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What's the hardest interview question you were ever asked?

David Aames's picture
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,233

Mod note (Andy): Throwback Thursday, this post originally went up on 6/4/12.

Andy note: some of the quotes below were published on CNBC / Yahoo awhile back: Want This Job? 'Let Me Sleep With Your Girlfriend', also check out WSO's response to their article

This thread got me thinking... Interviewees: what is the hardest / most nerve-wracking question you ever got asked in an interview, how did you handle it, and what was the end result?

Interviewers: what is the hardest / most nerve-wracking question you ever asked in an interview, how did the interviewer handle it, and what was the end result?

Did you ask it just to see how they would respond (ie all that mattered was that he/she gave a good effort / didn't get flustered)? OR did you ask it to actually see his/her knowledge and/or intelligence?

mod (Andy) note: hope I never have an interview with Blackhat...

BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fckin' deer in the headlights.

Interview Coming Up? Be Prepared.

Comments (420)

Jun 4, 2012

Where are you from? I didn't realize I was actually supposed to give them an elevator pitch.

Jun 4, 2012

Q: Do you view this as your dream career?
A: Yes.
Q: If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career?
A: Silence.

    • 1
Jun 4, 2012
Dank Nugs:

Q: Do you view this as your dream career?
A: Yes.
Q: If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career?
A: Silence.

lol... eventually you said something, what was it?

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

Jul 25, 2012
David Aames:
Dank Nugs:

Q: Do you view this as your dream career?
A: Yes.
Q: If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career?
A: Silence.

lol... eventually you said something, what was it?

He could say ... yes I would because my dream job is the path I chose to get more money.

Jun 4, 2012
Dank Nugs:

Q: Do you view this as your dream career?
A: Yes.
Q: If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career?
A: Silence.

Oh Jesus

    • 1
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Jun 7, 2012
Dank Nugs:

Q: Do you view this as your dream career?
A: Yes.
Q: If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career?
A: Silence.

Use your heads. Just spin it off and say you'd have to carefully evaluate your situation at the time and the atmosphere of the conditions at the time. Say you have no intention of switching sides in the slightest but if the conditions on the sell side are sub-par, you would obviously change jobs..

Jun 4, 2012

Hmm..from a job interview for a GS analyst position: "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/30/job-inter...

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

Jun 4, 2012
David Aames:

Hmm..from a job interview for a GS analyst position: "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/30/job-inter...

Really brilliant question, given that you happen to be in the market for lateral thinking kinesiologists. Bravo, Goldman.

Actual questions I've received:
What is your beta?
Tell me the one line on your resume that demonstrates best why you would be great for this job.
Tell us something interesting about you that would surprise us.
One bond has an 8% coupon and a 10% current yield, the other has a 10% coupon and an 8% current yield. Which bond is cheaper?
Tell me a joke that is not racist or sexist.

I heard of one BB interview (perhaps an urban legend) conducted in a hotel room where the windows didn't open. The interviewers (two) said "Jeez, it's hot in here, you mind opening that window?" and the interviewee went wild and through his chair through the window. I hope it's true. Even if it's not I'll pretend it is.

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

    • 3
Jun 15, 2012
frgna:

One bond has an 8% coupon and a 10% current yield, the other has a 10% coupon and an 8% current yield. Which bond is cheaper?

First one, right?

Nov 7, 2012
David Aames:

Hmm..from a job interview for a GS analyst position: "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/30/job-inter...

Straight from "Are you smart enough to work at Google?"

Get it!

Jun 4, 2012

If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?

Jul 21, 2012
animalz:

If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?

three more wishes lol. Then if I use two, ill just ask for three more wishes. see i just turned one wish into an infinite amount and I just maximized my gain

Jul 22, 2012
Yutown1990:
animalz:

If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?

three more wishes lol. Then if I use two, ill just ask for three more wishes. see i just turned one wish into an infinite amount and I just maximized my gain

By saying that you've communicated to the interviewer that you're imature and unable to focus on one wish.

Mar 12, 2015
animalz:

If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?

i'm pretty sure I would make a joke at this point and say something like " kate upton"

Mar 12, 2015
animalz:

If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?

i'm pretty sure I would make a joke at this point and say something like " kate upton"

Jun 4, 2012

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

  • Schopenhauer
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Jun 6, 2012

"Dont compromise yourself; you're all you've got" - Janis Joplin

Jun 4, 2012

How did being a bullying victim during high school shape the way you viewed the world? (among other similar questions)
- Bridgewater

Jun 4, 2012
chicandtoughness:

How did being a bullying victim during high school shape the way you viewed the world? (among other similar questions)
- Bridgewater

That's rather presumptuous, lol...Sure says something about the candidate...

Jun 10, 2012
BuyersRemorse:
chicandtoughness:

How did being a bullying victim during high school shape the way you viewed the world? (among other similar questions)
- Bridgewater

That's rather presumptuous, lol...Sure says something about the candidate...

Or says something about the interviewer, depending on how the interview went

Jun 4, 2012

What is your number? (as in what amount of money I would need for retirement)

Jul 20, 2012
youngblood90:

What is your number? (as in what amount of money I would need for retirement)

More...

I think- therefore I fuck

    • 1
Jul 20, 2012
worklikeamachine:
youngblood90:

What is your number? (as in what amount of money I would need for retirement)

More...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Humfsis-QLI
This movie ruined that line forever, now nobody can use it even though it's been around forever. Once Shia's involved though, there's really no going back... Gotta get more creative now.

Jun 4, 2012

Unfortunately there isn't a ton to say... I fumbled around said I hadn't really thought about it (just graduated.) But that it would have to be enough to provide plenty for my family. I still got the job though

Jun 4, 2012

How about...

Q. Where do you want to be in 5 years

A. Your bosses, bosses, bosses job

Jun 4, 2012
ItsJustNumbers:

How about...

Q. Where do you want to be in 5 years

A. Your bosses, bosses, bosses job

A. Retired

    • 1
Jun 4, 2012

In.

The difference between successful people and others is largely a habit - a controlled habit of doing every task better, faster and more efficiently.

