You’ve landed an interview with Goldman Sachs. Well done: you’re in a serious minority. What should you expect? In the past, Goldman Sachs had a reputation for interviewing people until it hurts – putting potential hires through endless interviews with different Goldman staff just to check they’d be a ‘fit.’
Lately, things have changed. Goldman has adopted the Hirevue digital interviewing package, which is now being used to screen junior candidates in the U.S. and is being rolled out elsewhere soon. Hirevue requires candidates to record their responses to pre-recorded questions, with a two minute response time per question. Responses are assessed based upon their similarity to those given by the bank’s existing high performers, so anyone who makes it through Hirevue should be a fit (at least that’s theory). Even so, you can still expect to be interviewed by actual human beings further down the line.
We’ve assembled a list interview questions which Goldman Sachs candidates claim to have been asked at Goldman. Most of these were asked of candidates joining the firm at analyst or associate levels.
While you should prepare for the sorts of questions below, the key thing to know before you interview at Goldman (and this applies to Hirevue interviews too) is that you need to be 100% familiar with everything in your resume. The firm itself says this is and most of the candidates who’ve interviewed there say they were heavily grilled on the minutiae of their CVs. For example, if you’ve written that you took a Java programming course back in 2012, be ready to talk about it – in depth.
If you’ve interviewed with Goldman and want to share an interview question, add it to the comments box at the bottom of this page, or email us at Editor@eFinancialCareers.com.
Fit Questions from Goldman Interviews
Walk me through you CV?
Which was your preferred class at university?
What are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Which of your skills and experiences make you appropriate for this job?
What motivates you in life?
What would make you satisfied?
Why Goldman Sachs?
What makes Goldman Sachs different to its competitors?
Why do you want to work for this division of Goldman Sachs?
Why do you want this job at Goldman Sachs?
How do you know you want this job at Goldman Sachs?
Have you ever had any issues with work/life balance?
What skills do you think are required to do this job?
Can you talk about a mistake you made in the past, and how you overcame it?
Who is the most famous and influential person you would like to meet and why?
Can you talk about a challenge you faced in the past? How did you overcome it?
Can you talk through a time you worked with a co-worker? How did you build that relationship?
Can you tell me a time when you failed to meet a deadline?
What’s more important- deadlines, or the quality of work?
Can you tell us about an episode where you were short of time for delivering a large project? How did you overcome that?
Can you give an example of a time you streamlined a process?
Talk to me about your previous jobs.
What are you strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Which role do you usually play in a team?
What would your team mates say about working with you?
Why would your team mates choose to work with someone else instead of you?
Would you rather be captain of a losing team or the regular member of a winning team?
Why did you choose your college/university? Why did you choose that subject?
Give an example of a time you acted as a leader.
Describe a time when you worked in a team where there were disagreements.
Describe a time you research a subject of interest to you. How did you go about that?
Would you say you’re a perfectionist?
What’s been the most important experience of your career? Why?
Can you talk us through a time when you had to decline a client’s request? How did you approach that?
Your friend is cheating in a test. He’s on his last warning. You’re the only one who knows he’s cheating. What do you do?
Tell me about yourself. You have three minutes.
IBD (Investment Banking Division) Questions from Goldman Interviews
Walk me through the three different ways of valuing a company.
Walk me through a DCF.
Walk me through an LBO analysis.
What factors can lead to the dilution of EPS in an acquisition?
If you are in a business that wants to preserve cash, what type of inventory accounting method would you use (LIFO or FIFO) in a time of rising prices, and why?
You’re using multiples to value a company but those multiples are skewed. What do you do?
What is Minority Interest and why do we add it in the Enterprise Value formula?
Why is cash subtracted from Enterprise Value (EV)?
Briefly walk me through a discounted cash flow analysis. (including WACC).
If a company raises debt, what happens to its WACC? What might make your answer wrong?
A client in the aerospace industry wants to know about related markets which are impacting his stock price. Which industries and markets do you look at?
Why can’t you use EV/Earnings or Price/EBITDA as valuation metrics?
Discuss a deal you have read about recently.
How do the three financial statements fit together?
Which is the best method of valuing a company and why?
What does shareholders’ equity consist of? How does net income affect it?
What will you actually do as an analyst or associate in an investment bank? What attracts you to this?
You’re meet the CEO of an industrial company. She wants to know how much her company is worth. Which information do you need?
(If you make it through the first round of interviews for IBD at Goldman, you’ll be expected to complete a case study interview. There’s an example of a GS case study here.)
Markets Questions from Goldman Interviews
How would you value a company which was very successful until recently, but lost market share due to a single event?
Where do you see markets trading in three months, six months, nine months?
Which structured equity product would you issue in the current market conditions?
Explain the options Greeks.
Explain what a put option is.
Explain the assumptions behind Black Scholes.
Is gold overpriced?
Are equities overpriced?
What’s moving the markets now?
What’s happening to market volatility and why?
What’s your top stock pick?
General Motors or Facebook? Why?
How would you hedge against the risk of an Apple bond defaulting?
Why are you better than other candidates on picking stocks?
How should a bank evaluate the creditworthiness of a counter-party?
Pitch a long stock? Pitch a short stock?
How would you invest $1k?
You’re given information about a company’s stock price over a period of 12 months. How do you determine how risky it is?
What’s the Monte Carlo method for pricing options? How does it work?
Tech Questions from Goldman Interviews
Why is a binary tree better than a hash table?
Why is a hash table better than a binary tree?
What differentiates propositional logic from first order logic? Which is better?
When should you use functional programming vs. objected oriented programming?
How could you set up a recursive function so that a smart language / compiler could evaluate the function and never run out of memory?
Talk me through the concept of inheritance in C++.
Talk me through the Java design patterns you know.
What’s a Linked List? Can you build one?
How would you find the middle element in a Linked List?
How would you write a programme to find the biggest number in a list of 10 numbers?
What’s Object Oriented Programming?
How does Object Oriented Programming differ from Process Oriented Programming?
What’s polymorphism in OOP?
What’s inheritance in OOP?
If you had to make a program that could vote for the top three funniest people in the office how would you do that? How would you make it possible to vote on those people?
Brain Teasers and Other Questions from Goldman Interviews
Estimate the value of the tie industry in the UK.
How many airplanes are in the sky above New York City at any moment?
What is the angle between the hour and minute hand of a clock at 3.15?
If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?
When you heat a sausage in the microwave, the tear is always lengthwise. Why is that?
If I gave you €10m, would you either buy a 5-star hotel in the centre of Paris or 5 cheap motels along the ring road?
What’s the sum of all the numbers between 1 and 100?
Photo credit: BS Wise