Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The End of the Interview: What Questions Do You Have For Me?

So it's the end of the interview, you've survived the technical questions and the brain teasers, you sliced and diced your way through the DCF, and you realize the interviewer is wrapping things up when they say "So, do you have any questions for me?". Don't think the interview is over, because it is not over yet! This section of the interview carries a lot of importance because it is the conclusion to your meeting.

Conclusions are meant to be powerful! For your conclusion to be powerful, you must have three to four well prepared and thought out questions. You should not ask the interviewer a question that you yourself cannot answer or come up with a reasonable answer. Let me explain. It is not uncommon for an over zealous interviewee, who is trying to impress their interviewer by asking a difficult question, when the interviewer turns the table and pulls the rug right out from under their feet by reversing the question and asking it back to the interviewee! Remember, they are not the one on trial....you are, so be smart and stay sharp by being prepared!

Tip: If you are going to ask a question and you are unsure if it will come across on the more difficult side, preface it by saying "In your opinion...." This way you are not putting pressure on the interviewer to answer directly, but rather to simply give their opinion.

Tip: Ask questions about the culture of the bank and ask why they chose this bank in your first interviews and informational sessions. Then take their answer, throw your own twist on it and use your new answer (the one straight from the horses mouth) in the interviews that follow. This doesn't mean you can neglect preparing for these questions because you are guaranteed to get these questions in almost every interview, including your first.

Questions to help you get thinking
  • How do you interact with senior management?
  • What is the attitude of the firm and/or group you are in?
  • What do you do at night for dinner?
  • Does your group order dinner together?
  • Does your group ever go out together outside of work?
  • What kind of group activities do you do together? (some groups play golf or going skiing once or twice a year)
  • Why did you choose to work for XYZ bank? (remember, you should use their answer as part of your answer in the following interviews)
  • Why did you pick your group?
  • Can you tell me about a recent deal you've worked on and your specific responsibilities throughout the process?
  • What's the biggest challenge facing your group or this organization?
  • In your opinion, what is the current outlook for M&A markets, especially in the context of recent debt market turmoil?
  • In your opinion, are U.S. Capital Markets losing their position of leadership in Europe and Asia?

This is just a small sample of questions to help get you thinking. These are also great questions to ask people in your initial informational meetings, whether formal or personalized.

Tip: Sometimes it is hard to come up with "good" questions because you do not know enough about the market, company, etc... The way I learned to overcome this was by writing down questions other writers asked and/or answered in their articles. For example, when you are reading the Wall Street Journal, which you should be doing every day, Deal Book by New York Times, or any other resource, look for questions in their articles and write them down. To keep track of all these questions, so you are not writing them down all over the place, get a legal notebook (they're cheap) and dedicate it to Investment Banking. Write all of your notes and thoughts in one place and your life will be less stressful when preparing for your interviews.

1 comment:

interview hr said...

Tks very much for your post.

Avoid surprises — interviews need preparation. Some questions come up time and time again — usually about you, your experience and the job itself. We've gathered together the most common questions so you can get your preparation off to a flying start.

You also find all interview questions at link at the end of this post.

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