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The Most Difficult Interview Questions You’re Likely To Be Asked On Wall Street

Wall Street is rude, it’s crude and it will eat you alive. Interviewing for a job on Wall Street is no different.

By: Cindy Perman. Staff Writer

It’s not a meet-and-greet tell-me-about this job or that experience. It’s more like a punch in the face. They’ll ask you hard questions, maybe inappropriate questions — all to see if you’re going to be able to run with the big dogs — or if you need to get your behind back on the porch.

‘They’re looking for how you handle pressure. How you think on your feet. Are you the brightest of the bright ? Are you a natural leader ?’ said Jeanne Branthover, head of global financial services at Boyden Global Executive Search.

Wall Street Oasis, a job-search site for financial careers, recently pinged readers for the hardest questions they were ever asked on an interview for Wall Street. The answers included such zingers as:

‘You’re going to be working 110 hours a week here. Can you even handle that ?’

‘Why don’t you have any offers yet ? What’s wrong with you ?’

‘What single word would you use to describe yourself so I don’t walk out of here and forget you ?’ (Good answer: Unforgettable!)

‘What line on your resume is the most bull**** ?’

‘Do you view this as your dream career ?’ If you answer yes, ‘If in two years, you receive an offer for more money on the buyside, will you turn it down because this is your dream career ?’

In an interview for a Goldman Sachs analyst position, the interviewer asked: ‘If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out ?’

‘What’s your outlook for cucumber prices over the course of 2012 ?’

In an interview where there were two interviewers, the one who was supposed to be the silent No. 2 asked just one question: ‘Are you trying to f*** us over ?’ The kid froze, the interviewer wrote in a comment on The No. 1 interviewer jumped in: ‘Why didn’t you just say no ?!’

‘If I told you that the only way you were going to get this job is if you let me sleep with your girlfriend, would you accept ?’

When it comes to analytical questions like ‘What’s your outlook for cucumber prices ?’ or ‘How many tennis balls could you fit in this room ?’, it’s not about the answer.

‘It doesn’t mean you have the right answer — they’re trying to see how your thought process works’, Branthover said.

The kiss-of-death answer to any of these questions is ‘I don’t know’.

‘You answer ‘I don’t know’ and that will get you out the door!’, Branthover said.

Some of the other questions she said her clients have been asked include:

If you could choose, what brand would you like to be and why ?

How many balls would it take to fill Central Park ?

Have you ever cheated on your partner ?

Did you ever tell a secret you promised to keep ?

What is the biggest lie you’ve told — to whom and why ?

Tell me, how would you go about killing a crocodile ?

Questions for Wall Street jobs have always been tougher than those for most jobs, Branthover said, but they’ve gotten even tougher since the financial crisis.

‘They want to know if you can really be a leader in tough times’, Branthover said. A lot of these leaders hadn’t been tested on that before the financial crisis. They survived and now they want to know — can you ?

So, they may ask you questions like ‘What was one of the toughest decisions you had to make ?’ or ‘What was the hardest environment you’ve ever worked in ?’. Then, they’ll want to know what you did to solve the problem, get through the tough situation — and what you might do differently today.

Plus, with all the layoffs on Wall Street, there are fewer people to do all the work, meaning they really want the best of the best, the brightest of the bright.

When it comes to the inappropriate questions like sleeping with your girlfriend and cheating on your partner — the kind that would get the red light flashing in human resources at most companies — it’s about seeing if you can handle how brutal Wall Street can be.

‘They’re trying to divide the men from the boys and the girls from the women’, Branthover said. ‘If you have soft skin, you’re not cut out for investment banking’.

They’re going to poke you with a stick and see how you react.

‘They want to see that you’re not rattled by rudeness; that you stay on your feet and don’t look shocked’, Branthover said.

You don’t have to answer ‘Yes, you can sleep with my girlfriend’ — you just have to not look shocked and have a quick comeback.

A good answer one person posted on Wall Street Oasis was: I’ve been with my girlfriend a long time and plan to marry her. If you so much as kiss her neck, I’d (bleeping]) knock you out. That being said, I have a beautiful sister I’d be happy to hook you up with …

And that, my friend, is a lesson in how deals get done on Wall Street!


You can find the original article at CNBC, or it was also re-produced over at Here is the City.


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5 Reasons Why UK Graduates are Moving Away From Careers in Banking & Finance

This article has been re-produced. The original author was William Frierson.

Times are tough with the economy all round, but the financial services industry appears to be having a torrid time. Financial scandals coupled with changing business models have wreaked havoc with bottom lines during this prolonged downturn.

And issues like these have resulted in many graduates, who previously were keen to earn big money and work in ‘the City’, deciding that their futures lay elsewhere.

Here’s 5 key reasons why UK graduates are increasingly giving a career in financial services a wide berth:

1. Job security – the economic outlook and regulatory and capital pressures have significantly impacted revenues in this sector. Job security (or the lack of it) is a significant negative factor when considering a career in financial services.

