't really provide any insight into where you stand. The best indication will be whether you get a callback, beyond that you should just enjoy your weekend and try not to think about it (easier said than done; alcohol helps).

Apr 24, 2021 - 6:32pm

Interviewers sometimes lose their train of thought/choose improper verbiage. He may have been trying to qualify/walk back his "other candidates are strong" when he said "but you're strong too" (thus implying he didn't want to imply you were out of the process). I wouldn't read into it too much. Obviously, the other candidates are also strong at a PE MF.  

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Apr 27, 2021 - 1:46pm

Thanks all for sharing your insights!

Well, I didn't hear back by today's promised deadline, so yeah...like always

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