Things Employers Tell Interviewees and What They Really Mean

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11 Things Employers Tell Interviewees and What They Really Mean

1. "We Have a Very Flat Hierarchy":

We have a few VPs that take home all of the carry and three dozen Analysts grinding out all of our legwork because it's cheaper. All you little shits are replaceable and none of you fuckers are getting promoted past Associate. Occasionally we let someone call themselves an Assistant VP to make them feel better about not getting a raise.

2. "We Value Diversity of Thought:"

Our CEO says some wacked out shit in press runs sometimes. We try to sweep it under the rug as "diversity of thought". Please don't actually challenge your superiors.

3. "We Value Diversity":

We hired a black guy once and now he's in every single picture on our company website.

4. "I'm Sure You Have a Lot of Questions to Ask Me..."

This conversation is just not flowing well and we still have 5 minutes left, please tell me you have an interesting question to fall back on so we don't have to sit here in awkward silence for the remainder of it.

5. "How Did You Learn About This Position?"

Do you have any fathers or uncles at this firm that I should know about before I shit on your resume at the round-table after you guys leave superday?

6. "Radical Transparency"

I have no fucking idea what this means and neither does anyone else at this firm, but Ray Dalio is kind of a nutcase so just go with it.

7. "Can you elaborate on your experience doing XYZ at Company ABC?"

I know you're bullshitting about this bullet point on your resume, but I'm interested in how well you can talk yourself out of this situation.

8. "Tell Me About Yourself":

I'm about to zone out for the next 30 seconds, when I zone back in and start listening again you better not still be talking about your values and beliefs.

9. From the CEO/CIO: "Here's My Business Card, Feel Free to Reach Out With Any Questions You Have:"

This is me doing my down-to-earth bit to seem approachable and friendly. There's a zero percent chance I'm going to respond to any subsequent emails you send me, and in fact, I rarely respond to emails sent to me from my own employees.

10. "We'll Get Back to You In a Few Days":

We're probably just never going to contact you again, like ever. Truth is, you botched your DCF walkthrough and we're just going to hire the MD's daughter from Villanova anyway. Definitely don't hold your breath for a phone call.

11. "Best of Luck in the Future With Your Job Search, You've Got a Great Resume and You'll Do Well"

You fucking BOMBED this interview. I really hope you have something else lined up, because you are absolutely NOT going to work here.

Feel free to add on!

#7 top discussion of 2018

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Comments (98)

Jul 9, 2018

"Walk me through a DCF"

Did you read the Vault Guide?

"I'll tell you what: I'm never eating at Benihana's again, I don't care whose birthday it is"

    • 5
Jul 12, 2018

We have a zero policy about hiring ass holes. Read: Am the biggest ass hole you'll ever work with, but completely delusional about myself.

Overall brilliant list you have compiled

    • 1
Jul 12, 2018

Every company policy has the unspoken addendum of "...unless they make money."

    • 4
Jul 13, 2018

You can get away with a lot if you are on a first name basis with whichever god makes it rain.

    • 1
Jul 15, 2018
Disjoint:

We have a zero policy about hiring ass holes. Read: Am the biggest ass hole you'll ever work with, but completely delusional about myself.

Overall brilliant list you have compiled

Dude. This reminds me of when I was at a superday for a boutique management consulting firm back in undergrad and the guy presenting to us all at the beginning says "We have a 'no jerks' policy here". 5 minutes later this super sweaty/shaky candidate walks in late and red-faced, clearly nervous as hell (with his clunky HP laptop for some reason?) and the same guy proceeds to shit on him in front of everyone and tells him his collar is messed up, he's late, that he's 0-2 so far and off to a poor start. The guy was trying to be funny clearly, so all the candidates dying to make a good impression have to laugh at his joke and we all ended up just laughing in the already-nervous kid's face. He tried to laugh it off but I've never seen someone's face turn so red. Was brutal.

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Jul 12, 2018

these are great, +1

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Jul 12, 2018

I lol'd.

