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.