#1 test you need to pass for bankers

In Uncategorized | 6 minutes read

When you enter that interview room, what do you think is RUNNING through the bankers minds?

Most students think the banker is mainly wondering…

“Does this kid have brains?”

“Can this kid model like Stephen Hawking on crack?”

“Could I have this kid sit in a meeting with a client or would he Rainman all over the joint?”

Well, they’re all interesting questions to be sure.

And bankers WILL ponder them all at some point.

Buuuuut they are NOT anywhere near as important as the REAL question that is at the forefront of a banker’s mind.

So what is it?

What do bankers FIRST want to find out about you when you step into the interview room?

— Is this guy someone I would WANT to get a beeeeeeer with? —

You’re probably thinking I’ve had one too many bottles.

And that I’m an alcoholic who just wants another beer.

Now that’s neither here nor there.  (and my sobriety / extensive use of ritalin-infused vodka red bulls to get through a long night is not up for question at the minute)

But the reality is, THIS is THE question you first need to answer in a bankers mind.

Likeability is something we talk to students about again and again.

And the reason why…

It is just sooooooooooooooooo important.

It is also soooooooooooooooooo underappreciated.  Again and again, I see way too many students spending all their time trying to look smart, when they should just relax a little and ‘be cool’.

Of course, we’re not alone in this viewpoint.

The ‘airport test’ after all is talked about more online than upcoming freaking bonuses!

For anyone who doesn’t know what the airport test is, it’s the idea that bankers will decide whether they want to hire you by asking themselves;

“If my flight was delayed, could I sit in an airport lounge with this kid for a couple hours and not want to down a liter of Jack and neck myself with a rusty old Gillette blade?”.

i.e. do they like you???

How do you pass the Airport Test / likeability test?

Unfortunately, there’s a LAAARGE rotting corpse of advice out there on ‘How To’.

It goes something like this;

“Be very professional, think about your goals, concentrate on maintaining positive body language, prepare your answers, execute the game plan step by step, watch out for etiquette slips and don’t forget to be articulate”.

It sounds like something out of Jeeves Weekly…the bible of every self respecting f**ktard Kensington butler.

With that D-grade advice running through your mind you’re bound to come across as a stiff, pompous douche.

Said differently, “just another candidate”.

Let’s p..a..u..s..e on this for a minute and think about how a banker feeeeels during a long and arduous interview day and what that means for you…

We call it the…

“7 hours, 18 biscuits, 4 coffees, 12 reserved students trying to be super professional = please shoot me in the head” syndrome.

What we’re alluding to here is that interview days, especially never-ending Superdays, are EQUALLY tough on the bankers as they are on you.

So the question becomes “How do you make life easier for them?”

Or more honestly…

“How do you smack them out of their boredom-induced coma after 12 preppy looking students with their dull professional “hello, nice to meet you” personas have interviewed?”.


Really freaking simple.

It’s all about ENERGY.

Bring a smile, some passion, a voice with more than one tone, an interesting conversation, a sprinkling of non-rehearsed sounding answers and you’re good to go.

This point is huge BECAUSE you could do everything else right (execute every other tip we have for you), but if you don’t light up the room you’ll never get them excited.

Buuut there is an aaaaaart to bringing high energy however…and it revolves around knowing how hard to go AND when.

First things first, make sure you start your interview with an energy level just above the banker.  This allows you to create a strong first impression, but WITHOUT being seen as overeager.

Then slowly raise your levels of passion and excitement.

And keep raising them and you’ll have the banker’s getting excited in no time.

In other words, you can’t sprint out of the blocks like a caffeine-overdosing TONY ROBBINS clapping his mitt-size hands around like a freaking maniac.

If you hit a bored and tired banker at 100mph you’ll be deemed “weird kid with a crazy glimmer in his eye”.

Also, if you can save the cussing, high-fiving and douche bag energy for Saturday nights out with the boys you’ll have the art of sensible high energy down pat.

Mirroring the banker’s initial energy level will also safeguard you from being either too formal or too loose.

If you feel ‘likeability’ is a weak area of yours then go practice ‘getting along with professionals’!

Now we realize this sounds ridiculous at first glance.

But think of yourself as a teenage boy who wants to ask out that 10/10 cheerleader, Suzzie Delaney…you know, the one with the hugely oversized bust that’s been keeping you awake through business class all semester long?!
This is a guest post from Inside Investment Banking >

HOW do you achieve that?

Well, you don’t do it by sitting at home.

Instead you go out.

You meet some 6s…think accounting firms at careers fair, industry networking events etc.

You start to learn what’s required and how to act.  You train up like Jason Bourne doing mad man beach sprints in Goa.

And when ready, then you go for the Suzzie Delaneys…the 10s…think the bulge bracket bankers at formal interviews!

With this approach you will be every bankers new best friend.  And you’ll crush the #1 question they ask themselves when you first walk into the interview room.


P.S. This lesson was extracted straight from our very popular Inside Investment Banking Course.  If you’re serious about breaking into banking, check it out now.

Screw financial modeling…you only need 6 skills to break into banking

If you’re an over excited wannabe Excel Monkey then you’ve probably tried just about everything to break in…from studying financial modeling till 3am to trying to memorize 100s of complicated technical interview questions.

But here’s the thing…

You’re wasting your time!  If you want to learn how to impress bankers, get interviews and land job offers straight out of college you simply need 6 skills.