Jul 12, 2018

hah, perfect summary

Jul 12, 2018

Nice list. To summarize, every positive statement made is the opposite in reality, and every question asked is trying to fish for information that wasn't directly part of the question

"We encourage internal mobility" = no way you're changing groups without some serious Machiavellian maneuvers and/or blackmail

"Why do you want to work here?" = you don't seem like a good fit, and I want to know if you have some skill/advantage you haven't brought up yet or if you'll just dig yourself into an even deeper hole

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Jul 13, 2018

"We don't have facetime"

... for any level above VP. Analysts and Asocs are expected to grind hard...

Most Helpful
Jul 13, 2018

"We are a very entrepreneurial group here" = we are disastrously disorganized ...

    • 42
Jul 13, 2018

this one is too true

Jul 13, 2018

This one is so true it hurts.

    • 2
Jul 22, 2018

Right in the fucking feels dude

Jul 13, 2018

"We work hard and we play hard." -> "You work hard."

    • 13
Jul 13, 2018
Htownrr:

"We work hard and we play hard." -> "You work hard."

Close second is "we have fun here" or some shit about the office being full of practical jokers

Jul 13, 2018

Is this just how people are in this field? (fake nice/arrogant)

    • 2
Jul 13, 2018

What's said: "Take care of your physical health"

Translation: "Go fix my fucking model"

    • 2
Jul 13, 2018

"No two days are the same in this role."

Have fun doing the same few menial tasks everyday until you inevitably quit two years down the road.

Array

    • 3
Jul 13, 2018

As a black man, when I hear the diversity line and see the same people in every picture, that's my queue to roll out. Especially, if I see the same black person in damn near every picture, but different white people. It's hard enough getting in a firm, let alone me seeing the writing on the wall that I'm not really wanted around there.

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Jul 16, 2018

I second this to a T.

Every company wants to tout their Diversity to try to make us feel "comfortable," when in reality its the complete opposite.

Jul 18, 2018

Gonna third this. I actually hate how trendy the phrase "diversity and inclusion" is now. Partially because everyone makes up their own definition and partially because it hardly ever exists among the companies that trumpet it the most. I will say that I do have a lot of respect for the smaller companies who just don't bring this up. I'd rather diversity be non-existent and they're honest about it (and hopefully working toward a solution) rather than claim they're for it and hiring clearly shows they don't.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

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Jul 18, 2018

Corporate Culture, and "looking for a great fit" are usually giveaways for me. I've seen places where "Brad" gets interviewed and they spend half of that talking about golf handicaps. However, when a POC gets interviewed (like myself) it's all of a sudden Jeopardy, and I got to break down my education from grade school up.

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Jul 19, 2018

I think it again depends on the people. Fit as in "can talk to clients, not be weird, get the work done, and is easy enough to get along with" is very different than "likes all the same things I like, grew up in the same suburb, went to the same school, etc." But I def get it.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there" - Will Rogers

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Jul 22, 2018

As a white man, read some Marcus Garvey and follow him home.

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Jul 13, 2018
  • "I don't have time to micromanage you." = "I will watch your IM status like a hawk and have alerts for when you log in and log out, to ensure that you're always working and not taking 15 minute bathroom breaks."
  • "We like it when new Analysts take initiative." = "You better bring in some good ideas and let me take credit for them in front of my boss."
  • "You can define the role any way you want!" = "You're gonna do the bitchwork NO ONE wants to do. I don't mean aligning logos on a PPT; I mean the real stuff no one will touch with a 10-foot pole. Kicking people out of meeting rooms? Staying late and showing face time until your face falls off? That's you, buddy! Oh, and and nothing you do will ever be good enough, so shut up and sit down."
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Dec 12, 2018
dcrowoar:

* "We like it when new Analysts take initiative." = "You better bring in some good ideas and let me take credit for them in front of my boss."

This.

Dec 30, 2018

2nd point is too relatable!

My soul is highly leveraged

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Jul 13, 2018

We have an open door policy here -> There's no training and you'll be thrown to the wolves. Don't dare knock on my door.

    • 5
Jul 14, 2018

My last supervisor said just that and literally had his door closed every time I walked by his office for 2 years before he left.

