Surprise! phone interview!

Got an email at 2am to arrange a phone interview from HK. Fair enough, I gave the person my availability and agreed on a set interview time. He also mentioned that another colleague will also be interviewing me at a different time and will contact me arrange that. So I went back to sleep soon after that.

Phone rang at 6am, barely woke up and picked up the phone, turns out it was the other banker who was supposed to set up an interview. Person immediately said:
"Hi there I'm calling from Bank A, can I interview you now?"
"Umm I wasn't told about the interview being at this time"
"Yeah, it's OK don't worry about it, it's only going to be half an hour"
"Uh sure"

...

Of course, I proceeded to bomb the interview afterwards. I'd like to believe that I didn't fully kill off my chance since I still have one more phone interview coming up but that was just bad IMO. It was all fit, but I was way too sleepy, so I rambled a couple of times and mentioned the wrong group (eg. mentioned I prefer M&A when the coverage guy was calling)

Seriously, WTF is this normal?

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Comments (44)

Oct 12, 2010 - 1:57pm

No. You need to think on your feet. Should have said I have a midterm in 15 mins bye.

-- "Those who say don't know, and those who know don't say."
  • 1
Oct 12, 2010 - 2:03pm

got this one before.

Then they proceeded to have 3 other bankers interviews one after one..an unexpected call turned into 2 hour long interview

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Oct 12, 2010 - 3:16pm

Had this happen to me - fortunately they were aware it was 6am and I managed to make it to the next round.

Still not sure if I want to spend the next 30+ years grinding away in corporate finance and the WSO dream chase or look to have enough passive income to live simply and work minimally.
Oct 12, 2010 - 7:57pm

Out of habit since family overseas sometimes do call me early morning if there's anything urgent, but no use crying over spilt milk I guess. I'll just leave the phone off next time whenever I sleep

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:02pm

How did you handle surprise phone screens? (Originally Posted: 02/11/2011)

I submitted resume and cover letter for a SA IDB position with a MM. The same week I got a call from an analyst at the bank and asked to do a phone screen with me. Although getting an interview was good, I could have done better if I knew it was coming. Does anyone have similar experience? How did you handle situations like this?

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:03pm

You could just say that you were in the middle of something and reschedule for 15-20 minutes later. It won't let you study, but you can take a quick breather.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:05pm

Let it go to voicemail, especially if you don't recognize the number and it's from a specific area code (212 - New York, 617 - Boston, etc.).

When one man, for whatever reason, has an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.
Oct 12, 2010 - 8:06pm

Let it go to voicemail, especially if you don't recognize the number and it's from a specific area code (212 - New York, 617 - Boston, etc.).

When one man, for whatever reason, has an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.
Best Response
Oct 12, 2010 - 8:07pm

Answer the phone and say, "I'm not gonna tell you again bitch, It's not my baby and I got tested, now stop fucking calling me."

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
  • 3
Oct 12, 2010 - 8:11pm

Ah, this happened with a friend of mine. She got a call from MS who asked her the most inane questions like What is your favourite book and which course do you enjoy the most and why? She was totally caught off-guard and her reply to the favourite book question was Harry Potter! They still invited her to the first round though..

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:12pm

+1 don't pick up the phone when interviewing. You can always call back and say you were in class -- assuming you're in still in school. It will also give you time to prepare company-specific questions. If you DO pick up, don't just say you're "tied up" and you have to reschedule... give a good reason and ASK to reschedule... especially if it's a Analyst (vp, md, whatever) and not HR. They are busy. The don't want to get the impression that you are putting the call off just so you can prepare. It's annoying. When you call back, say, "I apologize I missed your call/ had to reschedule... I was [insert excuse]... but I appreciate you contacting me" then let the guy/girl talk. Manners go a long way, and you'd be surprised at how you recognize it when you're sitting on the other side of the table.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:13pm

all great comments! the thought of saying i was on my way to class and needed to reschedule slipped through my mind for a nanosecond. but somehow i decided to proceed w/ the interview. wouldn't it be annoying if say the analyst decided to spend the morning interviewing 8 candidates but 5 of them either let it go straight to voicemail or asked to reschedule? anyway, im hoping that i left him a good impression by picking up the phone on the spot.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:14pm

You must always answer the phone. You could be in a situation where they need to get their shit sorted and are on a tight deadline. If you pussy out and don't answer the phone, then the next guy will and he'll get called in. He'll get the interview because his balls are bigger than yours.

