Share the Strangest Interview Questions You've Received

As we go through recruiting season, people are bound to get hit with some of the strangest and most absurd interview questions that they never would have thought to prepare for. For the sake of comedy, please share questions here that you've either given or received.

Here's mine:

Interviewing at a super day in the bank's office. An associate asks me, "Why is Mars the 4th planet from the Sun?"

These are questions that just make you think, "WTF"?

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Comments (124)

Aug 18, 2017

Wow.. What did you answer?

I had one that frustrates me to this date. It's not the question itself, but rather the timing of it: "If you could reverse the clock and do this interview again, what would you do differently?" This was the 2nd question...

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Aug 18, 2017

Maybe you had screwed something up and he was checking to see if you were aware of it?

Aug 18, 2017

My thoughts exactly. And I was not aware of what it was - which made the situation even more sucky.

Best Response
Aug 18, 2017

"I'd ask for a different interviewer."

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Aug 24, 2017

Triggered

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Aug 18, 2017

"Wait, can I ask for a different interviewer? Away with you!"

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Aug 18, 2017

This is some interstellar shit

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Aug 18, 2017

"So why is your GPA so shitty?" -- first question I was asked at a superday verbatim.

"If you were a vegetable, what kind of vegetable would you be?" -- I always thought this question was a stereotypical joke, but it actually happened.

"I see you went to (ultra non-target). What do most finance majors from there end up doing, sales or something?" -- He wasn't far off, had to give him that.

"[after he had asked what other firms I was interviewing with, and I had responded] So why would you want to work here, when those places are way better?"

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Aug 18, 2017

Just out of curiosity, how'd you answer these? Like not even necessarily what you said itself, but were you acting cool about it and what not cause it seemed like he just wanted to see how you react under high pressure situations

Aug 18, 2017

1) I laughed -- he was joking around (4.0), and we spent the resume of the interview talking about non-finance stuff.
2) I wanted to dryly say that his question really put me in a pickle, but I fumbled my delivery and just said that I was a pickle, and after a second to realize what I said, made up some weak reason to follow up.
3) Shrugged and said that was true to an extent, and that others would go into corporate finance, etc. and then pivoted to why I was interested in IB coming from there.
4) Gave the usual answers recommended around here, but I think he had it out for me from the start.

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Aug 19, 2017

Aren't you supposed to avoid answering where else you're interviewing?

Aug 18, 2017

"What kind of tree describes your personality?"
"Is a hotdog a sandwich?"
"Do you still have any loans and have you paid your taxes yet?"
"So you're a Canadian. Would you say the border is porous?"

Aug 18, 2017

lmao "what kind of tree describes your personality"

I would've been like Pejibaye cause I wanna shove my thorns in your face right now.

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Aug 18, 2017

Being a Canadian I had to google Pejibaye right now... Being a try hard I answered with "Pine tree. They're strong and resilient and can grow anywhere".

Maybe it's true - but I don't know shit about pine trees and I was banking he didn't either. He paused and I thought I was busted for a second, but then he laughed and complimented my answer.

Aug 19, 2017

Pine tree - because if you screw me on my bonus I will literally be a pinecone in your ass afterwards.
only if you eat it sideways
no, yeah
idk the usa makes a pretty nice border between Canada and Mexico. You ever seen a Mexican in Canada? You haven't, you're welcome.

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Aug 24, 2017

I would ironically say an Oak tree.... (so he would understand where I wand to end up)

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Aug 18, 2017

Was asked to tell a funny story. Kind of caught me off guard, especially cause the only ones I could think of were definitely illegal nor interview appropriate haha

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Aug 18, 2017

Why is a manhole round?

Aug 19, 2017

Feel like this one is pretty common, my dad told me it when I was 7/8. It's so it can't fall through. Other shapes you could turn it on its side and angle it so it could fit. With circles, there is no way a larger circle can fit in a smaller circle.

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Aug 19, 2017

Got the same one once. Apparently it's not that uncommon of a question, but I had no idea when I was asked and wasn't even prepared for any kind of brainteaser.

Aug 18, 2017

Here is the funny thing -- well, you guys wouldn't find it funny. When my group used to interview candidates, each of us had our set of default questions. Some people liked to ask brainteasers. Others had their go-to accounting or finance questions. But the truth is that none of us would be able to answer our own or each others' questions if we had heard it for the first time. In fact, some of our own analysts did not even get them right when we asked them. I think that all of these questions have absolutely no relevancy on the job and whether someone will make a good or bad analyst or associate.

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Aug 19, 2017

Never asked to me, but this question is fucking hilarious and the answer given is even better.

"You are shrunken down to the size of nickels and dropped to the bottom of a blender. What do you do?"

