what do interviewers look for?

goldmansbanker's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 44

has anyone here done analyst interviews?
What do you exactly look for? Finance knowledge? personality?
How important are first impressions? I hear that interviewers make their decisions within the first 5 minutes. How true is this?

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Comments (90)

Apr 8, 2007

don't diss the goldman name with your little knowledge. change your name to operationsguy or wachoviaguy and then ask these dumb questions

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Apr 8, 2007

Insightful response. Thanks for the great contribution, etc.

Apr 8, 2007
gsmsml:

don't diss the goldman name with your little knowledge. change your name to operationsguy or wachoviaguy and then ask these dumb questions

And gsmsml takes the late lead for biggest douchebag on this website.

If you need help with interviews check out the Vault guide, each interviewer is different so in general just sound confident but not to the point where you sound like a dick.

Apr 8, 2007
gsmsml:

don't diss the goldman name with your little knowledge. change your name to operationsguy or wachoviaguy and then ask these dumb questions

Hey dumbass remember this?

gsmsml:

How do you learn financial modeling if you are not going to be doing an i-banking summer internship but you still want to do i-banking fulltime. I am going to be on Wall Street this summer but just not in i-banking, how can I learn about this?

Doesn't look like you know anything either.

Apr 8, 2007

Hey fag seems like you forgot one of your earlier posts?

PoppingMyCollar wrote:

Hey guys can anyone tell me about what exactly is i-banking and what a investment banker does? Is investment banking similar to being a bank teller?

Looks like you got some brushing up to do kid before you start throwing advice out there.

Apr 8, 2007
gsmsml:

Hey fag seems like you forgot one of your earlier posts?

PoppingMyCollar wrote:

Hey guys can anyone tell me about what exactly is i-banking and what a investment banker does? Is investment banking similar to being a bank teller?

Looks like you got some brushing up to do kid before you start throwing advice out there.

What a weak effort.
Here is the link to your post: http://www.ibankingoasis.com/node/4497

Apr 8, 2007

Damn, talk about something backfiring. Haha.

Apr 8, 2007

nice one..pmc

i love al gore's internet.

I've been rejected at some interviews i felt i did exceptionally well while accepted at the ones i thought i shitted.

Everyone keeps saying a culture fit, so i guess it depends on the firm.

obviously the basic factors in ibanking...very driven..charming(not to sound homo)...and be able to show some elements of working outside the comfort zone.

Apr 9, 2007
mrlover1:

nice one..pmc

i love al gore's internet.

I've been rejected at some interviews i felt i did exceptionally well while accepted at the ones i thought i shitted.

Everyone keeps saying a culture fit, so i guess it depends on the firm.

obviously the basic factors in ibanking...very driven..charming(not to sound homo)...and be able to show some elements of working outside the comfort zone.

Just outta curiosity, do interviewees get any credit for getting on a plane and flying 3 hours from a non-target school in terms of working outside the comfort zone?

Also, do you have any idea if the interviewers talk to each other at these interviews? At some of the ones where I got the job offer, the people who were interviewing me seemed a whole lot more excited and interested in me in the last round or two, but I can't be sure.

Apr 8, 2007

You both sound pretty damn pitiful, so sounds like you both should just shut up.

Apr 9, 2007
goldson:

You both sound pretty damn pitiful, so sounds like you both should just shut up.

I'm going to try and help the thread recover from this... unfortunate battle... by giving everyone an excuse to flame me and tell me that I'm totally ignorant and wrong.

I'm going to post my advice based on my humble experience. I'll warn you that this only comes from my own interviews with investment banks, and doesn't have the perspective of the interviewer. However, I'm hoping that people will come along, tell you how horribly wrong I am, and actually give some better advice.

If you're interviewing for a job in IBD, your job is to look well-put together and look competent. People I've interviewed against on Super Days have shown up in tennis shoes! Some interviewers may make assumptions about your work just by your appearance, so it's good to make sure that your shoelaces are tied, your zipper is up, and every button on your shirt is buttoned. That's step one.

Step two is to look confident. Give a firm handshake. Go through all the niceties you've been taught by parents, career counselors, etc.