"We listen, if it feels good we shake."
"This town is nuts, my kind of place."
-WSMFP

Dec 28, 2018

This is spot on.

Dec 30, 2018

Maybe in your follow up email by telling him you have gone over the tachnicqls and now feel more confided.

in any case, I've knew a girl that bombed a technical risk management superday interview and still got the offer.
It's never just one thing that gets you the next round/ job.

Also, with first rounds it works like this: the guy interviews say 12-14 and passes along maybe 4.
(numbers made up) but essentially all you have to be is one of the few

GL and if ou get the 2nd round and need help feel free to pm

Dec 30, 2018

leveraged, do you mind providing a little more detail on your background and the internship? are you at a target? is this for a summer analyst position? is this a BB or a smaller firm?

i had a similar experience for a fall internship interview. the VP of a small M&A shop asked me basic questions about the financial statements and i was completely unprepared. he then asked me if my background was in economics (it was), and so he asked me to walk him through a linear regression. i aced that part and ended up getting the internship. :-)

from my experience, the 3rd-year SA internship interviews are much more intense than the one i mentioned above. for the less formal internships, sometimes it's enough to show your enthusiasm for banking and prove that you are capable/likeable to your interviewer (especially if you don't have formal training in finance).

Money Never Sleeps? More like Money Never SUCKS amirite?!?!?!?

Dec 30, 2018

this is for a SA position at a boutique. Yes i'd consider my school a target / semi-target. Really want this internship so I'm hoping for the best but prepping for the worst. Oh well, at least I know what to expect in my interviews to come. Any other input would be appreciated.

Dec 30, 2018

You can't draw a conclusion from your interview either way, because patterns among firms, positions, etc. don't mean jackshit in a specific case: you either made it or you didn't. No probability, no distribution of outcomes, nothing. Maybe it went really well and they don't care that you fumbled the technical questions; maybe your interviewer dinged you the second you got them wrong and that's that. Unless the interviewer actually tells you that you've gotten the job, all you can go by is your gut, and you still have to be wary of that, too.

Jul 14, 2018

"We have a lean team" = You're going to get assraped by the workflow 24/7.

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Dec 19, 2018

Was literally told this by my last interviewer...
It was actually the first time I had heard this particular phrase.
It's for an internship, does it still have the same meaning?

thots and prayers

Dec 30, 2018

i would've very calmly written, "Captain James Hook," and walked out.

Dec 30, 2018

Maybe they wanted to see if he had a nice butt?

Dec 30, 2018

I have never heard of anything that odd happening before. The associate(s) interviewing him probably just wanted to have some fun and mess with his head a little.

Dec 30, 2018

did he question them why? of the significance of writing his name?

3 possible reasons:
1. they were just messing with him
2. they believe penmanship tells something significant and there was just a whiteboard handy
3. (most likely) they wanted to see how he would respond-
if he walked up there like a drone, wrote his name and left without saying or questioning anything then that wasn't the best response.

Dec 30, 2018
deadjackal:

3. (most likely) they wanted to see how he would respond-
if he walked up there like a drone, wrote his name and left without saying or questioning anything then that wasn't the best response.

Not likely. If any thing, the "drone" attitude is likely the optimal response for an analyst. As an associate, I wouldn't want my analyst asking questions about the worthless, time-consuming tasks that he's constantly given.

Dec 30, 2018

There probably wasn't a marker in the room.

Dec 30, 2018

One of my high school teachers was a handwriting analyst, and he said that employers can ask for handwriting samples because it supposedly reveals a lot about your character. Like how high you cross your t's supposedly has something to do with confidence level or something. I highly doubt that's why he had to write his name on the board, though. Just throwing it out there.

Dec 30, 2018

If there's a lady in the room, I would write down Mike Hunt..if it's just men, then Jack Meoff

Dec 30, 2018

ROTFL!!!!!!

********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********

********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********

Dec 30, 2018

they had forgotten his name and didn't have it in front of them?