Jun 4, 2012

What makes a good company? What makes a bad one? Why is X a bad company?

Jun 4, 2012

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

"Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill you. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

    • 1
Jun 4, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I don't know the background behind this question, but from just this excerpt...

If someone had the balls to ask you this, he must have thought pretty lowly of you.

Jun 4, 2012
kidflash:
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I don't know the background behind this question, but from just this excerpt...

If someone had the balls to ask you this, he must have thought pretty lowly of you.

Someone has never been on a desk before... You don't need to know the context-- any candidate can LBO on a fucking napkin... It's more about who is chill and will be able to kick it on the desk.

    • 1
Jun 5, 2012
kidflash:
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I don't know the background behind this question, but from just this excerpt...

If someone had the balls to ask you this, he must have thought pretty lowly of you.

My answer: who the fuck you think you are?

    • 1
Jun 4, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Me: I'd offer you my sister.

    • 1
Jun 4, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Me: "She doesn't do charity work, sorry!"

Best Response
Jun 5, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My response would be: "Is that a risk you're willing to take? I mean, how do you know I'm not into fat chicks?"

    • 23
Jun 4, 2012
olafenizer:
Will Hunting:

From GS:
Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My response would be: "Is that a risk you're willing to take? I mean, how do you know I'm not into fat chicks?"

+1

    • 1
Jun 5, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

"I've been with my girlfriend for three years, love her, and plan to marry her. If you so much kissed her neck, I'd fucking knock you out. That being said, I have a beautiful sister I'd be happy to hook you up with..."

    • 1
    • 2
Jun 5, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I'm the only one who feels the warmth between my girl's legs.

However, if you can convert my lesbian cousin, she's all yours.

    • 1
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Jun 4, 2012
Babbabooey:
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

I'm the only one who feels the warmth between my girl's legs.

However, if you can convert my lesbian cousin, she's all yours.

Least funny thing I have ever read.

"Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill you. That's not a threat, that's a fact.

    • 9
Funniest
Jun 12, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My response: Is that how you got your job?

    • 8
Jun 4, 2012
warmpi:
Will Hunting:

From GS:
Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My response: Is that how you got your job?

Crash and BURN.

DeanPortman:

"how bad do you want this job?" as the interviewer stood up and started to undo his belt...easily the hardest ive had

What was your response?

Jul 2, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Oh, I think I know the answer to this one. It's "Yes. As Snoop said, it ain't no fun if the homies can't have none"

Jul 20, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Well, I believe that would be considered incest, because I'm banging your daughter...

Jul 24, 2012
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Me: Which one?

Jul 24, 2013
hamaliomec:
Will Hunting:

From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

Me: I'd rather you sleep with me

Me: Which one?

+1

Jul 22, 2013

.

Jul 23, 2013

A: I don't think you would want to.

Mar 8, 2018

A: "You can hand f**k her right now as you agree to hire me" then stick out your right hand for a handshake.

    • 1
May 25, 2018

Personally I wouldnt sleep with my own mom but to each their own.......(implies you are dating their mother)

Jun 4, 2012

"From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?"

I honestly don't know how I would answer this. The true answer is probably yes, but I'd be afraid to be so forward in case thats not what theyd want to hear.

Sep 18, 2013
SmokeyG:

"From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?"

If you say yes then you're his little bitch. Yet, if you say no, he'll think you don't have a sense of humor.

Jun 4, 2012
45c345:
SmokeyG:

"From GS:

Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?"

If you say yes then you're his little bitch. Yet, if you say no, he'll think you don't have a sense of humor.

Exactly. It's a no win question. They're just probing to see how you react.

Jul 20, 2012

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

    • 5
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Jun 5, 2012
BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

What did he say next? Did the kid get the job?

Jul 20, 2012
DrPeterVenkman:
BlackHat:

In a 2 on 1 where I was the silent #2 interviewing some nervous banker, my only line was "are you trying to fuck us over?" The kid had NO CLUE what to say. Got visibly uncomfortable and said he wasn't sure what I meant. My co-worker goes "why didn't you say no?" Kid just froze like a fuckin' deer in the headlights.

What did he say next? Did the kid get the job?

He didn't answer, he just sat there staring at us like we just told him he had terminal cancer. Dead silent for about an entire minute... then my partner in the interview asks him if he has any questions for us, he says no and we shake hands with the poor kid and leave. Hilarious, but kinda terrifying if you're the interviewee...

Ding!

    • 2
    • 1
Jun 4, 2012

What's your greatest weakness?

If I had one I wouldn't want to tell my interviewer. It's such a BS question that only HR asks the question. For me at least, it's always tough answering it with a straight face.

Jun 4, 2012

Q: "What's your outlook for US cucumber prices over the course of 2012?"
A: ..................

Jun 4, 2012
SFTechUES:

Q: "What's your outlook for US cucumber prices over the course of 2012?"
A: ..................

A: Well, it seems I am in a pickle.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

    • 11
Jun 4, 2012
goodL1fe:
SFTechUES:

Q: "What's your outlook for US cucumber prices over the course of 2012?"
A: ..................

A: Well, it seems I am in a pickle.

IMO this answer is pretty bad ass. You could even take it further. "I don't relish the fact that your question leaves me in quite a pickle." If the person asking isn't completely smug then there is no way they couldn't laugh a little bit.

    • 1
Jun 4, 2012
SFTechUES:

Q: "What's your outlook for US cucumber prices over the course of 2012?"
A: ..................

up. dee dee dee.

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Jun 4, 2012

What changes would you make if you were the CEO of [firm I'm interviewing at]?

Jun 4, 2012

What would your entrance theme be if you were a pro wrestler.

Jun 4, 2012
Nefarious-:

What would your entrance theme be if you were a pro wrestler.

This is one I've actually thought about before. I think this might be my entrance tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPOQE_LUESs

Jun 4, 2012

Interview with MS in Singapore:

Q: You're going to be working 110 hour weeks here, can you even handle that?

Jun 4, 2012

"Why don't you have any offers yet? What's wrong with you?"