Their first question may be, "Tell me about yourself." This means the interviewer is being lazy. He's inviting you to turn your background into a sales pitch. Emphasize hard work, leadership, and obsessive attention to detail if it's in IBD.

If you're a Finance or Accy major and ought to know the answer, you may get a few questions where they'll show you a partial balance sheet and ask you to compute the firm's assets, liabilities, and equity. Their goal is to verify that you're competent. If you're not a finance major, you may see questions related to your field.

Have good questions for your interviewers. A good professionally-oriented question about themselves almost always looks good. Try "What's your story? How'd you get into investment banking?" or "I've heard a lot about your firm, but I haven't heard a lot about what it takes to be resoundingly successful here. You're an (insert Associate, VP, SVP, MD here). What's your secret?" Good questions will not only make you look smart, but also fill your interviewer with good feelings and make them want to like you.

There's a chance you'll get a lunch interview. Half the interview is the conversation; the other half is how you eat. One of the most mortifying business moments in my entire life was when I was an idiot sophomore in College at this recruitment dinner on campus, and started eating when my plate arrived, rather than when everyone was served. Make sure you don't do that. Don't order ribs, spaghetti, salad, or soup (Better yet, ask the interviewer what he'd recommend, and pray he doesn't suggest ribs). Hold your silverware the right way. Don't give into the temptation of talking with your mouth full. Thank your interviewer for lunch.

Write everyone thank you notes and/or emails at the end of your interviews. Try to work something from your conversation in, especially if it's something you have in commmon. If thank-you notes aren't actually expected, they at least make you look classy.

Trading interviews will be different, but I'm guessing you're going for IBD.

If you flame me for giving what you might see as bad advice, please tell this guy why I'm wrong and what he needs to do to have a knock-up interview.

Apr 9, 2007

great summary. another thing, never be to overconfident. during my GS interview, i was so confident during an interview with a vp that i didn't even realise i was leaning back so much that the chair was basically rocking. it was when the interview was done and i stood up, the chair made like a 15 degrees and came back upright. i was like oh shit. luckily for me, i had other competencies and i got the offer. through my conversation with that particular vp after the offer had been given, he told me that all the other interviewers felt i was truly over confident but he liked me enough to fight for me.

Apr 9, 2007

Great read, this will be a hit

I think we have a mutual friend and I have PM'd you with a question specific to your experiences if I'm right, so hopefully you get the chance to respond

Thanks for the post

Apr 9, 2007

Had a great time reading it. Keep posting :D

Apr 9, 2007

Fantastic post. Good insight. All us younger monkeys should take note!

Apr 9, 2007
Bruce:

Chin up and soldier on - millions of people would kill to be half as talented as you and a quarter as fortunate as you.

Hopefully this has been useful to some of you.

Love it, thanks for taking the time to make an account and write this all up.

Apr 9, 2007

Thanks for sharing man!

Apr 9, 2007

This is fantastic, thank you

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Apr 9, 2007

Great post - always comes down to how likeable you are and whether your full of shit or not.

Apr 9, 2007

Thanks for taking your time to write up this great advice. Could you perhaps delve more into increasing your chances of actually getting to the first interview? Also, so far my luck with internships has allowed me only to obtain PWM and HF experiences in some really small boutiques. The question is: when I apply to BBs, would you say it is reasonable for me to apply for the IBD (which I would actually prefer) or should I just go straight for the more related roles for my experience like ER/AM?

For what it matters I am applying to the UK, thanks!

    • 2
Apr 9, 2007

thanks Bruce great post

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Apr 9, 2007

Excellent post the information is quite concrete with actual examples, this a refreshing change from the normal abstract advice that often leaves readers searching for more, keep it up!

Apr 9, 2007

Great post, especially the list of the fit questions. Fit is notoriously difficult to explain to prospectives and you pinned it down really well. +1.

Apr 9, 2007

Thanks for the great post. As others have asked would you have any tips you'd recommend for how to position yourself best for getting an interview besides networking?

Apr 9, 2007

Great advice. I've been interning at a small PE firm now and the MD gave me resumes to screen for the last round of interns we. GPA never came up once in conversation about deciding who to hire, it was all about fit, and the parameters were very similar to what you laid out

Apr 9, 2007

Wow this is great, thank you!

