The interview process is the major factor that determines whether or not you are selected for an investment banking position. You career can hinge on the success of your investment banking interview. Here are 3 questions that, if you get wrong, can cause you to fail in your interview.
Question #1: Not knowing about the job
The biggest mistake you can make in your interview for an investment banking position is to not know the requirements of the job. This is equivalent to applying for a position as a NASCAR stock car racer and not knowing the job requires you to race cars. No company will want to hire an employee that is not familiar with the daily requirements of the position.
Investment banking jobs are notorious for the long work week which can easily reach 80 to 90 hours per week. People in the industry will frequently work on national and bank holidays. If you are not committed to working these hours then you are making a mistake applying for an investment banking position.
Question #2: Not knowing about the company
Companies will spend a lot of time asking fit questions to determine whether or not your personality will mesh in the company's corporate culture. You can be prepared for these questions by being diligent in doing research on the company. Research can be done by reading company annual reports, press releases and recent newspaper and magazine articles on the company. If you do not take the time to learn about the company, the interviewer will assume that you are not truly interested in the position and you will be passed over in consideration for the job.
If you have done preparation to learn about the company, you should be able to answer basic questions. You may be asked who is the President and CEO of the company. This is a very innocuous question but you would be surprised at the number of candidates that cannot answer the question. Another question might be to describe the new product the company just launched. If you are unable to answer basic questions about the company, you will not be selected for the position.
Question #3: Not having questions to ask the interviewer
At the end of every interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions you would like to ask. This allows you to ask pertinent questions to show you interest in the position and that you are familiar with the job requirements. It also allows the interviewer to judge how well you have prepared for the interview. How you answer this question will be the last thing the interviewer will remember about you. Failing to make this count can sink any chance you have at being hired by this company.
You should always have three to four questions prepared to ask at this point in the interview. If you fail to ask any questions, this leaves a negative impression of you with the interviewer. Your interview may have been very successful up to this point and you can blow that success by failing to ask any questions or asking poor questions. You should never ask about salary and benefits or vacation time at this point in the interview. If you appear to be more interested in money than in the position, the company will not hire you.
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