Failsafe Interviewing Techniques for Investment Bankers

Monday, July 16, 2007

Failsafe Interviewing Techniques for Investment Bankers

Theres a great deal of paranoia when an analyst goes for interviews. This stems from a combination of the fact that ibanks promote a misplaced sense of loyalty to the bank you work for (lets face it, this is not a word that is in an ibankers vocabulary) and the fact that jobs open up and thus interviews happen shortly before bonus time, and no analyst wants to ruin their bonus by being seen as jumping ship (in which case they automatically drop to bottom bucket).

The first interviews are the toughest to deal with. Excuses like dentist, doctor, registered home delivery, plumber, electrician etc are common, and whilst they do arouse some suspicion, they are very plausible things that can happen to everyone.

The difficulty is in coming up with a credible excuse or rather, a set of excuses, when you need to do follow on interviews in a short period of time. Lets face it, three doctors appointments, two visits to the dentist and a broken boiler, fridge and blocked sink in the course of the two week period for you to meet every single member of the team at Goldman who is looking to hire you, is not an option.

Analysts, being the masters of bullshit that they have been trained by their bank to become, have through time developed more elaborate and effective tactics to avoid detection. So here are a few gems for your next interview. Enjoy.

a) Complain about back pains from sitting in front of a pc all day. Ibanks are paranoid about law suits of this kind and will immediately bring in a guy to replace your chair with a more comfy one and adjust the height of your desk so you feel just fine. Keep complaining and you get HR to pay for chiropractist sessions and not only that, but stress to the staffer that this is something he needs to let you take a few times a week. Bingo, you’ve secured yourself the ibanking equivalent of a hall pass.

b) Take up smoking, and go for regular cigarette breaks. Once you have developed a reputation for being away from your desk for the 20 minutes it takes to go down, light up and come back on a regular basis, when you disappear for 40 minutes to grab a quick meeting with a headhunter or interview, everyone will simply assume you are treating yourself to a ciggie and coffee.

c) Another benefit of taking up smoking is that you can catch bad colds when smoking late at night in the cold. Once said cold is established, you get up to two days to do interviews – yes, maybe with a bit of a runny nose, but it works.

d) In their second and third year, what is known as ‘managing analyst syndrome’ kicks in. This is when an analyst has illusions about being something in the banks and starts wearing a suit to work instead of a shirt and chinos. Whilst laughable, this attitude is a perfect smokescreen for going to interviews undetected – when you show up in a suit day after day, it will be much tougher to spot that youre interviewing (and thus wearing a suit) as this will be blamed on ‘managing analyst syndrome’.

For the less proficient interviewees, unexplained (or badly explained) absences, showing up in your best suit and you don’t have a meeting that day, smiling (ok, smiling on a regular basis) are all very good ways to spot a first time interviewee / leaver, so beware.

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