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves. - Abraham Lincoln

Apr 9, 2007
Bruce:

- Can we spend 2 hours at a bar together and talk about things outside of finance (sport, travel etc)?

This.

Apr 9, 2007

Thanks for sharing. That was a great read.

Apr 9, 2007

Thanks for sharing

Apr 9, 2007

I've been hearing a lot about ModelOff.. I know that a lot of MBAs are doing it so guess it couldn't hurt incoming analysts and future applicants. Has anyone competed in it? Could you share your thoughts on how tough it was?

Bruce - do you think it would enhance our job prospects?

Thanks in advance

Apr 9, 2007

Thanks for the friendly messages guys.

Regarding ModelOff - Do I think it would enhance job prospects? Well, sure.

It shows you're keen and have attempted to self-teach core competencies of investment banking analysts and associates.
Because there are plenty of bankers that compete in it in at every firm (in the US mostly), it has credibility with senior bankers too. I suppose that was a factor in getting VP support in the aforementioned example (he could link the kid to a star associate). Just having it on your CV would help in preliminary stages of recruitment but I'm not condoning registering and dropping out because phoneys get found out super quickly.

In saying this, it is in no way expected that interns know how to model. It's just impressive if they can and demonstrates a positive attitude, another box that prospective interns must tick.

Cheers again guys

Apr 9, 2007

Bump for SA interviewees

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Apr 9, 2007

It seems that you've never interviewed someone for a job (other than an on-campus position). Not sure how relevant your data points are in that context.

Apr 9, 2007

When I worked in analytics- a capital markets group that required a strong background in math and technology- it was all about competence and English communication skills. That's the way it tends to be with many positions in capital markets- some positions also require a degree of aggressiveness to come out in the interviews.

We'd assess technical competencies like most tech firms do- ask lots of questions on algorithms, numerical methods, data structures, and maybe throw in a few math questions or language-specific semantics. The first hurdle to clear was whether the interviewee could answer the questions. The second hurdle was whether he could answer most of them without tripping over too many words. Bonus points if he was familiar with a language we needed to fill a spot for or if he came off as being one or two standard deviations more aggressive than the average programmer/math geek.

I'd imagine that first impressions do count more in an interview, but in the final round, if other interviewers like you and you have one interview that got off to a bad start, that interviewer will often rethink things and take a closer look at other parts of your interview.

Also, if your interview runs longer than expected, that's usually a good sign. If the interviewer is asking you lots of really tough questions that you know other candidates weren't getting asked, that's an even better sign.

Apr 9, 2007

While I agree that spacejam's interviewing experience is hardly the same as a banker's, he still makes a number of points that I agree with. My decision is usually made up within 5 minutes (sometimes after looking at the resume) and thank you letters mean absolutely nothing to me. Maybe I'm a jerk, but I definitely don't try to find ways to take them versus reject them.

Apr 9, 2007

When you say thank you letters mean nothing, does it mean anything to you if you don't get one? While I agree that getting an e-mail thanking me doesn't matter and is quickly deleted, not getting one often makes me reconsider. It's more like a "check the box" sort of thing in my mind.

My experience as an interviewer has been only limited to on-campus things as well, so curious what the viewpoint on this is from those in the industry. Just curious.

Apr 9, 2007

The more you interview, the more you look for reasons to ding than to accept.

Apr 9, 2007
ideating:

The more you interview, the more you look for reasons to ding than to accept.

what things are reasons for a ding?

Apr 9, 2007
LadyEva:
ideating:

The more you interview, the more you look for reasons to ding than to accept.

what things are reasons for a ding?

Weird clothing, creepy behavior, poor eye contact, lots of "ums" "uhh", too serious, too bubbly, smells funny, looks funny, crappy school, crappy SAT, crappy GMAT, doesn't know enough about the job - those are just the easy ones.

    • 1
Apr 9, 2007
ideating:
LadyEva:
ideating:

The more you interview, the more you look for reasons to ding than to accept.

what things are reasons for a ding?

