Sunday, August 17, 2008

What are the signs of a good interview?

An entry level investment banking interview is around 30 minutes. If your interview last longer than this, it is a good sign.

If you feel comfortable throughout the process and feel like a friendly discussion rather than being interrogated.

Body Language
The interviewer’s body language can tell his interest level in your story or if they are happy with your answers. It is a good sign if you can gain his full attention.

Benefit Selling
If the interviewer doesn’t ask you a lot of question and start telling you the benefit about the banks, it is a good sign that he wants you to work for them.

Probing for Competition
If you are being asked with which other banks you are interviewing and the progress, it is also a good sign. It is also a good chance for you to push and speed up the process a little, if you are in the final interviewing stage with another bank. However please make sure you are honest, as the investment banking world is small.

Anna Maria’s Thoughts on Investment Banking Interview
If you don’t know the answer to a certain question, either technical, fit or teaser, please don’t panic. Investment banks don’t expect to hire a finance guru for an entry role. You learn on the job. There are many other qualities they look for. Interviewers want to look for people who are devoted to the job, with the appropriate level of smartness and willingness to learn. More importantly they want to find someone whom
they feel comfortable and happy to work with.

Investment Banking Interview


siddharth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
siddharth said...

Thanks for the motivating words. Anna I am not really clear on what this bulge bracket i-banks expect. I have been through a disapointing experience 7 months back when I was attending interview for Deloitte. Well it was a telephonic one and I thought my performance was excellent in the technical round. I was able to answer almost 99% of the questions with 97% accuracy. Still didnt managed to get through. The interview was almost an hour long. In the end the HR wrote that the technical team also evaluates candidates on factors like motivation, energy??

rebecca said...

hi, anna, i found info in the site are very useful and really appreciate ur work here. i currently got an offer from a firm. the salary and bonus are below expectation. how could i negotiate it with agent or the firm?

Anna Maria D'Souza said...


Sorry to learn about your disappointing experience. I don't personally favour telephone or video interview, which are never good for both parties. Interviewing is often a complicated process. The best candidate might not get the deal for a number of reasons such as he is too expensive; or he is too good and the interviewer don't think he would stay in that position for long or they don't feel his work style fits their company culture. Don't be upset, you are not alone with that kind of experience. It is important that the employer and employee both need a perfect match. Don't give up and I wish you will soon get your dream job.

Anna Maria D'Souza said...


The information you provided isn't enough for me to suggest answers. IBs never hire entry roles through agents. Also the pay scale for entry roles are generally structured in a way that there isn't much room for negotiation.

rebecca said...

hi, Anna, i have 2yrs exp in structured product and finance in corp bank field. but for ib field, it's totally fresh for me. the offer is a entry role, and the package is similar with my previous job. i wonder if my exp in general bank counts in ib.

siddharth said...

Hi Anna

Thanks for the reply. I will definitely take your words and work on it. Currently I am working in a boutique investment banking firm in Chennai (India). Though the organization culture (attitude of seniors members) is really good but I am not getting the right exposure. Deal flow is not that good. I believe I am missing out something. Anna I am interested in applying to a bulge bracket i-bank in Singapore or HongKong if things dont shape up over here. Will they encourage people who have changed two jobs in 2.5 years. Also I am not from an ivy league business school. So how my resume will be accepted by them.

learner said...

I want to know about the right way for the interview i have been apeared for interview in McKinsey it went good I have been for interview for 1 hr. Still not made it.

Anna Maria D'Souza said...


Two jobs in 2.5 years doesn't look attractive on a resume. However relocation is a good reason to look for a new job. But still you would need to find a reason to relocate. Asia Pacific is a highly competitive place, Hong Kong in particular. Life pace here is extremely fast and hectic. Hence AP is usually a heaven for experienced people who want to make big money. Remain in your current job and build some solid credentials before moving on could be a good strategy.

Anna Maria D'Souza said...


Length is just an indication for a good interview but there are many other factors in the hiring process which led to a not-hire situation for you. Refer to my answer to Siddarth, and you'll get some clues.