Jun 4, 2012

Interviewer: Do you always wear jorts to an interview?

Me: Doesn't everybody?

Jul 12, 2012
junkbondswap:

Interviewer: Do you always wear jorts to an interview?

Me: Doesn't everybody?

This is hilarious. Seriously though I'm glad I haven't gotten those types of question. Some of you guys are asses.

Here to learn and hopefully pass on some knowledge as well. SB if I helped.

Jun 4, 2012

Interesting to see these responses-seem to be mainly fit oriented and not math/technical based which seems is a reflection of the majority of this board to be focused on the IB/advisory side.

Here's four tough ones I've gotten-all for top firms

  1. When would the price of a call option decrease as the price of the stock increases?
  2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.
  3. Suppose f(t) is a continuously once-differentiable strictly decreasing positive function for all t >= 0 . Must the derivative f'(t) = 0 as t approaches infinity? Why?
  4. Given a polynomial function Sum of (a of n)*x^n from 0 to n-if you give me a number I can give you what the polynomial equals. In how few numbers can you figure out each constant a of n ?

The hardest interivew problems I've gotten haven't been for finance but for aero. eng.

    • 2
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Jun 4, 2012
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

I have to know, does anyone have a strategy?

Jun 4, 2012
Honthro:
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

I have to know, does anyone have a strategy?

Haha ill let this sit for a day before I let you know the answer. Lets see how many WSO monkeys it takes to save 100 prisoners.

All the prisoners meet up before to discuss a strategy. Afterwards there is no passing of information at all.

Jan 11, 2014

All 100 prisoners go in and line up in a circle. Then open 1 box at same time then close it and pass box to the person to their left.

Feb 28, 2015

Strategy 1:
all prisoners open the boxes at once based on the number inside the box you take that number of steps back, unless of course it is your number in the box and in that case you stand still. one prisoner at a time. you move to your respected number and box and stay there.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in g

Jun 6, 2012
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

In addition to alternating the prisoners turns, they could switch the paper in each box, for example if prisoner #1 found #28 in box #1 he'd replace the number in box #28 with the number 28, that will increase the chances of others finding their numbers assuming they are able to communicate.

I'm trying to figure out how #1 can increase his chances if they weren't able to alternate or communicate, probabilities maybe?

Jun 4, 2012
movingin:
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

You can't switch the papers in the boxes-thats the point. And again no switching of information

In addition to alternating the prisoners turns, they could switch the paper in each box, for example if prisoner #1 found #28 in box #1 he'd replace the number in box #28 with the number 28, that will increase the chances of others finding their numbers assuming they are able to communicate.

I'm trying to figure out how #1 can increase his chances if they weren't able to alternate or communicate, probabilities maybe?

Jun 7, 2012
solb22:

.
2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

this is pretty easy. assume they can all communicate with each other. send one guy to count 49 boxes. as he's counting them, shout out the number inside and let the commensurate prisoner come and claim it. now you're left with 51 boxes, and do the same thing with another unclaimed prisoner. After his 49 boxes, you'll have two left, and the two remaining prisoners can figure it out on their own

    • 2
Jun 4, 2012
solb22:

Interesting to see these responses-seem to be mainly fit oriented and not math/technical based which seems is a reflection of the majority of this board to be focused on the IB/advisory side.

Here's four tough ones I've gotten-all for top firms

  1. When would the price of a call option decrease as the price of the stock increases?
  2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.
  3. Suppose f(t) is a continuously once-differentiable strictly decreasing positive function for all t >= 0 . Must the derivative f'(t) = 0 as t approaches infinity? Why?
  4. Given a polynomial function Sum of (a of n)*x^n from 0 to n-if you give me a number I can give you what the polynomial equals. In how few numbers can you figure out each constant a of n ?

The hardest interivew problems I've gotten haven't been for finance but for aero. eng.

For 1, I'd think that a) it's out of the money and b) the time value is eating away at the value - close? Does it have to be at least two things going on in addition to the underlying stock appreciating?

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

Jun 4, 2012
frgna:
solb22:

Interesting to see these responses-seem to be mainly fit oriented and not math/technical based which seems is a reflection of the majority of this board to be focused on the IB/advisory side.

Here's four tough ones I've gotten-all for top firms

  1. When would the price of a call option decrease as the price of the stock increases?
  2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.
  3. Suppose f(t) is a continuously once-differentiable strictly decreasing positive function for all t >= 0 . Must the derivative f'(t) = 0 as t approaches infinity? Why?
  4. Given a polynomial function Sum of (a of n)*x^n from 0 to n-if you give me a number I can give you what the polynomial equals. In how few numbers can you figure out each constant a of n ?

The hardest interivew problems I've gotten haven't been for finance but for aero. eng.

For 1, I'd think that a) it's out of the money and b) the time value is eating away at the value - close? Does it have to be at least two things going on in addition to the underlying stock appreciating?

I'm not sure if your answers are wrong-the first looks wrong as the stock price could be approaching the strike price.

This question was asked by D.E. Shaw. I'll give you a hint- this is mainly an IB board, so consider some financial moves by companies outside our strictly trading sphere that might effect the price of the option, even if the stock price is increasing. The answer is simple but arriving at the answer can be pretty tricky.

Nov 7, 2012
solb22:

2. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival.

Answer: 50% save all 100 prisoners, 50% all 100 prisoners die

System:
- Line up all 100 prisoners in order from 1 to 100.
- Prisoner 1 goes first and checks first 50 boxes from left to right. If Prisoner 1 doesn't find his number, game over. Else continue on..
- Prisoner 1 finds his number somewhere in the first 50 boxes. If he also finds Prisoner 2's #, Prisoner 1 will stand back in line in the same spot. Otherwise, go to the end of the line.
- If Prisoner 2 sees Prisoner 1 come back to the same spot in line, he will know to check the first 50 boxes for #2. Otherwise if he sees Prisoner 1 go to the end of the line, Prisoner 2 will check the last 50 boxes for his # while looking out for Prisoner 3's #.
- Go back to the same spot in line if you found the next Prisoner's #, else go to the end of the line
- Repeat process for Prisoner 3 - 100.
- Yay!