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Aug 18, 2017

Do you know the answer though? I have a fun book called "Are you smart enough to work at Google?". It has some insanely tricky questions including this one. Anyway for those who aren't aware, the answer to this question is that mass is reduced in the shrinkage but your density is remains in tact, so you retain significant muscle power and are able to jump out of it.

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Aug 20, 2017

I've interviewed at Google, they actually stopped asking stupid questions like this. Instead they've replaced them with FOB interviewers 2 months fresh off the boat from top universities overseas who pronounce "content provider" as cotton picker and do their damndest to come up with CPA level 69 accounting questions to fok you up if you show up with a vineyard vines tie. I shall be returning for a round 2 after my banking stint.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Aug 28, 2017

this movie was terrible except for will ferrell and his sanskrit neck tattoo and this scene with "HI MY NAME IS BILLY!"

Aug 20, 2017

stupid shit:

  1. how many tennis balls in a Boeing 747
  2. how much would you pay to roll dice and get $1 per amount rolled
  3. how many degrees between hour and minute hand @ 3:20
  4. how to hedge $100m worth of commodities x y z

this is for banking people fuck me dead im not Yang the chinese quant from the Big Short

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Aug 22, 2017

"Actually, my name is Jiang."

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Aug 22, 2017

JIAN YANG!!!!!!!!!!

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Aug 23, 2017

2 and 3 are actually total gimmes dude, I'd love to get an EZ math/stats question like that.

2 - Expected value calculation, duh...equal to or less than (1/6)*(1+2+3+4+5+6)

3 - 360 degrees in a circle. 360/60 degrees in a minute. (20-15)*(360/60) degrees between 3:00 and 3:20.

I have always thought questions like 1 and 4 are ridiculous. Sure, I could answer them, but only in terms so vague as to be pretty ridiculous....

"I'd take the volume of a cylinder that is the length of the plane up to the rear engines minus the volume of a cone the length of the cockpit, then subtract the volume of a seat times the number of seats in an average 747, then subtract space equal to the volume of the overhead bins, the undercarriage, the lavatories, and other misc. peripherals like the food prep area, and divide that number by the volume of a wilson tennis ball".

I don't even know how to hedge the fucking commodities. "I'd take long positions in a weighted basket of commodities (abc) with -1 price correlation to the weighted basket of (xyz) and architect a portfolio which optimizes the position in (abc) such that its expected payout in a scenario of decline in (xyz) is equal to the expected decline in (xyz).

Aug 23, 2017

I don't think your answer to question 3 is quite right.

At 3:20, the minute hand is pointed to the "4" on the clock. The hour hand is pointed at the 3 (for 3 o'clock) PLUS the tiny bit extra it has moved towards the 4.

There are 12 hours on a clock, so in each hour, the hour hand moves 360/12, or 30 degrees. At 20 past 3, the hour hand will have moved 20/60 of the way between 3 and 4, or 1/3 of those 30 degrees. So it would have moved 10 degrees towards the 4. The minute hand is at the 4, and the hour hand has 20 degrees more to move before they touch.

The answer is 20 degrees apart.

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Aug 23, 2017

Actually numbnuts, you're failing to consider that the interviewer didn't specify 3:20:00 as the time - leaving open to interpretation the number of seconds that have elapsed since the minute began.

Without clarifying this number, you cannot hope to measure the "extra" that the minute hand has ticked past the 4:00 position due to the incremental rate of (1/60)*(360/60) degrees per second.

My answer is right, because if the interviewer doesn't bring up the alternative, I'm right. And if he/she pulls some smartass shit like what you just did, I would hit him with the response I just hit you with - and silly ain't no way to look in front of the interviewee.

Aug 24, 2017

Regardless, your original answer is wrong, because at 3:20, the hour hand is 1/3 of the way between 3 and 4 (due to the extra 20min) - there is no possible way the right answer could be 30 degrees, as you claimed. And if you were to "hit the interviewer with that response," the only one left looking foolish would be yourself, considering you failed to grasp the basic premise of the question in the first place - and then tried to call bs on a minor technicality related to seconds that would, at most, change the answer from 20 degrees to maybe around 21. Not to mention calling it a "total gimme" prior to your answer. In an interview, the right answer would be 20 degrees, as dan_yo clearly stated.

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Aug 23, 2017

Sigh...trying to make a casual contribution to this forum with you try-hard prospective monkeys is always asking for monkey shit, I suppose.

Yeah, you got me - I answered in 30 seconds, in the middle of a workday, and didn't consider the incremental degrees in the hour hand caused by the 0:20.

I find it hilarious that all the rainmen slinging MS at me for missing this ultimately unimportant detail are now clutching their pearls when I accuse them of having missed the "trivial" amount of distance caused by the ticking of the second hand. Convenient that the details I omitted are of vital importance, but the ones you forgot are negligible. Get real, kids, either all the details matter or some shorthand is acceptable - you can't have it both ways, and the extent of shorthand that is acceptable is a conversation, not a matter of fact.