Weird clothing, creepy behavior, poor eye contact, lots of "ums" "uhh", too serious, too bubbly, smells funny, looks funny, crappy school, crappy SAT, crappy GMAT, doesn't know enough about the job - those are just the easy ones.

Hahaha, hilarious and true.

Apr 9, 2007

what porno is the bird in the picture from? im serious Im want to see it!

Apr 9, 2007

OP is a sophomore in college. His words have no value or meaning.

This thread should not be on the front page.

Apr 9, 2007
SirBankalot:

OP is a sophomore in college. His words have no value or meaning.

This thread should not be on the front page.

That's not true. OP is a 5th year analyst at Gridley & Co. He is exiting to Mom & Pop Partners, which is an elite boutique PE. He also got a full-ride offer from Princeton Business School

Apr 9, 2007

thanks a lot spacejam

how hard is it to make up for screwing up the first five minutes?

Apr 9, 2007

so you want to be a douche?

Apr 9, 2007

I think this is called the 'OBannion Effect', named after Ben Affleck's character in Dazed and Confused who paddled high school freshmen mercilessly because he had to go through it and it brought him some amusement.

Interviewing shouldn't involve softball crap like 'why banking' but it also shouldn't have asinine questions like 'what would you do if you were going to die tomorrow?' How is that applicable in any way? While I think you should always turn up the screws a bit on a kid if you are assigned to be the one asking technical questions, I also think it's dumb to make him squirm totally unnecessarily. They're undergrads, many of them liberal arts majors with little/no technical experience. Asking them complex accretion/dilution models or trading comps is useless; none of them will know, so they'll just be bullsh!tting.

Apr 9, 2007

The main insight I've gained from interviewing prospective young monkeys myself is that I was really bad at interviewing back in the day. I realize this now because they give many of the same answers I gave, straight out of the Vault guide, which I have since realized are simply not very good.

My biggest frustration with interviewing prospective bankers is lack of originality in their answers. Yes, I know you are smart, motivated, hard-working and a team-player, but give me some specific stories showing those traits that I'm going to remember.

Personally, I never ask questions like, "If you were going to die tomorrow, what you you do right now?" as I believe those are inappropriate and have nothing to do with the job. In general I don't ask many technical questions unless the person has done banking before or claims to know a lot about it.

When I DO ask technical questions I try to avoid the standard, "How would you value a company?" type questions because everyone has memorized the answers to those. I try to get them to think on their feet without going overboard and giving ridiculous questions that have no bearing on the job at all.

Sometimes I'll spend around half the interview just asking about the person about his/her background and "story" because I can often decide whether or not he/she will be a fit just based on this and how well he/she presents it.

Some days I get interesting and memorable candidates but for the most part it's not as interesting as you might think, especially since I don't like to be annoying when interviewing.

Apr 9, 2007

I actually have thought about this quite a bit.

I was thinking of coming in and acting like a complete jerk for like 15-20 seconds (in my scenario I've played out, he extends his hand and says, "Hi I'm...", and I cut him off and say, "I don't care, let's start."

After like 5 seconds of awkwardness I'd probably just say, "Hey man, I'm completely joking," and proceed on just talking with the candidate.

I would probably ask a couple technicals as well, if necessary. If there were alot of candidates, I'd likely ask 2-4 basic technicals, then 1 semi-hard one just to see which students really knew what they were talking about, and which didn't.

Good thread though - I'd like to hear what some of the guys who have interviewed predicted they'd be like, and how closely they've mirrored those predictions.

Apr 9, 2007

I think one needs to understand that they are representing the company when you interviewing someone. Thus, I personally would like to be friendly as I can to show that look we aint complete assholes. You dont want the guy/girl to feel uncomfortable by askin too many technicals and hard questions. I think its more of an opportunity not only to sell your firm to good candidates but also to learn about them and find out how they would fit the company. So i think its important to have the right balance rather than tilting too much on trying to catch the guy off and acting like a douche in reference to what IBDilo26386 said.