Nov 7, 2012
solb22:
  1. ** This is one the coolest I believe. You have 100 boxes and 100 prisoners and 100 pieces of paper. Each prisoner has a number on their shirt (which is "his number"), each box has a number, and in each box there is a piece of paper with a number. The pieces of paper are put in random boxes-so box 5 might have a piece of paper that says number 7. Each prisoner gets to go in and open 50 boxes-and must put back the paper and close the box after each look. If he finds his number on a piece of paper-he is safe for now. If after 50 tries he does not-they all die. Devise a strategy to maximize everyones chance of survival. .

have one guy go in and open 50 boxes and bring them to the right side of the room. have him arrange them in numerical order based on the paper number inside, disregarding the numbers on the boxes and leaving gaps for missing numbers. have him tilt the boxes on its side for every tenth box. upside down for the first. If the first guy doesnt get his number, theyre all screwed. but if he does, everyone wins. When others enter, they either find their number in order on the right side of the room or go find it on the left side. not guaranteed but ~50% chance.

Jul 20, 2013

I got the 4th question as well!

I still haven't really understood how you can do it with one....

Jul 22, 2013

#2 They just need to do whatever they did in reverse order as a group.

Jun 4, 2012

"What do you think of this room"

WSO Vice President, Data
@JustinDDuBois

Jun 4, 2012

Luca you are real close! You said that prisoner #1 should step back after seeing paper number 28 in box one and let prisoner # 28 go.

Instead of switching a prisoner-what else can you switch? Where should prisoner #1 check next?

A little hint: the prisoner will check boxes based off the info he has up to that point. You are on the right track

Jun 5, 2012
solb22:

Luca you are real close! You said that prisoner #1 should step back after seeing paper number 28 in box one and let prisoner # 28 go.

Instead of switching a prisoner-what else can you switch? Where should prisoner #1 check next?

A little hint: the prisoner will check boxes based off the info he has up to that point. You are on the right track

If the prisoner opens the first box and sees paper # 28, he can go to the 28th box to let all the prisoners know paper #28 is in box #1

    • 1
Jun 4, 2012
Unforseen:
solb22:

Luca you are real close! You said that prisoner #1 should step back after seeing paper number 28 in box one and let prisoner # 28 go.

Instead of switching a prisoner-what else can you switch? Where should prisoner #1 check next?

A little hint: the prisoner will check boxes based off the info he has up to that point. You are on the right track

If the prisoner opens the first box and sees paper # 28, he can go to the 28th box to let all the prisoners know paper #28 is in box #1

The prisoners aren't in the room with him-but you're answer is still right. Can you figure out why?

Prisoner #1 goes to the box with his number on it first (#1) which has a paper that says 28. He then goes to box 28-which has a piece of paper that says 17. So he then goes to box 17. He repeats this 50 times.

Why is this the optimal strategy? THINK. I'll post the answer to the other ones later tongiht

Jul 12, 2012
solb22:

Luca you are real close! You said that prisoner #1 should step back after seeing paper number 28 in box one and let prisoner # 28 go.

Instead of switching a prisoner-what else can you switch? Where should prisoner #1 check next?

A little hint: the prisoner will check boxes based off the info he has up to that point. You are on the right track

If the prisoners can communicate with each other this is very easy. Prisoner 1 tell Prisoner 28 that he needs to check Box 1. But Prisoner 1 won't do that right away. He can open 49 other boxes before he MUST go open Box 1. Each time he can communicate to other prisoners which boxes each of them need to open. And each of them don't need to open their respective boxes right away. They can first check other boxes. It will take just basically 3 prisoners to get the job done. If the prisoners can communicate with each other, then this is a retarded question.

Jul 20, 2012

.

Jun 5, 2012

Two situational ones, not the hardest around, but something to think about:

1) Two MDs come to you with a deliverable each for their high-level, equally important, clients. That shit needs to be done in 10 minutes. Problem is, it takes 10 minutes to get each deliverable done. The other members of the team can't help, they're busy as hell. What do you do?

  • Btw, trying to squeeze it in 5 minutes each is impossible.

2) You, the new guy, get tasked with bringing 3 copies of a deck to a client meeting. Being the forgetful dunce you are, you drive to the meeting place only to realize you forgot to pack that in the car. Meeting's in 5 minutes, you've got no time to jet back. What do you tell your MD?

Jun 4, 2012
BanditPandit:

1) Two MDs come to you with a deliverable each for their high-level, equally important, clients. That shit needs to be done in 10 minutes. Problem is, it takes 10 minutes to get each deliverable done. The other members of the team can't help, they're busy as hell. What do you do?

What would be an appropriate (and/or clever) answer to this?

Jun 10, 2012
chicandtoughness:
BanditPandit:

1) Two MDs come to you with a deliverable each for their high-level, equally important, clients. That shit needs to be done in 10 minutes. Problem is, it takes 10 minutes to get each deliverable done. The other members of the team can't help, they're busy as hell. What do you do?

What would be an appropriate (and/or clever) answer to this?

It's not especially clever, but the right practice is to send a single email (or if possible a call or something) to both MDs to communicate the situation to them and let them decide which one you will work on. Since there's no time, you could also send an email to the entire group asking for any analyst with free 10 minutes to meet you at your desk right away..

Jun 5, 2012
BanditPandit:

Two situational ones, not the hardest around, but something to think about:

1) Two MDs come to you with a deliverable each for their high-level, equally important, clients. That shit needs to be done in 10 minutes. Problem is, it takes 10 minutes to get each deliverable done. The other members of the team can't help, they're busy as hell. What do you do?

I would do the one that adds the most value to the firm, not the one that I think I can do best.

Jun 5, 2012

what beta would you use when valuing the target company in a cross-border valuation.

Jun 5, 2012
couchy:

what beta would you use when valuing the target company in a cross-border valuation.

Interested to know this answer....