Despite my tone, I was not peeved at @dan_yo23 - he was merely making an academic point on this, which I can respect. I am peeved at all you college sophomores who actually think you're hot shit for understanding the "true" answer here.

Let me break down for you how this would go in an actual interview:

Interviewer: asks watch degrees question

Me: gives "wrong" answer

Interviewer: "You realize that you missed the effect of the extra 20 minutes on the hour hand, right?"

Me: "Gotcha - if we're going into that level of detail, let's just call it a day and be precise by accounting for rotation that is caused by the ticking of the second hand on a mechanical [insert brand of watch interviewer is wearing]. The answer is ____."

Interviewer: "Haha, okay, obviously you get the idea of this problem and I'm not going to harass you about tedium like some kind of intellectually frustrated savant."

Seriously guys...this kind of question is designed to help the interviewer see how you think on your feet. It doesn't have to be precise. And they're not docking you points for initially going for a shorthand answer if you can follow up with something even more precise than their retort. The point is to make you think through a problem on the fly and then, if need be, defend your answer.

Aug 23, 2017

Google the interview question, or any others like it. Its a fairly common ACT/SAT trick question. The whole point of the question is not to test your math skills of figuring out the degrees between two hands on the clock, but to test your critical thinking skills of remembering/noticing that hey, the hour hand will have slightly moved as well.

See: http://www.ibankingfaq.com/interviewing-braintease...
People are flinging shit at you because you came out swinging, calling me "numbnuts" and "smart ass". I was just trying to point out what you missed, not trying to insult your intelligence. If you had come out with "Yeah, if you want to look at it in that amount of detail, then yeah, it would be 20 degrees. My answer was more of a ball park" then I guarantee you would have gotten zero shits.

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Aug 23, 2017

@dan_yo23 , It's not really important whether the question is on the SAT or not - I got an 800 on my math SAT (back when it was more difficult, I might add), so I'm well aware of the distinction between how this question ought be answered in a standardized test setting and how it can be answered in an interview.

I'm also well aware of the etiquette required to harvest silver bananas on this forum - look at my post history and you'll see a very different tone. Compare my point count with yours - but thanks for the instructions.

It is as simple as this - from time to time, especially when busy, I don't really care about harvesting bananas if it means stepping on glass for the sake of fragile egos on WSO. Learn to take a joke dude. Of course I didn't think you were trying to insult my intelligence, and have said as much above. Not to sound like a dick, but do you have a male friend group? Do you not understand that someone can call you names, but solely by dint of engaging you in the conversation, they're demonstrating their respect for your point?

I gave a decent answer and you decided to one up me, which was cute (and correct). In turn, I one upped you, and gave you some light verbal abuse for having fact checked me without taking your chosen approach to its logical conclusion. Note that I am not the one shitting on your posts.

This forum is increasingly annoying because it is rife with "aspiring bankers" that get really bent out of shape about something as trivial as this discussion.

"YOU DIDN'T ACCOUNT FOR THE 0:20 - MONKEY SHIT!!111"

I have no sympathy for this savant-like frustration with detail and etiquette coming from try-hard wannabes that haven't gotten their offer yet (again, not aiming this at you).

Sep 14, 2017
Fugue:

Sigh...trying to make a casual contribution to this forum with you try-hard prospective monkeys is always asking for monkey shit, I suppose.

Yeah, you got me - I answered in 30 seconds, in the middle of a workday, and didn't consider the incremental degrees in the hour hand caused by the 0:20.

I find it hilarious that all the rainmen slinging MS at me for missing this ultimately unimportant detail are now clutching their pearls when I accuse them of having missed the "trivial" amount of distance caused by the ticking of the second hand. Convenient that the details I omitted are of vital importance, but the ones you forgot are negligible. Get real, kids, either all the details matter or some shorthand is acceptable - you can't have it both ways, and the extent of shorthand that is acceptable is a conversation, not a matter of fact.

Despite my tone, I was not peeved at @dan_yo23 - he was merely making an academic point on this, which I can respect. I am peeved at all you college sophomores who actually think you're hot shit for understanding the "true" answer here.

Let me break down for you how this would go in an actual interview:

Interviewer: asks watch degrees question

Me: gives "wrong" answer

Interviewer: "You realize that you missed the effect of the extra 20 minutes on the hour hand, right?"

Me: "Gotcha - if we're going into that level of detail, let's just call it a day and be precise by accounting for rotation that is caused by the ticking of the second hand on a mechanical [insert brand of watch interviewer is wearing]. The answer is ____."

Interviewer: "Haha, okay, obviously you get the idea of this problem and I'm not going to harass you about tedium like some kind of intellectually frustrated savant."

Seriously guys...this kind of question is designed to help the interviewer see how you think on your feet. It doesn't have to be precise. And they're not docking you points for initially going for a shorthand answer if you can follow up with something even more precise than their retort. The point is to make you think through a problem on the fly and then, if need be, defend your answer.