Apr 9, 2007
chilloutman:

I think one needs to understand that they are representing the company when you interviewing someone. Thus, I personally would like to be friendly as I can to show that look we aint complete assholes. You dont want the guy/girl to feel uncomfortable by askin too many technicals and hard questions. I think its more of an opportunity not only to sell your firm to good candidates but also to learn about them and find out how they would fit the company. So i think its important to have the right balance rather than tilting too much on trying to catch the guy off and acting like a douche in reference to what IBDilo26386 said.

Dude if you read my post, other than the one line where I said I would be a jerk for 15-20 seconds, there's nothing in there that indicates that I would be dick for the entire interview.

In fact, I'd rather act like a dick for a few seconds just to see what kind of personality the guy has. Why would you want some huge pussy who couldn't take being in a slightly pretentious situation, or one that had no sense of humor?

If after I did what I did, and the guy laughed about it like in the example oasising provided, I'd think, "Ok, this guy seems like he has a good personality, can roll with the punches, etc."

But, if after being a dick for 20 seconds then saying I was completely kidding, and the guy still seemed shell-shocked or was obviously affected for the rest of the interview, I'd think, "Ok, if this guy faces any adversity or has anyone yell at him he's likely going into the tank."

Being nice is key too, don't get me wrong. But I see nothing wrong with being a jerk for like 20 seconds...ESPECIALLY if I told them I was completely kidding right afterward.

Apr 9, 2007
IBDilo26386:
chilloutman:

I think one needs to understand that they are representing the company when you interviewing someone. Thus, I personally would like to be friendly as I can to show that look we aint complete assholes. You dont want the guy/girl to feel uncomfortable by askin too many technicals and hard questions. I think its more of an opportunity not only to sell your firm to good candidates but also to learn about them and find out how they would fit the company. So i think its important to have the right balance rather than tilting too much on trying to catch the guy off and acting like a douche in reference to what IBDilo26386 said.

Dude if you read my post, other than the one line where I said I would be a jerk for 15-20 seconds, there's nothing in there that indicates that I would be dick for the entire interview.

In fact, I'd rather act like a dick for a few seconds just to see what kind of personality the guy has. Why would you want some huge pussy who couldn't take being in a slightly pretentious situation, or one that had no sense of humor?

If after I did what I did, and the guy laughed about it like in the example oasising provided, I'd think, "Ok, this guy seems like he has a good personality, can roll with the punches, etc."

But, if after being a dick for 20 seconds then saying I was completely kidding, and the guy still seemed shell-shocked or was obviously affected for the rest of the interview, I'd think, "Ok, if this guy faces any adversity or has anyone yell at him he's likely going into the tank."

Being nice is key too, don't get me wrong. But I see nothing wrong with being a jerk for like 20 seconds...ESPECIALLY if I told them I was completely kidding right afterward.

Fair enuff, I understand the need to have someone who has a sense of humour, specially if you are in M&A and will be spending 13-18 hours a day with them...

Apr 9, 2007
chilloutman:

I think one needs to understand that they are representing the company when you interviewing someone. Thus, I personally would like to be friendly as I can to show that look we aint complete assholes. You dont want the guy/girl to feel uncomfortable by askin too many technicals and hard questions. I think its more of an opportunity not only to sell your firm to good candidates but also to learn about them and find out how they would fit the company. So i think its important to have the right balance rather than tilting too much on trying to catch the guy off and acting like a douche in reference to what IBDilo26386 said.

Dude if you read my post, other than the one line where I said I would be a jerk for 15-20 seconds, there's nothing in there that indicates that I would be dick for the entire interview.

In fact, I'd rather act like a dick for a few seconds just to see what kind of personality the guy has. Why would you want some huge pussy who couldn't take being in a slightly pretentious situation, or one that had no sense of humor?

If after I did what I did, and the guy laughed about it like in the example oasising provided, I'd think, "Ok, this guy seems like he has a good personality, can roll with the punches, etc."

But, if after being a dick for 20 seconds then saying I was completely kidding, and the guy still seemed shell-shocked or was obviously affected for the rest of the interview, I'd think, "Ok, if this guy faces any adversity or has anyone yell at him he's likely going into the tank."

Being nice is key too, don't get me wrong. But I see nothing wrong with being a jerk for like 20 seconds...ESPECIALLY if I told them I was completely kidding right afterward.

