Perfection on Superday

Would you say perfection is necessary to receive an offer? I know this can depend on a lot of things, but was hoping to hear some stories.

Do you have to be perfect to get an investment banking offer?

Getting every single question right will not land you the offer. The interview is about knowing your stuff cold but it's also about selling yourself. You can answer every question with ease but if come off as someone without a personality you won't make it.

Sell yourself. Be personable and likable. Having a strong connection with one interviewer is more valuable than acing every question. You'll stand out and that person is much more likely to through their hat in the ring for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing your interview materials is important. But making a personal connection and being likeable is what really sets you apart.

from certified user @Asatar"

Perfect answers are worthless if they don't like you. I messed up 2-3 questions in a serious way (i.e. answering a question categorically and emphatically when my answer was utterly wrong) but all the people I interviewed with liked me and gelled well so got the offer.

What if all the answers came in one complete package?

The WSO investment banking interview course is designed by countless professionals with real world experience, tailored to people aspiring to break into the industry. This guide will help you learn how to answer these questions and many, many more.

Investment Banking Interview Prep

Recommended Reading

Comments (9)

 
Oct 12, 2013 - 4:19pm

I feel like Superday competition varies to the time of the year. For FT recruiting now, almost all of the best candidates have secured offers. All the FT Superdays left, even at BBs, will be for mostly borderline candidates. As such, perfection will probably guarantee you placement. Whereas, the rest of the offers will just go to luckier candidates.

 
Oct 12, 2013 - 5:50pm

No. Perfection isn't good enough to get an offer.

You have to get people to like you. The perfect kid won't be able to do that.

Then you have to have something the team probably doesn't have but probably needs. And you have to sell that, and sell it well.

And finally you have to interview well. But not perfectly. Smile. Laugh. Disarm them with a joke or two. Be your natural, likeable, transparent self. If you're a reasonably nice person, that's all you have to do.

So stop worrying and just focus on knowing your stuff reasonably well, knowing the company and team you're trying to get into, and knowing your pitch. You need to have a short 30 second statement as to why this team wants to hire YOU and not some Princeton MFin. And if you have all of that, and you guess correctly that the pitch makes sense for their team, you'll *probably* get the offer.

 
Feb 16, 2019 - 11:58pm

This is absolutely spot on.

So simple, but truly extremely difficult to pull off. Master all of your content, weave it into cohesive dialog and have it so dialed-in that you're able to relax a few octaves and be your most gregarious self.

Without a thresholds worth of confidence and polish, you'll always be playing second fiddle to the guy/gal who puts it all together.

 
Oct 12, 2013 - 5:47pm

Perfect answers are worthless if they don't like you. I messed up 2-3 questions in a serious way (i.e. answering a question categorically and emphatically when my answer was utterly wrong) but all the people I interviewed with liked me and gelled well so got the offer.

Oct 12, 2013 - 5:54pm

Asatar:

Perfect answers are worthless if they don't like you. I messed up 2-3 questions in a serious way (i.e. answering a question categorically and emphatically when my answer was utterly wrong) but all the people I interviewed with liked me and gelled well so got the offer.


Yeah. They have to like you.

That said, it's not about which school you went to or necessarily what you have in common. It's really "Are you a nice person? Am I going to enjoy working with you?"

Humility goes a long way here. So this notion that you can and should give a perfect interview has the potential to really interfere with that.

So the guy who gets the job is going to be the best interviewee that the interviewer likes as a person (without looking at their resume.) And then finally there will be a number of people on that horizon in terms of competent interview and likeable person, and the person who offers something that the team *needs* gets the offer.

 
Best Response
Oct 14, 2013 - 10:55am

Having been on the 'other' side of the table for many super day interviews over the last few years, I can tell you that 'perfect' answers sometimes are required and sometimes are a turn off. It all depends, to be honest. The super days are somewhat of a crap shoot for candidates, so in order to get yourself an offer you need to make the effort to attend as many of them as you can. Truth be told, getting a BB IBD offer is all about throwing a wide net.

To get you into the mind of an interviewer on a super day, specifically an associate or VP, you need to realize that these bankers usually have a bunch of other things going on professionally over the course of the day. Also, it is usually on a Friday and they are all looking at getting out at a decent hour. After a banker interviews his slot of 4-6 candidates, there is usually an internal conference call between all the interviewers. Sometimes directors and MDs are too busy to attend, but the associates and VPs will always be there and always participate the most.

As an interviewee, what you have to do is get one or two of the folks who interview you to bring you up as a strong candidate during this call. If several other bankers respond with an "oh yeah, I liked that guy/gal quite a bit too," then you are well on your way to making the short list of who gets offers.

Usually, HR will be on this call as well and they will more-or-less run the call's overall structure but the associates and VPs have most of the say on who gets offers and who stays on the short list of those who may get offers should the first set of candidates pass. One thing to note about HR, is that they will almost always start the call out with how the female and minorty candidates did in the interview process. If any of them did well, there will be a full-court press to get them offers and get them to accept the offers. The other candidates may get one or two initial offers between them but most likely may have to wait a few weeks before hearing anything definite back as they have effectively been pushed to the side for the time being. I have seen this happen countless times with some of the strongest candidates around who we really wanted to give offers right out of the gate.

My advice post-superday is to reach out to an interviewer you beleive you made a solid connection with and stay on him or her over the next few weeks and months. What I have seen happen many times is that a month or two after the superday, HR come back with "We have an additional spot we need to fill quickly or we lose it to another group." If you are on the short list and have stayed in touch with someone who can be your advocate, you can often pick one of these spots up very quickly.

The above also happens quite a bit with regional offices, so if you are not dead set on NYC this is also a good way to pick up a spot. Bit of a warning for recruiting in regional offices is that sometime these spots are harder to get than the NYC spots. Sometimes a candidate with credentials that match the office more effectively (i.e. tech, healthcare, oil & gas) may win over a theoretically stronger candidate. Also, connections to the particular region (Midwest, West Coast, Texas/Louisiana/OK) will also work in a particular candidate's favor.

Hope this helps.....

 
Oct 14, 2013 - 7:44pm

The best thing that can happen to you in a superday is for some MD to give you a stress interview. It gives you the chance to show that you can perform under pressure, that you can think on your feet, and that you have balls. As a female, this is particularly important because chicks love crying and there is no crying on bank time.

Oh, and always put your interests at the bottom of your resume. They say a lot about who you are. If you're applying for a finance internship and you say your interests are "investing" or "studying markets" they will know you're a douchebag. Write chess, or golf, or scuba diving. The chance that the MD will remember the girl who had an awesome golf handicap or the dude who went scuba diving at the same place he did is much higher than the chance that he'll remember that guy who a 3.75 who "has always been really interested in markets".

And don't be shaking like a leaf, but be just nervous enough to show them you've put a lot of thought into it and you really want to to be there. So in short... no, don't be perfect. Be interesting.

Good luck, errybody. Banking sucks but once you do that internship/analyst stint, you can do what the f you want.

 
Oct 15, 2013 - 9:33pm

All that being said, I think if you leave the Superday thinking it went just okay/not very good, you aren't likely to get an offer. They've trimmed the hedges and gotten down to who they feel are the best candidates, so some are likely to impress. Put yourself in the position to feel good about how your interviews went by being yourself and engaging your interviewers. Tell them some things they've never heard before.

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