2. Financial reward – where once a career in banking & finance was seen as a quick way to riches and early retirement, this is no longer the case. Political pressure and demands to achieve a better balance between employee reward and shareholder value has meant that compensation ratios have come down (and will fall further).

3. Work / Life Balance – always known as an industry that works employees hard, job insecurity has resulted in employees having to put in even more hours to try and justify their existence. In addition, cuts in headcount increasingly means that workloads have increased for those who remain.

4. Stigma – five years on from the start of the financial crisis, bankers in particular are held in very low regard. Where once a young professional was proud to show off a business card that confirmed he / she worked at a large financial institution, that is no more. Scandal has followed scandal, and there appears to be no let-up.

5. Uncertain environment – with the industry under a microscope like never before, and in the midst of a significant economic downturn fraught with further political uncertainties (the break-up of the Euro, the stability of Greece and other European countries, etc), the future shape of the financial services industry is now in question. Likely to go through significant structural change over the coming years, it is difficult to see how a career in this sector will unfold.

William Frierson is a staff writer for, a leading job board for college students who are searching for internships and recent graduates who are hunting for entry-level jobs and other career opportunities

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The Best Risk Recruitment Firm of 2012

Selby Jennings, who came out top in the Here Is The City 2012 poll of jobseekers and client companies.

Matt Nicholson, Head of Market Risk believes that the alignment of consultants within specialist market verticals is what clinched the win.

Nicholson explains why, ‘As part of the Phaidon Group, our key focus has always been on offering Best Practise recruitment solutions and providing a specialist service that truly understands the needs and requirements of our clients and candidates. Having grown the Risk team into specialist Market Risk, Credit Risk and Operational Risk verticals, feedback from our clients and candidates has always been that the experience of working with an expert in their sector really does make a difference’.

Harry Youtan, Head of the Risk Management Team adds: ‘Our approach is to align our teams into technical verticals that mirror our clients. It is this specialism within individual fields that really adds value to our clients and candidates, something that has been acknowledged with this award’.

Head over to the Selby Jennings website and take a look around…

See the full HITC article here.

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Campus Recruitment – 35 Top Hiring Firms

Here is a really useful list of some of the major Financial Services employers currently doing the rounds on campus and a link to their graduate recruitment website. You will soon be able to quickly and easily access this information from within Currently we don’t expose the URL for an employers graduate job page, just the main recruitment page.


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Bank of America

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Bank of New York Mellon

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BNP Paribas

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Credit Suisse

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Deutsche Bank

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Fidelty International

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Goldman Sachs

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Houlihan Lokey

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J.P. Morgan

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M&G Investments

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Man Group Plc

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Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International

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Morgan Stanley

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Royal Bank of Scotland

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Societe Generale

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Standard Chartered Bank

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Susquehanna International Group

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TD Securities

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See the full post over at HereIsTheCity.

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21 ‘Wow’ factor employers that will help get your CV/resume noticed!

Recruitment consultants and in-house recruiters each receive hundreds of resumes / CVs from financial markets professionals every week (especially these days), but what makes recruiters sit up and take notice?

1. Goldman Sachs – if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere

2. JPMorgan – has a reputation for hiring quality staff across the board

3. Morgan Stanley – seen as an organisation that is based on strong ethical behaviours, staff therefore highly sought after

4. Jefferies – a whizzy firm that is thought to only hire whizzy people

5. Deutsche Bank – seen as a firm which encourages employees to think outside the box

6. UBS – seen as giving staff a good grounding in the industry

7. PIMCO – regarded as a firm full of academics and rocket scientists

8. BlackRock – staff seen as mixed in quality terms (depending what area they are in), but always a popular name with recruiters

9. Moelis & Co – the new kid on the block, which is thought to have done so well so quickly as it has attracted the right people

10. Evercore Partners – class, sheer class

11. Cantor Fitzgerald – the firm has street cred, and employees are thought of as very sharp

12. Macquarie – seen as a firm that will try and recruit only the best, regarding themselves as ‘the Goldman Sachs of Australia’).

13. Barclays Capital (now just Barclays) – a good name on a CV, but some staff can be on the expensive side

14. ICAP – niche firm where only the strong survive

15. BMO Capital Markets – making inroads in the industry by hoovering up top talent

16. Credit Suisse – has a strong brand recognition, but a mixed bag in terms of quality of employees

17. Lazard – has a reputation for employing top drawer staff, but many are fussy where they go next

18. Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets – when they are good, the staff are very, very good

19. Citi – still a firm with a strong brand, but are there any superstars left ?

20. Bank of America / Bank of America Merrill Lynch – the Merrill name opened doors, but that’s not always the case now with the Bank of America monicker

21. Standard Chartered – regarded as an excellent (if unexciting) firm full of competent bankers

Read the original article on hereisthecity;