Apr 9, 2007

I think its fine to joke around for 15-20 seconds being an asshole, but to be a jerk the entire interview would turn me off completely. I interviewed at a MM bank, and one of the analysts thought he was the shit and basically was an asshole the entire time. Good thing I liked the analysts in a completely different group.

Apr 9, 2007

Why would you feel the need to joke around being an asshole at all? You'd have to be an insecure douche bag to do that purely to see someone's reaction.

Apr 9, 2007

Having conducted probably over 50 SA/FT analyst interviews, I feel I can speak pretty intelligibly (this a word?) on the subject.

I would love nothing more than to spend the entire interview asking brainteasers and just generally messing with the kid. I've certainly thought about doing a good cop/bad cop scenario among other things. However, all that goes out the window when it comes time to interview.

You have a responsibility in the interview to find out as much as you possibly can about the individual, and you only have 30 minutes to do it. Quite frankly, questions like "What letter of the alphabet do you think best represents you?" just isn't an effective use of your time. On the flip side, asking super technical questions can be telling of how much knowledge the person has, but complex financial knowledge isn't going to make an analyst much better off at my bank.

I know the question "Why banking?" will get you a canned response if you ask it to anyone who frequents forums like these. However, I've asked people "Why banking?" and quite simply they had no clue. Questions like these weed out the individuals that truly don't know what they are getting into or have no desire. There are people who see "financial analyst" and don't know what the job entails. It is a catastrophe if you end up extending an offer to these people, and brainteasers won't tell you who is who.

Lastly, a big part of the interview process is trying to sell yourself and therefore your bank to the candidate. If you piss them off, they will be less likely to accept your offer. Ultimately, the bank is the one who decides who to extend offers to, and it wants everyone it extends an offer to to accept (otherwise it wouldn't extend the offer). Pissing off candidates is the worst thing you could do.

All that said, there are interviewers who don't give a shit. These are the ones who mess with candidates. But for me, when you're on the other side of the table, all of your revenge thoughts from your interviewing days goes out the window.

Apr 9, 2007

S22 - Haha go f yourself

Chilloutman - That's a great point. I definitely wouldn't act like an asshole, in fact, I don't think I could pull it off even if I tried. But I would try to screw with their heads a little bit to see how they handle it.

One of my buddies had the following interview..

He walks in. Greets the interviewer. They shoot the shit for a little bit and touch on some basic questions. Then all of a sudden, the interviewer asks "Are you completely happy with your resume, formatting-wise?"

My friend says yes.

The interviewer just stares at him for a minute. My friends heart is pounding. Then he points out an impossibly small formatting error that my friend overlooked. The banker goes, "You obviously can't be trusted to hold the ball. This interview is over," and walks out. My friend is about to go into cardiac arrest.

The interviewer returns, laughing his ass off. My friend starts cracking up too. They proceed to have the most casual and lighthearted interview ever, with a couple tough technicals thrown in for good measure. My friend tells me that it was his best interview ever. He gets the offer and accepts.

Apr 9, 2007

I never had any interviews with a banker that I thought was a complete asshole. However, I was very turned off by the way HR conducted themselves at some firms. I think it's an overlooked but very important part of firm image.

Apr 9, 2007
oasising:

I never had any interviews with a banker that I thought was a complete asshole. However, I was very turned off by the way HR conducted themselves at some firms. I think it's an overlooked but very important part of firm image.

Could you be a bit more specific? What has HR done that turned you off?

Apr 9, 2007

i used to start every interview with the standard "tell me about yourself/walk me thru your resume." unless the candidate was an obvious "no" i would interrupt to ask more specific questions about their background. i never had any other set questions. i would just let the conversation progress naturally, if possible. most good candidates will answer the "why banking" and "why firm XYZ" questions as part of their story, without having to be asked. i never ever asked technical questions as i find them completely useless. same with brainteasers. if you are a good interviewer you should be able to judge the candidate's intelligence by the conversation, IMO. for lateral analysts/associates/vps, i wanted to know mostly about deal experience.