Jun 5, 2012

Most of my interviews were fairly standard. Two questions; however, were particularly memorable:

1) On a scale of one to ten, with one being normal and ten being weird, how weird are you? (DB Associate)

2) What line on your resume is the most bullshit? (UBS MD)

Jun 4, 2012
Clever Name:

Most of my interviews were fairly standard. Two questions; however, were particularly memorable:

2) What line on your resume is the most bullshit? (UBS MD)

No way hahha

Jun 5, 2012

One time I asked an interviewee what my name was a few minutes into the interview. Ding.

    • 2
Jun 5, 2012
  1. Q - What single word would you use to describe yourself so that I don't walk out of here and forget you?
    A - Unforgettable.
  2. Q - If going to the gym three times per week for one hour for the rest of my life increases my total life expectancy by five years, is it worth doing?

There are tons of lines you can take on this, what would you guys say?

Jun 5, 2012
TheCity:

2. Q - If going to the gym three times per week for one hour for the rest of my life increases my total life expectancy by five years, is it worth doing?

There are tons of lines you can take on this, what would you guys say?

Depends on how long the rest of your life is. Assuming a constant 3hrs per week and a 5 year benefit:
(352)L = (552724)
156L = 43,680
L = 280

If you are going to live for less than 280 years from the moment you start going to the gym then you should do it.

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art - Andy Warhol

Jun 5, 2012
dwight schrute:
TheCity:

2. Q - If going to the gym three times per week for one hour for the rest of my life increases my total life expectancy by five years, is it worth doing?

There are tons of lines you can take on this, what would you guys say?

Depends on how long the rest of your life is. Assuming a constant 3hrs per week and a 5 year benefit:
(352)L = (552724)
156L = 43,680
L = 280

If you are going to live for less than 280 years from the moment you start going to the gym then you should do it.

That is certainly one line you could take. I took the personal preferences and utility approach - it depends on the opportunity cost of those three hours per week. If you gain more utility from money than health, then the three hours each week are better spent working (assuming an hourly wage or increased bonus as result of increased working hours). If you have higher personal preference for health than money, then it is worth doing, according to the algebraeic approach you have given.

Jul 3, 2012
TheCity:

1. Q - What single word would you use to describe yourself so that I don't walk out of here and forget you?
A - Unforgettable.

COXSWAIN

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

Jun 5, 2012

Direct me turn-by-turn from your house to this office

Jun 5, 2012

Was asked by a Quant Executive at a BB:

"Whats your philosophy on fitting polynomial functions to statistical data sets? Would you aim for a lower order polynomial to ensure monotonicity or fit to a higher order polynomial to fit the raw data?"

I had no idea how to answer this question, I was interviewing for a Risk internship. I sat stunned for a few moments and told him that I had no idea, but I was a big picture guy. Made it through to second rounds.

Jun 5, 2012
<span class=keyword_link><a href=//www.wallstreetoasis.com/finance-dictionary/what-is... rel=nofollow>WACC</a></span>-o:

Was asked by a Quant Executive at a BB:

"Whats your philosophy on fitting polynomial functions to statistical data sets? Would you aim for a lower order polynomial to ensure monotonicity or fit to a higher order polynomial to fit the raw data?"

I had no idea how to answer this question, I was interviewing for a Risk internship. I sat stunned for a few moments and told him that I had no idea, but I was a big picture guy. Made it through to second rounds.

Lower - Long term
Higher - Short term - Few sec interval.

I would be very caustious about useing just polynomial functions though

my 2c

Jun 5, 2012

While these questions are not particularly hard, they are two of my favorite technical questions to see if you really understand your basic technicals. While they might not seem hard at face value, during the middle of a super day when the pressure is on you can see how they might get screwed up....

Question 1:

Q: While looking at a company's Income Statement, you notice that it reports three consecutive years of increasing net income just before it declares bankruptcy. What are some plausible scenarios that could explain this?

A: The key is that CAPEX and inventories are not expensed on the income statement until they are depreciated or accounted for as COGS. Therefore, a plausible solution is that the company overinvested in PPE and inventory (or they have a bunch of inventory they cannot sell) or both. A good follow up question is: how could you confirm this on the balance sheet/SofCF? Growing A/P and PPE....stuff like that.

Question 2:

Q: Show a piece of paper with Company A and Company B. For each company you have given three ratios: P/E, TEV/EBIT, and TEV/EBITDA and you ask if any of the numbers look suspicious.

A: For one of the companies you make the EBITDA ratio bigger than the EBIT ratio, which, of course is impossible. Extra points if the candidate points out that while the EBITDA ratio cannot be larger than the EBIT ratio, if the company had no Dep or Amort they could theoretically be equal.

I like those questions because they make you think about you technicals and not just spit something out that you have memorized like "Walk me through a DCF...."

    • 1
Jun 11, 2012
FormerHornetDriver:

While these questions are not particularly hard, they are two of my favorite technical questions to see if you really understand your basic technicals. While they might not seem hard at face value, during the middle of a super day when the pressure is on you can see how they might get screwed up....

Question 1:

Q: While looking at a company's Income Statement, you notice that it reports three consecutive years of increasing net income just before it declares bankruptcy. What are some plausible scenarios that could explain this?

A: The key is that CAPEX and inventories are not expensed on the income statement until they are depreciated or accounted for as COGS. Therefore, a plausible solution is that the company overinvested in PPE and inventory (or they have a bunch of inventory they cannot sell) or both. A good follow up question is: how could you confirm this on the balance sheet/SofCF? Growing A/P and PPE....stuff like that.

Or excessive amount of debt maturing at once.

Nov 8, 2012
FormerHornetDriver:

While these questions are not particularly hard, they are two of my favorite technical questions to see if you really understand your basic technicals. While they might not seem hard at face value, during the middle of a super day when the pressure is on you can see how they might get screwed up....

Question 1:

Q: While looking at a company's Income Statement, you notice that it reports three consecutive years of increasing net income just before it declares bankruptcy. What are some plausible scenarios that could explain this?

A: The key is that CAPEX and inventories are not expensed on the income statement until they are depreciated or accounted for as COGS. Therefore, a plausible solution is that the company overinvested in PPE and inventory (or they have a bunch of inventory they cannot sell) or both. A good follow up question is: how could you confirm this on the balance sheet/SofCF? Growing A/P and PPE....stuff like that.