I've used this question numerous times in interviews and can confirm the main reason if I asked is to see if they can pick up the fact that the hour hand is not pointing directly at the hour. Also, as a test to see if people get defensive in their incorrect assumption if they are wrong. Basically to determine if they can admit a mistake. Some people get the first part wrong, very few get defensive. I have never seen anyone get as defensive as you did here. Maybe that's a development opportunity for you?

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Aug 23, 2017

Piss off Richard - dont presume to lecture me on a watch dial when you can't even understand the difference between you and Bear Stearns. The answer is $2 ;)

No, it's not a development opportunity for me. This is an internet forum populated somewhat by professionals, but mostly by kids. Sitting in a room with an interviewer/s rather than the aforementioned would be different in that (a) I would not get it wrong by answering off the cuff, and (b) I would not get into a pissing contest with them should I fail in (a).

Sep 14, 2017
Fugue:

Piss off Richard - dont presume to lecture me on a watch dial when you can't even understand the difference between you and Bear Stearns. The answer is $2 ;)

No, it's not a development opportunity for me. This is an internet forum populated somewhat by professionals, but mostly by kids. Sitting in a room with an interviewer/s rather than the aforementioned would be different in that (a) I would not get it wrong by answering off the cuff, and (b) I would not get into a pissing contest with them should I fail in (a).

Defensive much?
:-)

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Aug 23, 2017

@huhuhuhuhu Astute observations buddy, thanks for rehashing @dan_yo23 's point for me... except that 1/20 is equal to 5%.

5% is one of the most widely accepted benchmarks for a statistically significant error.

So by just about anybody's metric (that is, anyone with an objective regard for error and not some keyboard jockey trying to assert his arbitrary biases), missing 1 degree in the calculation isn't a technicality - it's just another error.

Go back and hit your Business/Econ 101 stat textbook for me one more time, why don't you.

Sep 5, 2017

dude, just suck it up. you were pounding your chest about how sharp witted you were, when in reality 1. you fell for the simplistic obvious wrong answer (rookie mistake) 2. didn't man up to it and got defensive... both very negative traits in an employee. close only counts in grenades and horseshoes. wall st deals in big #'s so 5% off on a 10B transaction is still $500mm error. i've interviewed hundreds, and you're lucky your old (hopefully) because i certainly would never hire you. you would strike me as a person who'd make a trading error, then hide it because you thought it was no big deal, then trade again to make up for that error, til you became infamous as a rogue trader that brought down a bank.

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Aug 23, 2017

Must you hop on a dead thread and give this tired, sanctimonious response?

Learn to read buddy - I have copped to my mistake. I answered in 30 seconds while in between calls and didn't think about the hour hand. Big whoop. I have made amends with @dan_yo23 - the only reason this part of the thread persists is because little people like you feel that the rest of us need to indulge you in a pretentious, redundant lecture about small potatoes.

"I've interviewed hundreds" - sure, champ. How about before lecturing me about about all the big numbers you deal in, and the effect of a tiny error on a big transaction, you proofread literally any of the sentences you wrote, none of which achieve correct capitalization and/or grammar. Moron.

What this is really about is the fact that WSO is full of tryhard/wannabe monkeys like you, lacking in social skills, who have nothing better to do with their time than lecture their peers on WSO, all in a very sad pissing contest to see who is the best at pointless brain teasers. Hope someday you get the validation of an MD that you so desperately crave.

Aug 24, 2017
Fugue:

Actually numbnuts, you're failing to consider that the interviewer didn't specify 3:20:00 as the time - leaving open to interpretation the number of seconds that have elapsed since the minute began.

Without clarifying this number, you cannot hope to measure the "extra" that the minute hand has ticked past the 4:00 position due to the incremental rate of (1/60)*(360/60) degrees per second.

My answer is right, because if the interviewer doesn't bring up the alternative, I'm right. And if he/she pulls some smartass shit like what you just did, I would hit him with the response I just hit you with - and silly ain't no way to look in front of the interviewee.

When you came out swinging I thought you were joking. This is a hot take

Aug 23, 2017

I was joking, although the point I'm making is also valid.

This forum makes me deeply concerned that the next crop of college graduates are going to be so frustrated by their years of textbook trawling that they will have forgotten how to recognize a joke.

Sep 6, 2017

this was entertaining

Aug 19, 2017

No the answer to #2 is $1, because I bet on a possible loser. While yes you could theoretically use an expected value equation to find the absolute threshold to where you in theory would break even, I will stick to the question given with the assumption that you have to pay at least $1 to roll and go with $1. There was never a stipulation that this was a bid to roll the dice. Any slightly above average person would give the answer you gave. It takes an actual intelligent person to analyze the actual question.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Aug 23, 2017

Sorry, I either fail to understand your point, or I do understand it and find it rather elementary... what do you mean "I bet on a possible loser"? "I stick to the question given"? The question given is "how much would you pay to roll dice and get $1 per amount rolled".