Apr 9, 2007

IBDilo, yeah I think I would do the same thing just to see what they are made of. The story shows that it actually led to my friend being more at ease and gave him the chance to really bond with his interviewer. The guy went on to be a strong advocate of my friend. My friend, in turn, loved the guy and told me that it was his favorite interview ever.

Apr 9, 2007

Things that HR did to me:
-lost my resume and then blamed me for not sending it in on time
-said they would get back to me within 5 days, didn't hear from them for 3 weeks
-refusing to return voicemails/emails
-messing up travel plans for superdays

Of course these are all different HRs.

Apr 9, 2007

My main complaint, which many on this forum have spoken of before as well, is that HR at many firms is extremely unresponsive. They wouldn't pick up my calls or respond to emails. Then, they would call and expect me to be available to interview the next day.

One firm in particular, had a very cocky and condescending demeanor that really turned me off. They actually set me up with an interview in a different division when I had specificly stated that I only wanted IBD. They made it seem like I should be bowing down to them on my knees just because they were willing to give me any interview at all.

In addition, some firms were very unresponsive post-superday as well. I tried calling my interviewers to no avail and some actually never even called me to give me a final decision at all. Two firms did this. I knew that I hadn't done that well on either superday but I found that to be a very maladroit way to handle things.

The firm that I did accept an offer with, which was my top choice from the start, continued to impress me with their graciousness and the smooth way they handled the interview process. They were great at keeping me in the loop and I think their courtesy speaks volumes about the culture and consideration of the firm.

Apr 9, 2007

Being an asshole at interviews is a sure-fire way to miss out on the really exceptional candidates - that being those with choices and many offers. Why would they choose the bank full of assholes?

Apr 9, 2007

I've actually had some great experiences with HR. One of them bumped me up to a first class spot on a train for not taking a flight to NYC, and CS gave me an entire new flight and hotel for a night when I interviewed in SF after they accidentally told me the interviews would be only 2 hours, not 4 and I would've either missed my flight or had to miss the interviews. I don't think I've had one bad experience with HR so far, other than one of the BBs waiting forever to give me the expense check for lunch/travel expenses to a superday.

Apr 9, 2007

I was involved in recruiting last autumn (despite having only been there 3 months, but still) and found the whole thing quite unpleasant. A bunch of thoroughly obnoxious students with way too high opinions of themselves and completely unrealistic expectations despite having no apparent skills other than memorising the Vault guide answers. I even said to our HR rep, if it were up to me I wouldn't recruit any of them, a sentiment met with some grudging agreement. You can even see it on the responses to this thread - bitching about HR not jumping to respond to your emails, despite receiving thousands of equally inane candidate enquiries every day. Hopefully the slowdown will put some much need reality into recruiting this year!

Apr 9, 2007

point well taken, ajel. nevertheless, i've been in a situation where two people from a firm call me the day before the interview to tell me the interview will be rescheduled, which was impressive. this was even followed up by an email from them. all before i even got home.

then they didn't get back to me.. this was after several emails where i told them i had an exploding offer. i assumed the worse and took a superior offer (than the one i could've gotten) i received in the meanwhile, and only three weeks later i get an email and voicemail (now they're responsive) about interviewing me in two weeks.

this type of on/off responsiveness is what throws off a lot of people...

now obviously nobody can truly expect to obtain a response immediately after a recruiting event/interview, but this cold/hot thing leads me to think that they conveniently decide when to be responsive or busy.

Apr 9, 2007

I'm generally pretty nice in my interviews because the whole point of them is to investigate how the person can perform alongside me -- and I'm usually a nice person unless someone tries to dupe or bullsh*t me. However, I really try to critically analyze the things the interviewee says -- I'm an intellectually curious person by nature and I think the fields that I've worked in (equity research and private equity) really bring this trait to the forefront every day. For example, if I detect what appears to be a hole in their statement or argument, I will ask them follow-up questions that require them to clarify or elaborate on their response. I wouldn't say I'm "grilling" the interviewee but I really want to make sure that he or she knows what he's talking about, especially when it comes to matters such as being able to talk about their investment approach and their knowledge of the deals they've worked on/companies they've covered.