Question 2:

Q: Show a piece of paper with Company A and Company B. For each company you have given three ratios: P/E, TEV/EBIT, and TEV/EBITDA and you ask if any of the numbers look suspicious.

A: For one of the companies you make the EBITDA ratio bigger than the EBIT ratio, which, of course is impossible. Extra points if the candidate points out that while the EBITDA ratio cannot be larger than the EBIT ratio, if the company had no Dep or Amort they could theoretically be equal.

I like those questions because they make you think about you technicals and not just spit something out that you have memorized like "Walk me through a DCF...."

You probably know this, but for #1, technically, the only way a company can go bankrupt is if its creditors force a court to declare insolvency, which opens up many more avenues to answer the question. For example, a major loss in a lawsuit can bankrupt a company, or, a company that is too dependent on constant credit can be undone in a second (as Lehman and Bear were), or perhaps the company experienced a spike in interest payments that it could not meet for whatever reason or it could not refinance debt coming due. Overinvesting in PPE or inventories combined with leverage is one way to get to bankruptcy, but by itself, overinvestment will not generally lead to bankruptcy (after all, an all equity company could overinvest in PPE, and would still be pretty sheltered from bankruptcy, though it might be a very profitable venture... Also I suppose if you fund inventory purchases with AP, then you could potentially be forced into bankruptcy but I have not heard of this ever happening before.)

With question #2, one other twist you can throw in is to present the multiples for different years, as your candidate (assuming he has banking or otherwise relevant experience) ought to know that EBIT/EBITDA/Earnings projections increase y/o/y, so maybe have one multiple going up instead of down.

Mar 12, 2015

Is imprudent payment of dividends too basic?

Jun 5, 2012

Very last question at my interview yesterday
Interviewer: Do you have an good jokes?
Me... Is this a joke? ... lol
Interviewer: lol no...
Me....

    • 1
Jul 22, 2013

In response to the jokes:
My girlfriend dumped me because I was too into Linkin Park.
But in the end it doesn't even matter.

Jun 5, 2012

For a cross-border valuation, I would use a Beta derived from the location of the target company. Since I assume this is leading up to a DCF - which is an intrinsic valuation - you want the Ke and therefore the WACC to reflect the risk of where that company does business.

Jun 5, 2012
FormerHornetDriver:

For a cross-border valuation, I would use a Beta derived from the location of the target company. Since I assume this is leading up to a DCF - which is an intrinsic valuation - you want the Ke and therefore the WACC to reflect the risk of where that company does business.

But where specifically are you getting that Beta?

Jun 5, 2012

Since Beta measures the rate of return of an asset compared to the rate of return of a portfolio, you would have to find an appropriate portfolio of assets for comparison. For example, a Canadian company's stock performance can be compared to others in a Canadian Index just like many equity betas for American companied measure performance in relation to something like the S&P 500 or Russell 2000.

If you are looking to value a company in Nigeria, it would be a little harder as I do not know if any kind of index or benchmark exists. The key with a DCF is that you want to compare apples to apples. This related to a very common interview question (and this is for a generic valuation, not cross border): Explain why you use the target's WACC as the discount rate in a DCF and not the Aquirer....

Jun 5, 2012
FormerHornetDriver:

Since Beta measures the rate of return of an asset compared to the rate of return of a portfolio, you would have to find an appropriate portfolio of assets for comparison. For example, a Canadian company's stock performance can be compared to others in a Canadian Index just like many equity betas for American companied measure performance in relation to something like the S&P 500 or Russell 2000.

If you are looking to value a company in Nigeria, it would be a little harder as I do not know if any kind of index or benchmark exists. The key with a DCF is that you want to compare apples to apples. This related to a very common interview question (and this is for a generic valuation, not cross border): Explain why you use the target's WACC as the discount rate in a DCF and not the Aquirer....

Whoops yours question is actually what I meant to write, what beta do you use in a cross border merger?
It's pretty tricky and the answer is both are important, but for the valuation portion, you use the targets beta because it's beta reflects its riskiness profile.

Right after however, you need to do a dcf or npv analysis ( depending on size of target ) of purchasing the target and receiving its cash flows and synergies, which gives you the acquirers value perspective and value of synergies.

But for cross border valuation, I think the other guy was wondering how do you value a global company in several countries. That's actually another trick question as it depends if you are doing sum of the parts or just valuing the entire company. And if you are valuing the entire company, there are several ways you can come up with a beta.

So bottom line is, dcfs are major bullshit

Oct 30, 2017

Beta measures (co)variance in returns relative to a reference group, not rate of return.

Jul 22, 2012

Recently got grilled on structural subordination, dividend lock-up covenants, restructurings but would have to say the hardest to give a satisfying answer to was when I was asked "how do I know you're smart?" Other than referencing test scores I struggled to give an answer...

Jun 6, 2012
Oreos:

Recently got grilled on structural subordination, dividend lock-up covenants, restructurings but would have to say the hardest to give a satisfying answer to was when I was asked "how do I know you're smart?" Other than referencing test scores I struggled to give an answer...

I'd probably say "because I applied to work at your firm" but then again I doubt I'd have the balls during an interview. Depends on how it was going.

Jun 5, 2012

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

    • 1
Jul 20, 2012
TheKing:

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

Probably something similar to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQuYgbOTwQ4

Jun 5, 2012
TheKing:

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

I would consider anything other than a roundhouse kick to the face as an autoding.

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art - Andy Warhol

Jun 5, 2012
TheKing:

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

Samurai sword from his/her face to groin in order to prevent an open casket funeral-boom roasted

Jun 6, 2012
TheKing:

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

Definitely the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique:

Jul 1, 2012
TheKing:

"You are about to kill your most hated enemy...what death blow do you deliver?" - MD at a to MM bank

you don't kill your most hated enemy. that's too easy.

Jun 5, 2012

Interviewer: "Tell me something interesting."
Me: "about the tech industry?"
Interviewer: "about anything"
Me: "oh okay, I'll tell you about my spring break last year..."

got the offer

    • 6
Jun 5, 2012

.

