Worst Mistake you've ever made in an interview? Can it beat mine

Last week in an interview for a sweet internship I was talking to a S&T VP. The interview was going great and we even started talking about non job related topics when I decided to lose my mind. I said:

"I bet you have lots of fun when the markets close at 4:30".

He stares at me for about 10 seconds and then says

 "you know they close at 4 right?" 

I then said "Oh yea sorry about that, 9-4, not 4:30".

He then stared at me again for another 10 seconds before saying

"Yea, lots of fun"  and changing the topic.

Only after the interview did I realize my mistake and as someone who trades daily and studied like crazy for advanced technicals its almost ironic how bad my luck is 

Anyone wanna make me feel better by telling the worst interview story they have

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Comments (74)

  • Accountant in Acct - Tax
Oct 28, 2020 - 5:35pm

Just got the offer today which is why I can now laugh ab it

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  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Oct 29, 2020 - 10:38am

I'm not sure I'd be able to live with this baggage. It would probably replay in my mind every day of my life. 

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2020 - 10:56pm

I call the guy Aaron 3 times, when his name is Arnold.

BB VP: Hi xxx, this is Arnold from BB.

Me: Hi Aaron, thanks for calling.

BB VP: My name is Arnold.

Me: Sorry Aaron.

BB VP: Arnold.

Towards the end of call.

Me: Thanks Aaron, it was great speaking with you and I hope to stay connected.

BB VP: Ok. (Hang up)

Oct 29, 2020 - 1:00am

Well to my defense, I'm not bad with names. But, it was one of those days. The call took place with an alumni during the middle of my summer analyst gig. And, it has been one of those busy days. The guy was Asian and I have never come across an Asian Arnold. Right before the call I was texting my friend Aaron. Anyways, he definitely ding me for that. I try reaching out twice afterwards trying to get a conversation going, and he never replied. It was also a informational interview and not a real interview.

Nov 6, 2020 - 2:45pm

Lol I can relate to that. There was a VP whose name was Dan Mathews, I called him Dave Mathews (musician) repeatedly on more than one call and felt awful. 

  • Analyst 2 in CorpDev
Oct 29, 2020 - 8:37am

I did that once, first interview for a dream job and I called the guy Sean (his name was Steve) the entire interview and even did it on the next one with his co-worker... I did not receive another interview... 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 29, 2020 - 12:23am

Interviewed at Evercore this year. Mind you, I slept ~3hrs the night before and I was freaking wiped. One of my first interviews too.

Interviewer asked me "Let's say we're about to shoot the golden disk into space, the one that went on the Voyager. What's the one thing you'd want to put on there?" Easy enough question right? Most people would mention a favorite book, song, really anything... I didn't skip a beat. 

"I'd want to put something on there that would show aliens that we're really peaceful people in case they ever saw it. So maybe like a video of a veteran coming home to his wife!"

Interviewer stared at me for like 5 seconds, then he just said, "alright, thank you! Well, do you have any questions for me?" And we wrapped up 15 minutes early. Easily the weirdest thing he'd heard all day, I'm sure. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 29, 2020 - 12:27am

That hilarious😂. I am dying rn.

I lobe how the guy just goes "so any questions got me"

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 30, 2020 - 5:00pm

Your favorite movie + an intelligent explanation of why it's your favorite movie. Or a favorite book with a similar explanation. If those fail, favorite song or favorite album. Stuff like that. 

Oct 29, 2020 - 12:44am

After freshmen year, when I had no idea what I was doing, I was interviewing for a Corp finance job at large private hospitality/entertainment company. I'm interviewing with the hiring manager and things are going well, asking me about college/extra curriculars/etc. and then he says "let me see if you've done your homework", and asks me what the company does, and I totally blanked. I could not name a division/business function.

There were about thirty seconds of awkward silence before I said without a shred of confidence, "catering?"

Was not even close.

The dude chuckled, and said,"you have no idea what we do here."

I tried to play it cool but I knew the interview was 100% over. Totally screwed that one up. Learned that it's usually good to have a general idea of how a business works, and maybe take a glance at the company website before interviewing.

Oct 29, 2020 - 10:11am

I was interviewing with TCV / GA / TPG for an investor position. I applied to a Growth Equity role, but at the last moment was switched into the Buyout interview process. Didn't realize this happened until I was midway through the interview.

The first part of the interview was a case study. For the case study, I chose to speak about a company growing +100% YoY, high margins, great software product. Unbeknownst to me, the guys I were presenting to were more LBO / Carve out people. I stood in front of them telling them about the unit economics and growth levers for some business they would never touch. I only learned that they were buyout people after the case study when they introduced themselves. Unfortunately, this was after I told them about 10 companies ripe for growth investment. 

Never heard back, so maybe I'm still in the process :)  

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Oct 29, 2020 - 11:23am

I applied for a BB Sales and Trading Role, Did Cover Letter, Hirevue, First Rounds and more. Only midway through Superday did I actually see that Sales and Trading was actually Sales and Trading - Securitized Products. Which wasn't too different but I wish I known that before I said

"I  like trading equities because its more fun and cant really find myself interested when it comes to fixed incomes"  

To a VP who later said he was the VP of fixed Incomes

Oct 29, 2020 - 11:15am

Back when I was mass applying for my first internship I didn't spend any time researching each firm individually. Instead, I just memorized the required technicals and hoped that'd be enough.

First question of the interview:

Interviewer: What does BMO stand for?

Me: Bank Something Something.......

Interviewer: ....

Last Question of the Interview:

Interviewer: If you were gifted a million dollars, what would you invest in?