In other words, how much would I be willing to pay for a dice that paid $1 if a 1 comes up, $2 if a 2 comes up, etc.

"There was never a stipulation that this was a bid to roll the dice" - I'm sorry, that is exactly what the stipulation is. Your point isn't very clear, but I think what you're trying to say is "There's no stipulation that you're bidding against a a competing bidder for the right to roll, and there's no stipulation that the person offering the roll can reject your bid".

If what you're saying is that the person offering me the question is going to let me roll no matter what my answer is, since there's no competition or counteroffer, then how about this - I'll pay $0 for the right to roll! Wow, what a genius I am, I just found a free lunch!

Your answer makes no sense, even by your own incorrect standard that you can underprice the risk - if that's the standard, why not price each roll at zero, or even a negative number?. You rely on the logic of "I can't win any less than $1 in this game per roll, so the fair price is equal to the lowest possible return". Well, no, the fair price is the one that takes the potential upside into account. Your answer is, ironically, just another risk-weighted approach to the problem, albeit a sloppier one than mine.

When, in structuring a deal, do you ever get to come to the counterparty(ies) and say "here's a deal where I've mispriced the risk in my favor, now let me roll the proverbial dice"?

Tl; dr: What are you talking about? The purpose of this question isn't to elicit whether you're "truly intelligent @heister, who has figured out the cute chicanery of offering to pay an "unfair" price (that's not rocket science, buddy). In proposing this answer, all you are really saying to the interviewer is "I'll pay the guy however little his stupidity will allow me to". But the better context for the question is assuming you are dealing with someone as calculating as you. The question is whether you understand how to construct a justifiable price for the asset (which also isn't rocket science) - in this case, your answer is less justifiable than mine.

But yeah, sure, if the interviewer is going to let me pay whatever I want for it, let's just price each roll at -[the value of their company's stockholders' equity]. I roll, you lose. Now that's rocket science.

Aug 19, 2017

No, you added an implication to the question that was never made. Why did I pick $1 over zero? Because I marked out a caveat that you had to pay something and since we are dealing with whole amounts here $1 would be the minimum qualifying amounts.

The point I was making was that you analyzed the question as what you expected it to be, not what it actually is. Which in my opinion is why I would never hire you. You puff out your chest and make assertions that because you solved the question with math that your answer is the only possible correct answer. This isn't a question of absolutes it is a test to see how you analyze something, taking a straight line analysis that everyone can do wouldn't provoke confidence in me that you could provide a solution to a problem that is any different than 100 other random people would come up with if asked the same thing. Interviews aren't about getting the "right" answer, it is a test to see how you think and interact under pressure. I don't hire people who can recite their introductory finance or pre-calculus textbook. I hire people who can think on their feet and can create value for me that exceed their costs. But yes please feel free to complain about me changing your self imposed rules.

As far as what I meant in the opening line of my reply I wrote that response while on a conference call it should have read "I don't bet on a possible loser".

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Aug 23, 2017

Dude, I'm sorry to be frank, but this is a BS retort. Saying that I "analyzed the question as what I expected it to be, not what it actually is" is indulging yourself in your own arbitrary and selective reading of the question, and then holding that indulgence against the candidate. To then label this selective interpretation as "true intelligence" is truly staggering.

The question is "How much would you pay for [X]". My answer is, "the fair value of X weighted by its risk" - which yes, is the boilerplate response to a boilerplate question. Your answer is "$1, which is justified by two arbitrary caveats I'm inventing about (1) needing to pay some nonzero amount and (2) paying an integer amount". Note that neither of those stipulations are part of the question - so it's pretty laughable that you're accusing me of being the one to read something into the question that isn't there.

Bullshit. The question is, what I would pay, and if we are to assume the interviewer's intelligence, why would I pay it? My formulation of the response is internally consistent, and unlike yours, it also survives criticism. The criticism is very simple and obvious to anticipate, and it's this: imagine the client asks you "why is this the price you've chosen"?

I respond "because it's fair to both parties".

You respond "because [arbitrary caveats that are way less important to the client than their self-interest]"

So sure, if you want to hold it against me that I'm thinking one step ahead of the question into the realm of "why does the answer matter", okay. But buddy, you'd never hire me? At that point, I would never accept your offer after being subjected to this vain, tortured exercise in mental gymnastics.

If you want to gauge my intelligence, ask me for my opinion on current events, or ask me a riddle, or ask me something that throws me off base. Do not ask me to come up with a contrived response to a very standard question that has been settled in so many ways, for so many years.