I've found that very often, people talk themselves up to a point that's well beyond what they actually know, and my approach to interviewing helps me separate the contenders from the pretenders.

Apr 9, 2007

Thing that I hate most about interviews is when they ask, "if we made an offer would you say yes". Its kind of a loaded question, what do they expect you to say, you guys are my third choice so we'll see or what?

Apr 9, 2007

I'm going to behave like a complete jerk. Especially if it's a girl I'm interviewing, I want her to get flustered and completely lose her nerve for the rest of the interview.

Apr 9, 2007

re: seanc

charming..

Apr 9, 2007

Greg sounds like a pussy

Apr 9, 2007
FranciscoDAnconia:

Greg sounds like a pussy

lol

Apr 9, 2007
FranciscoDAnconia:

Greg is a pussy

fixed it for you.

Apr 9, 2007

I am irritated at this article. She started with the problem of not knowing the right questions in an interview to find a good analyst. She decides she should try to figure out a candidate's analytical ability in her interviews, because that would make a good analyst.

Then she tells a story about how Greg bombed a class, sweats through his shirt, and puked over the question "what topic he had hoped to avoid". I learned Greg sucks, and I will never know her amazing analytical questions which will determine good analysts.

Apr 9, 2007

I'll break this down into your four questions:
1. Typically first rounds are to screen for technical proficiency. However, the ability to hold a conversation and portray a genuine interest are very important as well. There is probably less emphasis on group & culture fit, but you still have to be easy to talk to, and ENJOYABLE to talk to.

2. Search function and guides will provide insight to what they're looking for, but if you cover all the bases/check the boxes, then they're looking for the right fit. Tons of excellent candidates have been trumped by the better fit.

3. If you lack on paper as compared to your colleagues, be prepared to defend, justify and explain how you have qualities beyond those shown on a piece of paper. Lessons learned are important here.

4. Practice, practice, practice. And just relax and understand its not the end of the world.

Feel free to SB if it helped!

Apr 9, 2007
vysethecoward:

Are they mainly just a check to see whether you're socially competent or not (which is a challenge for me tbh)? I got a first round interview for summer S&T at a BB, where I've been invited to their office. I've searched for help online and they say there's not a massive amount of anything other than competency/CV questions (this is the UK as well, where there's much less of a focus on technicals).

Does anyone have any insight in to what they're actually looking for?

Also, even though I got an interview, should I still be worried about my rubbish CV? Will I be massively marked down because my competency examples will mainly be from university group projects while everyone else has PS100 k investment clubs/president of Oxford Union/previous internships to talk about? Or are they mainly looking for what I learnt from these experiences?

Also any tips for getting past interview nerves?

Make sure you look at the behavioral part of the guides, structure and delivery is also very important.

Apr 9, 2007

I have experience interviewing for BB S&T in Australia/Asia (which is probably more similar to the UK than the US) and I got the offer, so I may be able to offer some insight.

1) I disagree with the point above about not looking for group culture and fit. It was made obvious to me that as a S&T intern, since you won't actually be trading etc and will be learning/observing, they want to hire people that they like/want to be around, and also hire people who have the personality for S&T- competitive, like instant gratification, like to see hard results from your work (P&L) etc. Demonstrate that you have those qualities. Also demonstrate that you're a self-starter, and have initiative- something that will be necessary in a S&T internship, which even at a BB is often less structured than other internships (the actual sales and traders will be mostly focused on the markets, not you).

2) Know your technicals, but also know about the (GLOBAL) markets, have one/two stock pitches ready etc.

3) They are mainly looking for a personality fit rather than what you have accomplished to date based on your resume. Make sure to highlight what you've learnt etc (because you most likely will be at some sort of disadvantage), but you've got the interview so getting the job isn't an impossibility.

4) To calm your nerves- practice so much before the interview that you get super bored.

Apr 9, 2007

Great insight as well. As far as the fit, it is undoubtedly important. I was referring to first rounds, typically screening rounds.

Apr 9, 2007

I was referring to first round in-person interviews. Your advice is spot on for screenings.

Apr 9, 2007

misquote ignore

Apr 9, 2007

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