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What NOT to say when asked why you want this job

The questions asked in investment banking interviews are evidently varied. However, whether you’re interviewing as a rates structurer or an investment banking security guard, you will always be asked this: “Why do you want this job?”

And if you give any of the answers below, you are unlikely to get it.

1) I really love this company, I’d really, really love to come and work for you.

“You need to be very careful that you don’t come across as being too cheesy,” says Andrew Pullman, a former head of banking HR turned managing director of consultancy firm People Risk Solutions. “A lot of people will gush about how it’s the sort of company they think they can thrive in, but it’s not about the company – it’s about the role.”


You need to be as specific as possible. “Look at the job description, look at the company’s website, and look at the brief from the headhunter,” says Linda Jackson, managing director of the City practice at career counselling service Fairplace. “You need to make your skills as pertinent as possible to the role you’re interviewing for,” she adds. “Don’t be generic.”

2) I am not appreciated in my current role; I really need to get out

“People sometimes fall into the trap of talking negatively about the role they’re trying to get away from,” says Dr. Rob Yeung at leadership consultancy Talentspace. “You want to avoid this as it will raise questions about your performance in the new role.”


It may just about be acceptable to talk about a personality clash with a boss, says Pullman, but you are better off focusing on the pull factors of the new job rather than the push factors of your old one. “You can say that you feel you have done as much as you can in the role you’re in and the new role is appealing for these specific reasons,” he says.

3) I’m looking to increase my compensation. This (new) job pays really, really well

If you mention money you will look greedy, says Yeung. “It always goes down badly to talk about pay and benefits in response to this question,” he advises.


Talk about the challenges of the new role. “You should always talk about the challenges of the work, the positive aspects that draw you to it,” Yeung suggests.

“You can say that the new role develops you further from what you’re doing at the moment, in terms of X, Y and Z” says Pullman. “The most important thing is to be yourself, and to be real about why you’re going for the job,” he advises.

Comments (29)

  1. Sarah,

    Excellent article.
    Though I think it requires a point 4.)

    Most importantly and one I am often guilty of myself:
    4.) Don’t forget your trousers in the interview

  2. 5). Because nothing better has turned up.

    6) Its close to my house

  3. 7) Because the bank will foreclose on my house if I don’t get a job soon

  4. 7) because i also default on my credit many times so we both are made for each other

    8) also am a good and smart .. i can make good money to your clients by inflating things my role model is mr jerome kerivel

  5. 9) I need this job to meet the terms of my bail

  6. 9) Chicks will dig it…

  7. 10) Because my ex wife is sucking the blood outta me and I need a job!

  8. 11) because the only experience i have is in CDOs

  9. 11) Coz no other firm wants to hire me.

  10. 10) I’m just looking for a place to hide out for a few months until the heat is off.

  11. 11) I heard you have a secret santa thing going on

  12. Stop asking such silly questions.

  13. i have been tempted with “because I need a job and word on the street is no one wants to come here”!

    Anotherexbanker Reply
  14. 13) the headhunter is a good friend so i would like to earn him some commission!

  15. because there is a mcdonalds next door

  16. A lot of these are obvious tbh, and youd have to be retarded to say any of these in an interview.

  17. 11) I have been turned down every where else………………

  18. I hear you encourage family and quality of life..

  19. Why wouldn’t I want the Job?

  20. Interviews are a rubbish way of choosing between candidates; somewhere between coin flipping and nepotism. Research shows the decision is made in the first couple of minutes of the meeting. Everything else is garnish. Psychometric testing is more reliable and less likely to end up selecting gob$hites (of which the city has too many).

  21. Just because I saw your advertisement in the news paper!

  22. 12) I hear it’s really easy to get a job here

  23. I think that its really important but actually it depends on the country you are applying for, I mean the place where you are being inteviewed.

  24. I love the comments on this site :-)

  25. Just did a days volunteering at a local school with work where we did mock job interviews. The real answers were hillarious. Samples below:
    “’cause I need a job.”
    ‘”it’s near my house.”
    “I need the money.”
    I also asked if they would be willing to work late to meet a deadline.
    Most responded well but one boy said “No I wouldnt like to do that.” I’d have given him a job for his honesty.

  26. Because the leprechaun in my wardrobe told me not to come home without a job.

    Because me an ma homies are going legit.

  27. a friend of mine told me that the work here is easy.

  28. 99) because you look really nice, m’am, and I look fwd to us getting to know each other

  29. YMMD with that anewsr! TX

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