Jun 6, 2012

At 4th interviewer of my superday the other week the guy was completely fucking with me

"Why do we have license plates"

And just super philosophical questions that were off the wall. I was just kinda BS'ing with him not really attempting to answer but hold a conversation. We went past schedule, he looks at his watch, picks up the phone and rings another MD "Bob come get 'em he's sweatin bullets in here!!" and they both bust out laughing on the phone

Jun 6, 2012

As an interviewee: I had an interview at a hedge fund where the interviewer would reply with "wrong" to essentially everything i said. The majority of the time he probably didn't even listen to what I said. Most of the questions were tough because they were open-ended i.e. what do you think about the power markets?

As an interviewer: My toughest questions would be when a kid would say that they have a passion for investing. Without fail, i would ask them what they invest in and why. It doesn't sound like a tough question, but i never got a good answer (this was undergrad kids for analyst / summer analyst banking roles). None of the kids were able to formulate with they invested in the companies they owned. I also never expected to get a good answer so it didn't necessarily hurt their chances, but i think it hurt their confidence since they realized they had no idea.

Jun 6, 2012

One of my personal favourites... "Tell me about your last thursday night?"

Not from personal experience but have heard of a few unique scenarios.

1) Interviewer - Please take a seat. (with no chair within close proximity)

2) Candidate stated he enjoyed meeting new people so the interviewer sent him to the trading floor where he could was to spend the next hour introducing himself to everyone.

    • 2
Jun 6, 2012

This actually happened during my first FT interview after college.

interviewer - Do you think you're funny?
me - Yes, I think I have a pretty good sense of humor.
interviewer - Ok funny guy, tell me a joke.
me - Uhh... Two peanuts were walking down the street, when all of a sudden, one was asSALTed.
interviewer - .........
me - Get it? asSALTed? Because he's a peanut?
interviewer - .......

got the job. turned it down though.

    • 1
Jul 20, 2012

If I don't know the answer to a brainteaser, I just take my pants off. I guarantee you the brainteaser won't be why you got dinged.

    • 6
Jun 6, 2012

During my last interview of the day I was asked to name everyone I spoke to since entering the building.

Jun 4, 2012
jack_donaghy:

During my last interview of the day I was asked to name everyone I spoke to since entering the building.

I've gotten this too. Let's just say that I'm horrible with names.

Jun 6, 2012

I'm amazed at some of these questions, some of these are intense, some downright psychotic. Maybe i'll start asking harder questions when hiring new interns :)

//www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/nothing-to-do-this-su...

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Jun 6, 2012

I'm glad that I'm past the brain teaser part of my career...

Jun 10, 2012

What color would you be and why?

I stuttered and he said he was kidding. Thank god for that shit because I had no idea what I was going to say there.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

    • 1
Jul 22, 2013

Easy one !
Here's what I would have answered : "It doesn't matter whether I'm white, black, yellow or red. There's only one color that matters on Wall St, and that's green."

If it looks as good as on paper, we're in the kill zone, pal. Lock and load

    • 1
Jun 10, 2012

GS 2 on 1 interview --> "What is your favorite thing to think about, or what do you think about the most?"

My answer, "sex." I figured they had heard answers all day that made the candidate sound smart, serious, and studious; so I decided to cut the bullshit. They thought it was hilarious and it definitely was a positive. I took the "risk" with the joke because they were two mid 20's males with finance hair and one had mentioned having a rough night years back when he visited friends at my school.

Instead of thinking up answers to all these hypothetical wildcard questions, realize that the point of them is to throw you off your game. Accept that you can be asked a random question out of nowhere that does this, so it is probably smarter to spend the time practicing your technicals, networking, etc. rather than thinking about what you should say is your favorite thing to think about.

Takeaway=> when you get stuck with one of these questions that that forces you to pause and panic, you can do yourself a favor by analyzing the audience and tailoring your answer to that. A young, outgoing analyst might appreciate humor where a soft-spoken VP/MD might prefer a professional answer. The answer isn't as important with questions like these as is the manner in which you answer it.

TCB... you know taking care of business

    • 3
Jun 6, 2012
Enjayes:

GS 2 on 1 interview --> "What is your favorite thing to think about, or what do you think about the most?"

My answer, "sex." I figured they had heard answers all day that made the candidate sound smart, serious, and studious; so I decided to cut the bullshit. They thought it was hilarious and it definitely was a positive. I took the "risk" with the joke because they were two mid 20's males with finance hair and one had mentioned having a rough night years back when he visited friends at my school.

Instead of thinking up answers to all these hypothetical wildcard questions, realize that the point of them is to throw you off your game. Accept that you can be asked a random question out of nowhere that does this, so it is probably smarter to spend the time practicing your technicals, networking, etc. rather than thinking about what you should say is your favorite thing to think about.

Takeaway=> when you get stuck with one of these questions that that forces you to pause and panic, you can do yourself a favor by analyzing the audience and tailoring your answer to that. A young, outgoing analyst might appreciate humor where a soft-spoken VP/MD might prefer a professional answer. The answer isn't as important with questions like these as is the manner in which you answer it.

yeah, but did you get the job?

Jun 10, 2012

Relinquis,

It was for an internship, and yes, I got the offer.

TCB... you know taking care of business

Jun 11, 2012

Haha, "finance hair" is gold

Jun 11, 2012

"If you had to drive from here to Moscow and you could pick any two persons to accompany you, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?"

Jun 11, 2012

Will Hunting: From GS:
Interviewer: If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept?

My Answer: I would certainly allow you to sleep with my partner, were all about polygamy. His name is Jim by the way...

LOL then see what the interviewer says or the comment above ^ thats funny too.

Jun 11, 2012

Ironically, the hardest question I was asked was for my college honors program. The professor told me to sit down, smiled, and said "Why?" Then stared at me until I answered.

A year and a half later I was interviewing candidates for the same program. I asked a Fraternity president to pretend that I was a freshman and rush me.