Aug 19, 2017

I analyze everything on self interest. Why do I give a fuck about another party? You seem to think that the game of life requires you to be fair to everyone all the time. I never said your answer wasn't valid, just that in my view your answer was wrong because it wasn't the best possible outcome for you and that I wouldn't hire you because you think on a straight line path of getting a gold star in class. I want absolute killers working for me, people who will look at a problem and instead of coming up with standard response. I don't value cogs, I value people who throw a wrench in the gears and blow the system up because they see a way to benefit themselves in a far better way. No one else is looking out for your best interest so I suggest you stop looking out for everyone else less you get left behind.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Aug 23, 2017

It's not about looking out for other people or some vague sense of fairness, guy - it's about the fact that no institutional client is stupid enough to engage in a trade where they're getting bilked this obviously. Have you ever heard the term "long-term greedy"? It means not doing obvious things like what you're proposing, and in so doing, ruining your reputation. All of this is ultimately to serve your self interest.

But hey, fair enough - I guess if I was interviewing at whichever "scrappy" bucket shop you're at, I'd know from the get-go that you guys were looking for the answer that comes as close to the border of your fiduciary duty as legally possible, and maybe even a little bit beyond.

Sep 12, 2017

If you're dealing with counterparties, no one is ever going to accept $1 as it's never better for them to make that trade. Your best case response is $2 under your rules, because someone's going to want to hedge that $1 loss risk.

Aug 27, 2017

So what's the answer to #2?

"how much would you pay to roll dice and get $1 per amount rolled"

Can someone explain their thought process?

Aug 23, 2017

While @heister disagrees with me vehemently, I'll explain what I think is the more straightforward (and correct) answer to the problem, and let him explain his position. You be the judge.

In this situation, you're basically buying the right to an asset whose value is probabilistic. In this case, you're buying the proceeds of the dice roll, where those proceeds are $1 if a 1 is rolled, $2 dollars if a 2 is rolled, and so on.

The question is, how does one value the dice before knowing what the outcome of the roll is?

The die can be one of six outcomes ($1, $2, $3, $4, $5, $6), each of which has a probability of (1/6). My opinion is that the correct value of the dice is the expected value of the dice payout.

Expected value is the probability-weighted value of the dice. So, you want to take the probability of each outcome, multiply it by the corresponding payout of that outcome, and sum those terms:

EV = (1/6)$1 + (1/6)$2 + (1/6)$3 + (1/6)$4 + (1/6)$5 + (1/6)$6

In this formulation of the problem, the above term is equal to the average value of the dice, or, 3.5

What this means is that if you roll the dice an infinite number of times, and pay $3.50 for each roll, your ultimate winnings from the game should be zero. In other words, this is the "fair" price. If you were to pay less than $3.50, there would be no incentive for the person offering to let you roll the die. If you were to pay more than $3.50, you would be going against your own interests.

A few real world comparisons:

  1. Casinos are viable business models because most of the games they offer have skewed risk-reward profiles - i.e., you are paying more than $3.50 for each roll of the proverbial dice. While the casino loses money to some winning gamblers, the odds dictate that over the course of millions of games they are going to come out ahead.
  2. Insurance contracts are, theoretically, priced based upon similar logic to the above. The insurer calculates the following:

Price = [insurance premium]x[probability that you never collect on your insurance] - [coverage amount]*[probability that you collect insurance]

Note, in the above, that the term [coverage amount][probability that you collect insurance] is negative because the coverage amount is a loss to the insurance company - *they are paying you if the insurance contract comes into play. But the theoretical precept is the same, and is that of expected value - you take the probability of each event and multiply it by the payout of each event, and sum these terms for all possible events. In the dice example, all events entail a payout to you, and are therefore positive. In the insurance example, some events benefit the insurer (collecting premiums) and some events do not (paying out the value of the insurance contract), and so not all terms will be positive.

  1. Financial options - the Black Scholes model for options pricing is ultimately an exercise in expected values - however I am glossing over mostly all of the math here. Essentially, it is saying:

Price of a European Call = EV(Stock price | Stock price>strike)pr(Stock price>strike)) - (strike price)pr(stock price>strike)

The term EV(Stock price | Stock price>strike)pr(Stock price>strike)) is itself an expected value (the expected price of the stock if it's above strike times the probability that it's above strike - in other words, the expected value of the stock if the option is not worthless). Similarly, (strike price)pr(stock price>strike) is an expected value - it is the expected cost of exercising the option. Note that the other "outcome" is where the stock price at expiry does not exceed the strike price - in which case the value of the option is zero - and this is why the price of the option ultimately decomposes to only the above two terms.

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Aug 20, 2017

"Do you like scissoring?"
-Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Aug 23, 2017

Not a single word in this post is capitalized. What happened to you man?

Aug 20, 2017

America is the greatest country in the world.

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Aug 23, 2017

Tell me about it...

Aug 20, 2017

Wow, why is every one throwing monkey shit at the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? Go move to SYRIA if you don't like it here!

