Now that internal promotions are all the rage, investment banks are slower to invite people to interviews. Why hire externally when you can promote a junior with far less hassle? When you're invited to a finance interview, it's therefore become all the more important that you don't mess up.
Below, we have a selection of real life interview disasters provided to us anonymously by finance recruiters who work inside and outside investment banks. Read and learn. On no account commit the same mistakes yourself.
"The most stupid thing I've ever come across was a graduate who started talking about catwalks when I asked them about their modelling capability," says one graduate recruiter.
The same graduate recruiter says she once interviewed someone who brought an iron into an interview. "He told me it was 'for protection' and then said he was only joking - he'd had to borrow it to iron his shirt on the way and he couldn't put it down anywhere because it was still warm."
"There are some people who will interview for M&A roles and say that they're also interviewing for private equity," says the head of one recruitment firm. "That's an immediate turn off."
"We organized a dinner for some of our students with some senior bankers," says the head of finance careers at one leading business school. "One of the bankers asked a student what his career plans were. The student said consulting - and banking. But the pause was just too long. It was clear that consulting was his first choice. His informal banking interview didn't go much further."
"I interviewed a guy who was a Rod Stewart tribute act," says one banking recruiter. "He was terrible. He was also wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
"I've also interviewed someone in a brown suit and turquoise shirt," she adds. "It doesn't get much worse than that."
"I've had people bring their parents to the interviews," says one graduate recruiter. "I have to ask them to sit outside."
"Parents will sometimes call to make inquiries about the progression of an application," says another banking recruiter. "I have to tell them that data protection legislation prevents me from talking to them."
If you've been to a fancy school, you might want to signal your education during the interview. A school tie is acceptable. School socks aren't. "All the kids from Eton and Harrow insist on wearing their sports socks under their suits," says one recruiter. "- They look very smart, until you get to the ankles."
"I've interviewed people with such bad body odour that it's made my eyes water," says one recruiter. "I've also interviewed people with an excess of aftershave."
"You get some continental European candidates who want to kiss you," says a recruiter, "I've had people giving me kisses on both cheeks. I've also had people trying to kiss my hand. That's just weird."
"I've had people defining WACC as 'hitting the balance sheet where it hurts'", says another recruiter, "I've also had people saying 'reach around', when they meant 'reaching out."
"I've interviewed people who mentioned the wrong company name," says one MBA recruiter, "I suppose they were interviewing at quite a few different places."
"I had a candidate with a very limp handshake," says one fixed income headhunter. "It was so bad that the bankers who'd interviewed him called me and said he needed to firm-up his handshake before meeting their boss who would judge him on it. I had to have some quite stern words with him - but it didn't work, he stayed limp."
"A lot of more senior people in banking have had a bad experience in the past four years," says the head of one recruitment firm. "There's nothing wrong with being let go - that's acceptable, but I still come across people who say they chose to leave instead of admitting that they were actually made redundant."