Dec 30, 2018

I have never been to an interview without the interviewer having my resume in his hand from beforehand. Also, they'll usually ask you if you've changed anything on your resume since, and ask for the updated copy in your hand.

Jul 14, 2018

So outside of the stress of transitioning as a veteran and trying to break into AM, this stuff is all super hilarious. The best part is that while you're all laughing about it, I can tell that it is all one hundred percent true in many cases. I imagine you all typing these and laughing while tears stream down your face into a glass which will serve as your only source of hydration since you can't leave your desk because you and I both know damn well it's because you have work to do. Is it sad that this makes me want to work in asset management even more?

    • 4
Dec 30, 2018

sounds like my freshman year PWM "interview"

Dec 30, 2018

Maybe they liked you enough from the first desk interview to not really worry about the technical aspect of things, i.e. you were considered technically competent, and then they just wanted to see how you were personality wise since different desks have different personality styles. Did you get the sense that they liked you in the second interview? I think that will tell you more than how long it was.

HR would probably not have called you the next day. It depends on the firm, but most large places aren't going to move super fast unless there is a huge need. First you need the interviewers to discuss the candidates, then the hiring manager talks to HR, then HR calls you. Don't think that they are going to prioritize talking about you as it doesn't sound like you were interviewing for an exec VP role.

All that being said, I have been on an internal transfer interview where they didn't like me for the specific role I went in for (gruelingly long interview), and then asked me to meet with a few of the other heads in the department. The additional interviews were all like 20 minutes long and were more personality interviews to see how i would mesh with their team.

Dec 30, 2018

You must have rubbed someone's nuts the right way for them to say, "Sorry kid, we're not hiring, but let me get you a job somewhere else."

Way to go!

Dec 30, 2018

the original desk picked someone else over me, then recommended me. So instead of being rejected i got a "we'd like you to interview with this desk", but i'm a bit worried they did this with lots of people they saw!

Dec 30, 2018
jourdenne:

the original desk picked someone else over me, then recommended me. So instead of being rejected i got a "we'd like you to interview with this desk", but i'm a bit worried they did this with lots of people they saw!

I don't believe that it happened for a lot of people that were interviewed. It's not uncommon to do, but not common enough to where they would have pulled like 10 other people that were not selected for the 1st role to interview for another.

Jul 15, 2018

We are looking for someone who is a "cultural fit" -

i.e. shuts up and agrees with everything the senior people say, laughs at bad jokes and generally is a cubicle monkey who does everything he/she is told with a huge smile

    • 5
Jul 15, 2018

Spot on. We interviewed a kid who was incredibly sharp and very knowledgeable about the company. The other young interviewers and I all liked him; the hiring manager rejected him on "culture fit" because the kid asked questions about the work we're doing and how it differs from similar work the competition is doing.

    • 5
Jul 15, 2018

When I get that, it means I'm not getting hired unless I'm willing to tap dance and sing.

Dec 30, 2018

Happens all the time, I'm afraid. I've had phone interviews where the person says "I'm looking forward to meeting you in person" - still nothing. Very rarely have I ever had someone be negative in an interview.

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Dec 30, 2018

='[

Dec 30, 2018

:'( :'(

Dec 30, 2018

As an experienced candidate, there is nothing more terrible than having to limp through a phone interview with a recruiter.

Recruiter: "So, what would you consider is your greatest strength?"
BillyRay05: tosses phone across room

    • 2
Dec 30, 2018

What concept did you have an issue with?

Dec 30, 2018

it was something very stupid. This is an extreme example, but it was in the lines of thinking that a group like investment banking and another group like Asset Management are one and the same. lol.

Dec 30, 2018

recruiters are salesman, they have to practice social norms. I'm not saying it's the best thing to do, but they have to kill you with kindness to protect their reputation.

and if they said what you said they said, they just promised to give notice of an in person interview, which can be interpreted a number of ways, so now we're talking details.

your speech is the more important question here, not the recruiter. work to fix that, and pronto, nothing wrong with a stutter or an impediment, but there is something wrong if you don't work at bettering yourself. try toastmasters, talking slower, pausing before beginning a sentence, there are tons of techniques, any number of them will work. best of luck homes.

