THE trickiest interview Q (evvvery bankers favorite)

In Uncategorized | 4 minutes read

If there is one question that’ll make a candidate sweat more than Roman Polanski at a sweet sixteen, it’s this one.

I’ve literally seen people go white when this boooomb is dropped mid interview.

It is especially hilarious, because usually the interview is going swimmingly up until this point.

In fact the main reason this question gets asked is BECAUSE the interview is going so well!!

We are of course talking about the notoriously prickly…

Are you interviewing with any other banks or do you have offers?  (bankers will probably only ask the first part, but sometimes follow on with the second part…the offers part).

So is this really the trickiest question in banking?

Well it is if you DON’T expect it and don’t realize you’re not ‘exclusive’ with the bank yet – they’re seeing other people and so can you.

Before untangling this messed up sexual metaphor we should borrow Ari’s advice;

“It’s like high school.  You can’t f**k the prom queen until she finds out her best friend jerked you off underneath the bleachers” – Ari Gold, Entourage.

In other words, you want to be able to say “YEEEEES” when asked this question.  Yes “I am interviewing with JP and Morgan Stanley” and yes “I do have two offers”.

Absent an actual offer, you should at least be able to say you’re interviewing at other banks, because the scarcity and pre-approval this signals will influence bankers big time.

Before going into the ideal answer it’s worth pointing out that we were asked (and have asked students ourselves) the first part of the question, but never the latter.

But prepare for both ‘in case’.

How the F**K do you handle this question with ease and turn it an answer bankers’ love???

Let’s start with all the big NO’s.

  • As tempting as it is when your recruiting season is going poorly, don’t make up interviews or worse, offers, because banks talk and they will find out.
  • Even if you are interviewing for S&T or consulting spots don’t admit it. Lie.  Split passion, especially for these two professions, is not tolerated.
  • If you are interviewing with brand-name banks don’t say you’re interviewing with any banks of lesser stature than your interviewers, because it hurts your ‘brand’, makes you look desperate and shows split passion in terms of boutique v bulge bracket banking.
  • Conversely, if you are interviewing with banks at the lower end of the market (i.e. boutiques, no-name 10 men shops etc) don’t say you’re interviewing with any banks of higher stature, because it will make them feel like they’re only your Plan B, that you might just be using them as a stepping stone and that you might not accept an offer.

Now let’s talk about what you should do

To really crush this question say how despite the interviews/offers you have had, they [the bank you’re interviewing at] are your #1 choice, because [rephrase your answer to the Why them? question, but this time by politely contrasting why them vs other banks].

Not only will you have “pre-approved” stamped across your forehead, but you’re exuding class.

And it’s a damn cheeky way to pass a few more sincere love notes to the bankers about why them.  Passion for IB is one thing, but passion for them in particular WHEN justified with real reasons is a whole ‘nother world!

I don’t think it needs mentioning, but let’s do it for the sake of completeness…

Obviously ONLY say they are your #1 if they are genuinely in your top 3 choices of the banks you ARE interviewing with.

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.