So our (regional BB) office just wrapped up recruiting for Summer 2020 Analysts, and I thought to provide some stream-of-consciousness feedback on what candidates did right, and what they did not do right.
Candidates we hired exhibited the following traits:
- Acting normal, humble, passing the "airport test." We don't just want maximum intellectual horsepower but a well-rounded candidate that is mature beyond their age, which is tough being 19/20 but I digress
- Fluent communication. This extends to crisp, professional emails, pleasant informational interviews, and fluid answers during first round and superday interviews. On the last point, the best candidates were able to talk through their thought process concisely while answering questions -- too silent is not great, and neither is rambling. Memorized "500 question" answers did not seem memorized but were answered in a way that I could stop them halfway through and know they got the rest of the answer.
- Ability to deal with tough / case study style questions. Beyond the standard guide questions as above, we always give some case studies or other situational style interview questions. Some candidates that did really well were able to stop, think, and walk us through their logic. It's not all about getting the "right answer" but really more about taking a position and doing your best to support it (just like the real job)
Some deal-killers throughout the process were:
- Too stiff (delivering a jilted, not smooth performance) as well as too casual (don't tell us about how you get after it on weekday nights at the Bungalow until after you get hired)
- Amazingly, still not being able to walk through the standard interview questions well (at this point in time, you really should know how to walk through a paper LBO or DCF and actually do the calculations by hand)
- Thoughtless case study answers. Beyond numbers, you should be thinking about business fundamentals and rationale. Perhaps some candidates could benefit from watching how management consulting or private equity interviews work, in that you should be thinking about the market, competition, business model of the company in a simple way (how do they make money, who are their customers, etc) and how this connects to the fundamentals. Not rocket science.
And the biggest deal killer of all was ... not following up!