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Aug 23, 2017

You know, it's not funny to edit your posts and completely recontextualize the conversation when nobody notices that you did that.

Aug 31, 2017

"Do you like cuban cigars?"
-Bill Clinton

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Aug 22, 2017

"Would you buy expensive bags for the hookers you hang out with if you're profitable?"

Aug 22, 2017

"Have you ever lied?"

Aug 23, 2017

I would reply by saying "I'm lying right now."

Blows their mind and deflects the question from me having to make up some bullshit about a time I lied for ethical reasons.

Aug 24, 2017

I would reply with "of course not."

Aug 22, 2017

One time this fucking Citi nerd asked me what my major was. I was like bro....do you know who my fucking dad is??? Do you know WHAT FUCKING FRAT I WAS IN?!?!?! And you have the audacity to sit here and ask me about schoolwork????? I was like Allen Iverson in his practice bit. I said "Major???" "I come from the top frat in the nation and you ask me my MAJOR?!?!?! Really????"

Still got the job because my dad's a minority stakeholder on the board. Declined it anyway to focus on my side-hustle of trust fund receival. Took my offer letter and used it to roll up a fat one with the boys, got back on the boat and cracked open a few cold ones.

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Aug 22, 2017

I would've gave the guy a death stare. Paused for 2-3 seconds. And then said "because earth is #3 and Jupiter is #5. and Mars is in between Earth and Jupiter. are you slow?"

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Aug 22, 2017

Interviewer A is asking standard behavioural questions regarding teamwork history etc, Interviewer B raises his voice, tells A to stop and asks me Question: "Why are man-hole covers round?"

Certainly obscure, but I gave a reasonable answer regarding the geometry of certain things being able to down the hole.

Answer: So the cover cannot fall down the hole, no matter which way it is rotated.

Pretty smart question & timing+presentation was clearly designed to throw me off.

Aug 22, 2017

had my interviewer take his shoe off and give it to me. he said "there"

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Aug 30, 2017

Should've put his shoe on and said "Now that the shoe is on the other foot, I'm going to flip the script and ask you some questions"

Aug 23, 2017

For me this would be an easy answer: "That's just the way they 'plan-it'". But then again, I've never heard of someone getting an offer from a terrible pun.

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Aug 23, 2017

big sean fan?

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Aug 23, 2017

Tell me about a time you did something wrong but for the right reason

Aug 23, 2017

Q: "Can you tell me ten different ways to use a brick?"

A: "Go fuck yourself."

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Sep 14, 2017
harvey.miller:

Q: "Can you tell me ten different ways to use a brick?"

A: "Go fuck yourself."

I read this as ways to use bricks:

(Read in the voice of Big Gay Al)
1. as an accent wall
2. Something to weigh down a planter
3. A bookend!
4. A paperweight
5. A building block
6. Real life LEGOs!
7. Something to weigh down sandwiches while warming them up (Cuban style)
8. Tie it to your junk to use it as a penis extender!
9. A parade float wheel stopper
10. An asshole stretcher

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Aug 23, 2017

"How many piano tuners are there in Seattle?"

//Signed//
MLang

Aug 24, 2017
MLang:

"How many piano tuners are there in Seattle?"

What did you answer? I know the point is to test your logical reasoning and all, but how the hell are you supposed to answer that.

Aug 23, 2017

I said something along the lines of "The ratio of pianos to amount of pianos that can be tuned in 252, 8 hour periods"

I know people don't get their pianos tuned every year, or that piano tuners work 252, 8 hour shifts a year, but eh I think it panned out alright.

Didn't accept the internship, was at a really small logistics company; just trying to get my foot in the door somewhere at the time.

//Signed//
MLang

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Aug 24, 2017

I was once asked what other firms I'm seeing - to which I replied, "What, do I look like some sort of slut?"

Aug 24, 2017

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Aug 24, 2017

I was asked for a Karaoke song.

Aug 20, 2017

Ive been asked this twice

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Aug 24, 2017

..........

Aug 24, 2017

"tell me about a time you betrayed your friend's trust and what you did to regain it."

I still don't have a good answer to this fucking question.

Aug 26, 2017

"What for should I regain trust?"

Aug 19, 2017

Dude that's an easy one, you just lie or maybe tell the truth. Prime example would be "I fucked his college girl friend" and to regain his trust I said "she cheated on you before that, I was just doing this to get proof to let you know". Works 100% of the time every time.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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Aug 24, 2017

"If you could go back in time, would you kill baby Hitler?"

Aug 26, 2017

No, but I'd make damn sure he got into art school.

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Aug 25, 2017

tell me about yourself

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Aug 26, 2017

A place I was interviewing with once brought all the candidates into the same room, and then asked each of us: "If we were to hire all but one of you, who should we not give an offer to?"