I also asked a girl who was a Victoria's Secret cashier to pretend I was a customer and try to convince me to open a credit card.

Jul 2, 2012
illiniPride:

A year and a half later I was interviewing candidates for the same program. I asked a Fraternity president to pretend that I was a freshman and rush me.

I would pretend ball you for asking such a stupid question.

Jun 11, 2012

Hardest one I have ever come across came during this recruiting season. The MD of a large boutique IB asked me simply "Do you think you're smart?" I answered simply "My mom always told me I was" he absolutely loved the answer, +1

    • 1
Jul 3, 2012
JD-MBAMonkey:

Hardest one I have ever come across came during this recruiting season. The MD of a large boutique IB asked me simply "Do you think you're smart?" I answered simply "My mom always told me I was" he absolutely loved the answer, +1

Gotta admire Jeff Skilling's response to Harvard; "I'm fucking smart"

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

Jul 25, 2012
WalMartShopper:
JD-MBAMonkey:

Hardest one I have ever come across came during this recruiting season. The MD of a large boutique IB asked me simply "Do you think you're smart?" I answered simply "My mom always told me I was" he absolutely loved the answer, +1

Gotta admire Jeff Skilling's response to Harvard; "I'm fucking smart"

Fucking love that quote

Jun 12, 2012

"how bad do you want this job?" as the interviewer stood up and started to undo his belt...easily the hardest ive had

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

    • 3
Jun 12, 2012

Great thread

Jun 12, 2012

You can only save one person Your mother, your wife, and your daughter.

Who do you save?

Eventus stultorum magister.

Jun 12, 2012
Johnny Ringo:

You can only save one person Your mother, your wife, and your daughter.

Who do you save?

You Johnny..I'd save you.

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

Jun 4, 2012

Yes IP that is correct-the acquisition price for the stock is less than the strike price and above the current stock price.

Pretty neat how they asked it-went from doing some tough option theory to throwing this curveball at the end. I instinctively went back to look at the formulas before realizing it was a special situation question.

Jun 15, 2012

Haha yes, I did the work in my head. It's pretty simple if you think about the formula for Current Yield.
But yeah good call about the riskiness of the bond. I'm fresh out of school and need to get used to the fact that "assume no default risk" is not a common situation outside of academia haha.

Jun 4, 2012
Lubyanka:

Haha yes, I did the work in my head. It's pretty simple if you think about the formula for Current Yield.
But yeah good call about the riskiness of the bond. I'm fresh out of school and need to get used to the fact that "assume no default risk" is not a common situation outside of academia haha.

'No costs to financial distress' is one of my favorite assumptions of Miller Modigliani...ask any restructuring advisor what they think of that one...

For anyone curious CY = Coupon/Price
So
Bond 1: 10% = 8%/price, so price = 8/10 = 80
Bond 2: 8% = 10%/price, so price = 10/8 = 125

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it

Jul 2, 2012

Beyonce or Kreayshawn?

Jul 20, 2012
swagon:

Beyonce or Kreayshawn?

Jay Sean or Raekwon?
Good Sean or great Shawn?
Stay long or Kreayshawn?

Jul 1, 2012
BlackHat:
swagon:

Beyonce or Kreayshawn?

Jay Sean or Raekwon?
Good Sean or great Shawn?
Stay long or Kreayshawn?

Elton John.

"Every man should lose a battle in his youth, so he does not lose a war when he is old"

Jul 1, 2012

"explain how a mortgage prepayment swaption works". I got asked this by CS in London for a FT role in EM FX, didn't have any clue what to say, especially as it seemed completely irrelevant to the desk

Jul 1, 2012

Some of the questions I've asked:

  1. What are we doing wrong here and what would you change?
  2. Tell me something cool (or odd) that you've spotted in the markets recently
  3. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (if the interview is going v well or v badly)
  4. What is the term for fear of spiders/open spaces/long words.

4a. Why don't you use Google to look up a fear of long words?

  1. Do happy people make better traders?

5a. Are you happy?

5b. Why

Questions I've been asked:

  1. What is the difference between the position of Jesus in orthodox Christianity and Sunni Islam? (Boston-based AM)
  2. What are your top 10 movies? ($30bn US HF)
  3. You only want this job because you're desperate, why should we hire you? (C)
Jul 20, 2012
somebody:

Some of the questions I've asked:

  1. What are we doing wrong here and what would you change?
  2. Tell me something cool (or odd) that you've spotted in the markets recently
  3. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (if the interview is going v well or v badly)
  4. What is the term for fear of spiders/open spaces/long words.

4a. Why don't you use Google to look up a fear of long words?

  1. Do happy people make better traders?

5a. Are you happy?

5b. Why

Questions I've been asked:

  1. What is the difference between the position of Jesus in orthodox Christianity and Sunni Islam? (Boston-based AM)
  2. What are your top 10 movies? ($30bn US HF)
  3. You only want this job because you're desperate, why should we hire you? (C)

With the exception of both #2's, every single one of these questions would make me want to walk out of the room and never consider that firm ever again.

Jul 1, 2012

Oh yeah, responses:

  1. I ask this just for kicks, never been at a big company so the answers are usually to do with getting more market share. Lots of people like social media for some reason.
  2. This is a biggie, only want to hire people who actually find markets cool/interesting. Tough to bluff.
  3. If interview going badly, this usually pushes them over the edge. If going very well I always get a nice answer and some requests for additional info plus a laugh. All about thinking outside of boxes.
  4. I ask this to interviewee out of closed mode and to see how they find out information (usually ask them to walk me through how they'd find various pieces of information), plus discuss societal structure. Nobody's got that last one right.
  5. I've been trying to figure this out, plus it gives a nice insight into what people know about trading as they talk through it. Also, happy workers are more fun than sad ones.

On the other side:

  1. Gave a full on answer gently pulling in the interviewers own views to find common ground. Didn't make it through to the next round.
  2. Took a while but figured it out in the end. Got an offer, didn't take.
  3. Got a bit defensive as I wasn't at all desperate, should have just walked out. Got an offer, didn't take.
Jul 1, 2012