It's a tactic I've seen before to: a) differentiate between the guys who KNOW the WSO Interview guide and the guys who learn it the night before; and b) to see how you think on your feet.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:18pm
Clarkey:
You must always answer the phone. You could be in a situation where they need to get their shit sorted and are on a tight deadline. If you pussy out and don't answer the phone, then the next guy will and he'll get called in. He'll get the interview because his balls are bigger than yours.

It's a tactic I've seen before to: a) differentiate between the guys who KNOW the WSO Interview guide and the guys who learn it the night before; and b) to see how you think on your feet.

This is exactly correct. Few internship resumes have key differentiators and as a result there are many viable candidates and a fixed number of interview slots. If you do not answer the phone the next person gets called.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:15pm

Clarkey -- agree to disagree then. Many of the "guys who answer the phone" are unprepared and are not given any slack because they "had the balls" to pick up. Nothing to do with being a pussy. Some applied to so many jobs that they can't possibly be prepared to ask intelligent company-specific questions on the fly to any random 212 (or any area code for that matter) number that calls. That said, do call back sooner rather than later.

Bottom line: If you answer, you'd better be prepared and not in a setting with annoying background noise.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:17pm

dont ever pick up a random phone call...Bankers are sometimes to lazy to schedule an interview so we just call you when we are free and find any reason to ding you and feel like "we did our job" when there are 10,000 candidates out there who have the same resumes.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:20pm

Surprise group phone interview for summer analyst IB recruitment? (Originally Posted: 08/23/2014)

So I've been in talks with a VP of a top IB group for about two months now and every time I've spoken to him it has been through his cell number, but just today he gave me a call and told me to ring him on his work line, a number I didn't know of until I was told this morning, on an inflexible, specific date and time next week. He told me that it was important that I call him from a quiet place that allows for a strong signal, which led me to ask if I should expect an interview to which he then responded, "No, it's nothing like that but you never know." I tried to get him to clarify his answer but I kept getting vague responses. I have a good relationship with him so I called him out for trying to screw with me, he responded by saying that he was preparing me for the full time work environment...

This latest interaction with him has led me to believe that I'm about to be given a group interview considering his demeanor and request for a call on a strict time and date through his company line, which I presume other members of his team will be on. I've talked to a few friends who have gone through full time recruitment and summer analyst recruitment, and they said that I should just be prepared as if it were a normal interview, although none of them have heard of anything like my situation. I have not even submitted my resume yet nor has this VP seen it. Also, summer recruitment for this firm does not start until November. There is a high chance that I'm getting fucked with by said VP, but I want to be prepared anyway.

Given the information above, what can I expect for what I guess might be an unusual first round interview/phone screen for a summer analyst position? Has anyone else faced a similar situation?

Update: I received an email from the VP this morning saying that I shouldn't be too worried because he is just briefly introducing me to his MD. He said that the call probably won't turn into an interview due to time constraints but that he was serious when he said that he wasn't sure and that I should be fine with my current base of knowledge if the MD does in fact lead the call into a full-blown interview. In other words, I should to be prepared for a quasi-phone screen.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:23pm

I, and many others, have learned that until you have the job, everything is an interview. You're always being evaluated. Don't believe for a second that a phone call with a random stranger isn't an interview. Now, whether that interview makes or breaks your situation is a different matter.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:26pm

EB First Round Surprise Phone Interview? (Originally Posted: 08/11/2015)

Junior in college here - I sent my resume to an EB for a Fall part-time position and suddenly yesterday without warning I get a call from someone there, while I am having lunch at a KFC.

Dude starts asking me to walk me through my resume, which I didn't have in front of me (but knew it cold anyway thank God), and asking me why I want to join the firm, why I want to do banking, how do I estimate WACC for a private company, etc all the typical questions. Don't know how it went, but holy shit was I caught off guard.

Has anyone had this happen to them? I think this is pretty cruel honestly. I could've been taking a dump, I could've been driving, etc.

Oct 12, 2010 - 8:27pm
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