Aug 18, 2017

How'd you answer? I think refusing to answer is the only answer in this situation

Aug 24, 2017

"You should not give an offer to me. I will have other options available and will be alright. This right here is the best thing these boys have going for them. Look at their eyes. Give the offer to them. I'll be alright, mate."

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Aug 26, 2017

The first guy tried to answer with that but they wouldn't take it, so we turned against each other ala Hunger Games pretty quickly.

Aug 24, 2017

Is this a reputable and prestigious shop? I refuse to believe any respectable firms or people would ask that question. Back when my credentials weren't the best and was interviewing at shit places, a bunch of no names that wanted to live the wolf of wall street life, despite doing shit deals and no names on wall street would ask questions like that. Any legitimate bulge bracket that interviewed me were straight business like.

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Aug 26, 2017

It was for a rotational program internship at a relatively well-known F500. To be honest, that question didn't give me a good impression of them even though the rest of the interview process had been fairly professional.

Aug 26, 2017

RBI?

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Aug 26, 2017

i/ fyi, if you mess up I will shout at you (senior associate, at least he is honest)
ii/ why are your finance marks so shitty?
iii/ could you handle 4-5 hours of sleep?

Aug 29, 2017

one of my favorites is Microsoft's: why are manholes round?

Aug 30, 2017

Not trying to show off, but if it's a Math-related brain teaser or something like that, it's pretty easy for Math majors e.g. what's 5^5, 7^4, or a math person should have a clear sense of how to solve the question

Aug 30, 2017

Interviewer walks in the room, sits down. 'Tell me a Joke'

Sep 5, 2017

In a PE interview, I was asked to tell the most offensive joke I knew. I followed with:
"Not sure if it's a joke, but a guy in my last internship got sent to jail for four years after the police found videos of a girl being raped on his phone. I thought it was an appropriate sentence... for a phone thief." The interviewer looked stunned. Did not get second round. Dunno why.

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Sep 5, 2017

"If IB was the NBA, what NBA would you be?"

Sep 6, 2017

"Exactly how many people on this planet know who Derek Jeter is?" I literally went continent by continent using percentage of populations and added each one up for a total then provided a margin for error haha

Sep 12, 2017

At a recent superday, an interviewer asked me to answer one of the following questions:

  1. What is the weight of this building?
  2. What is the total number of people who have lived on earth?

I chose the building

Sep 17, 2017

"Explain the concept and every component of WACC to me as if I was five years old."

*Continues to spend the next hour walking explaining WACC to a 'five year old'.

Follow-up questions by the 'five year old' include within said hour included:
- What if beta is negative; do you include negative betas? (wtf kind of five year old asks that)
- Run through the equation used to unlever/lever beta and answer why we use that particular equation (wtf kind of five year old asks that)
- Net Debt vs. Total Debt for D/E? (wtf kind of five year old asks that)

FYI for IBD a while back

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Sep 17, 2017

LOL was this for FT or SA?

Sep 18, 2017

not OP but i got very similar questions for an off cycle internship so its not uncommon (and fairly easy to answer once you got the concept)

Sep 18, 2017

There has to be someone on here who farted, or shit themselves during an interview. Come on WSO! Don't leave me hangin

I think- therefore I fuck

Sep 18, 2017

...

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Sep 18, 2017

I didnt mean interview questions, I meant worst interview experience in general. I already read the weird interview question thread.

Sep 18, 2017

How about attention to detail, centralpark?

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Sep 18, 2017

Might be looking for a reaction from you, I've had some pretty odd questions and situations in interviews, including the interviewer saying he was stuck in life, too old to find a new career but couldnt leave etc. etc. 10 minutes later I had the offer for the next round but pretty uncomfortable time.

Sep 18, 2017

The thing I always tell people going into interviews is that most of the people doing the interviewing, unless they are in HR, feel just about as awkward about the whole process as the interviewee. I could definitely see this nervousness manifest itself in a lot of weird ways for my co-workers. I wouldn't put too much weight on this one experience unless this guys is going to be your boss.

Sep 18, 2017

Could this person have been involved in some dispute literally while on the way in to interview you?
It can be hard to check that at the door.

Sep 18, 2017

How do you react to something like this though? A cheeky smile, nod and carry on as if nothing weird happened?

Sep 18, 2017

Just pretend to relate. If they're bitching about some coworker make a comment like "oh wow that must suck" or something like that depending on the situation. If you nod and ignore their bitching then you seem like someone they can't talk to. Interviwers are human too. I'd say that if he feels comfortable complaining around you that's probably a good sign, although i agree it is kind of odd. Just learn how to adapt yourself to situations, and the best way to do that if imitate his/her behavior.

Sep 18, 2017

"Ambition and education is first and talent is second"- T.I.

Sep 18, 2017
Sep 18, 2017
Sep 18, 2017
Sep 18, 2017