    • 1
Dec 30, 2018

That makes sense. Yeah Im working with a speech coach-- they are expensive. Thank you I need it.

Jul 15, 2018

"We value our people and understand that our personnel are our most valuable asset"

Our HR staff is going spam you with mandatory goal-setting activities each month and all of our work socials are at the bowling alley.

Dec 30, 2018

Let me guess, english not your first language?

Dec 30, 2018
HFFBALLfan123:

Let me guess, english not your first language?

Sorry for my english, you are right.

Dec 30, 2018
Steinrich:
HFFBALLfan123:

Let me guess, english not your first language?

Sorry for my english, you are right.

Don't apologize.

Dec 30, 2018
Steinrich:
HFFBALLfan123:

Let me guess, english not your first language?

Sorry for my english, you are right.

Hey, thats an advantage, not a disadvantage, you are at least bilingual, plus everyone speaks english anyway.

Valor is of no service, chance rules all, and the bravest often fall by the hands of cowards. - Tacitus

Dr. Nick Riviera: Hey, don't worry. You don't have to make up stories here. Save that for court!

Dec 30, 2018

Don't read much into it...it's not uncommon for people to literally be told they are part of an interview schedule a minute before an interview takes place. People are stepping off the desk and have a lot on their mind that has nothing to do w preparing interviews for an undergrad hire.

Dec 30, 2018

1) It's an internship. 2) A lot of guys are dragged into being a part of the interview process taking them away from their normal duties. 3) They may have been looking to you to do the talking 4) It's an internship.

Put yourself in their shoes. Would you take time out of your day to do some research and prepare some questions for one starry eyed college kid coming in for an off-cycle internship interview?

Dec 30, 2018

Generally students interviewing have delusions of grandeur of how much people actually care about the internship recruitment process. Trust me, most people on the desk are not that extremely bothered.

Dec 30, 2018

Thanks for the replies. Is the normal SA superday more organised than this kind of off-cycle hiring? I know result should be out in a few hours after the Superday, but is it the same case for the "off-cycle"?

Jul 15, 2018

"Radical Transparency" on a need-to-know basis. Which is like never. If they're letting you in on all the juicy details, how are they going to stand tall above you?

Dec 30, 2018

Bump

Dec 30, 2018

Anybody?

Dec 30, 2018

One last try...

Dec 30, 2018

Thanks, yeah, I sent a short 3-4 sentence email thanking her, I guess I'll follow up Tuesday (which will be the 10 day mark). Anybody else with some insight?

Jul 16, 2018

We have fun planned events throughout the year as a team.

We get shitfaced at the 2 happy hours a year the company sponsors.

    • 4
Dec 28, 2018

Yeah this has got to be one of the largest sacks of shit they throw at you. A handful of pictures from one company event that was 18-24 months ago and its the only one that get's talked about for at least another 9 months until the next "event" which is just a flash in the pan shit show that pisses off your wife.

    • 1
Jan 2, 2019

Exactly, "Hey everyone we are having a coffee break for 10 minutes in the common area" "Come take a photo with everyone so we can post it on our site".

Jul 16, 2018

Truer words were never said

Jul 17, 2018

We know you are going to provide an immediate impact to the team. Translation: It has taken a long time to get the green light to hire for this position. The guys are really ready to hand off all the manual work they hate.

Jul 17, 2018

"We're looking for people that are resourceful"

Get ready to do shit that isn't even remotely related to the job description and/or your title.

Jul 17, 2018

We believe in work-life balance

You'll have bloodshot eyes, experience chronic daytime fatigue, and will likely develop a caffeine dependency while you work here.

We look for people passionate about the industry and who love their job

We're trying to gauge how much you need a job and want to work here, so we can determine how much we can underpay you

    • 4
Jul 19, 2018

"Everyone's really nice here"

"We're a really incompetent bunch, but management cares about us doing things HIS way more than the right way"

Jul 20, 2018
    • 1
Jul 20, 2018
Jul 20, 2018