Me: Probably a new suit and some snapchat stock

Interviewer: ....

Apologies for the cringe - I was a dumb kid - but I ended up getting the job! I can't believe I didn't even know the name of the firm..... hahahaha

There is more than one way to get there. I'd rather have 30 chapters than 3000 pages.

  • 2
Oct 29, 2020 - 2:20pm

I got asked what 2% of 18 was. This was my first IB interview and I didn't really know what I was doing in interviews, so I hardly thought about it and said "0.3". Then the MD asked me to try again and I was able to correct myself to 0.36.

Somehow I got advanced to the super day the next week, and in the first interview I got asked a technical about changes to the financial statements and my shitty answer elicited a "Have you ever taken an accounting class?" from a different MD. I had taken about 2 weeks of accounting at that point.

Somehow after all this I still fit in well with all the other interviewers and I got the offer.

Oct 30, 2020 - 3:08am

Phone interview went pretty well and the interviewer tells me bye and that we will touch base soon. I responded "sounds good, bye. Love you". Hit end call. Pause and stare at the wall like what the fuck did I just say look on my face. I was talking to my mom right before and said "love you" and I think that triggered it. Anyways, dialed her back immediately and ended up laughing about it and got an in person interview with two associates. She ended up being one of them. Definitely would've smashed

Oct 30, 2020 - 1:27pm

So back in college I never let people know my GPA because people are weird about that stuff. So when showing people how to write resumes I would put my GPA as 1.27 but my actual gpa was around 3.5.

So I apply for Morgan Stanley, and get to super day but I don't realize the copies I brought are the ones with 1.27.

The interviewer sees my GPA and says "that's interesting". I tell them "I try to work hard but I always want to improve", while thinking they're looking at the 3.5 but they see the 1.27.

I did not get the offer.

Oct 30, 2020 - 4:52pm

How the f*ck did you get the first round with a 1.27?


Oct 30, 2020 - 2:53pm

I read somewhere that you shouldn't sit down before the interviewer says to take a seat.

So I get to the interview room and he never tells me to take a seat so I stood there for a few minutes while we made small talk. Then he finally says please take a seat but I felt it was too late then so I told him I had a back injury and couldn't sit down so I did the interview standing.

Worst part was after the interview when he was walking me to the lobby he asked how I got here and I told him I drove here.

Oct 30, 2020 - 5:56pm

Interviewing for a DB position about a year ago. The interviewer asked me if i had any questions for him. I asked him what makes him excited to get up and go to work for DB everyday. He took it the wrong way although that wasn't my intention. Also had an interview with an associate at Credit Ag for FT and was asked some dumb technical about the treasury method. I was an intern at the time interviewing for FT and i essentially said "Honestly, i Have no clue". He then asked about buying a 100K piece of equipment with debt and how it impacts the financials. I also butchered that and to ice the cake, i had to reschedule this interview for later that day last minute because i completely forgot about it. Great times. Had an interview with a MM firm and upon answering the phone, the VP said "Hi, is this jake?" to which i anxiously answered "Hi jake!!". His name was not the same as mine so i looked like a nervous fool from the get go.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Ind
Oct 31, 2020 - 5:18pm

Made it through to the final round interview with an MD at a top EB, was asked to recommend them a book.

Me: said a book title and ended up rambling on about what happens

MD: well thanks for spoiling it, looks like I won't need to read it

Was rejected the same day, feedback from HR was 'candidate talks too much'

Passed about 8 interviews and a case study to ultimately get rejected for spoiling a book in the final round.

Nov 2, 2020 - 9:56pm

Got a call back from HR but forgot I had applied to the company in the first place. After the caller repeated the name of the company twice without me realising it was for a role I applied to a couple weeks back, I asked her to stop spam calling me and hung up. She wasn't impressed when I called back to apologise. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Nov 2, 2020 - 11:54pm

I was interviewing for a healthcare position at what was then Piper Jaffray with a guy who was either a medical doctor, a PhD or both (I actually can't remember). Around the one and a half minute mark, he asked "why healthcare?" and my answer was something to the effect of "I want to help people."

This was followed by a very painful 18 and a half minutes.

Nov 3, 2020 - 12:44am

During junior year, I struck out with the BB/EB firms and was now talking to a few MMs and smaller banks for internships. I had gone to visit friends at another school and was pretty drunk, and my phone rang. Some associate at a firm called me to schedule an interview, which we were able to do, and hung up, without me ever knowing what firm it was. We had the interview, and I still never learned what firm it was, because even though I tried to get him to say it by asking questions at the end, he never did. Before the call ended, he asked if I could talk to his colleague, some VP, the next day at the same time, which I said yes. Had a second interview with this guy and he still never fucking said it, and I couldnt check linkedin because I knew neither of these guys' full names. Finally got an email from the firm saying I wasn't moving forward, and learned who it was. Not really a fuck up but a funny story I remembered recently.

  • 1
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Nov 3, 2020 - 7:34am

Just bombed an informational call - I thought it was a real interview, not a nice chat, and didn´t prepare any personal questions. Managed to wing it but boy did that gave me a heart attack.

  • Intern in AM - Other
Nov 6, 2020 - 2:02pm

I was once in an interview and had on my resume "Basic understanding of Spanish". I thought three years in High School would get me through basic conversations. Near the end of the interview, one of the interviewers broke out in Spanish and I absolutely froze. Then, a second interviewer asked me a more simple question in spanish...by that point, the nerves had got the best of me. I think I ended up saying "Soy de..." my hometown haha and had nothing else to say. Didn't get the offer, and made some changes to my resume that night.

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