The classic interview: Turn a boring question to the winning
A very common investment banking interview question is :
“Why do you want to work for The Firm?”
As you know, the interviewers have heard hundreds versions of the answer already. Your objective here is not to answer the question “right” but to answer the question “in a likeable way”. It is a simple question that requires a simple answer:
“I like The Firm because it offers the best starting salary for graduates”
Believe me, this answer will appear in everyone’s mind (including both you and your interviewer) when this question is raised. So no need to avoid it, the key here is how you position yourself. There is nothing wrong with the desire for a well-paying job. More than any other professions in the world, bankers are highly money-oriented. Your interviewer, himself, thought about the salary as well when he was in your shoes 10 years ago.
However, to answer well “why this firm” question, don't stop at just giving out the money part! Ask yourself a deeper question:
“Why are you interested in a high salary?”
One of the good answers here is:
“I want to be the best performer in any environment I’m in. And in the business world, money is clearly an indicator of a successful, professional performer”
In this way, you show how ambitious and hungry you are for being a stellar performer (which is absolutely true!), and investment bankers love that. What else?
“I like the firm because it is the leading brand in the investment banking industry, people working there are the best of the best, working with them helps you grow up, develop the winning mindset and map your career path for the rest of my life”
You score it big here by demonstrating that you are a forward looking, ambitious and a people person! One likely follow-up question is:
“Do you know any of us well?”
Well, to be frank, if you don’t, say you don’t. In fact, you don’t have to. What you have to do is show your interest in knowing them.
“I haven’t known anyone well enough to mention here but I would love to, this assessment is a chance for me to know more about your company. I take this as a two-way process. If I luckily get through this round then it proves that my positive impression of your working environment is possibly right”
Once again, keep in mind that you are not in a lower position than your assessor. A good candidate is as valuable to him/her as a good offer is to a candidate. Why lower your position?
Finally, it is necessary to do your homework about “The Firm”. The Extra Mile: Bank-specific Insights gives you full view about each bank’s pride points. Making it utterly easy for you to flatter even the most difficult assessor![/url]
Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:20 am
selina9 Contributing Member
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Thu May 19, 2016 7:23 am
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Generally, this is pretty awful advice. I'm sure there are exceptions with certain people, but for most people hiring you, this is a terrible strategy.
First, being honest about wanting a job because of the pay is a big no no. I have actually tried this approach when wanting a position. Business people don't like the blunt honest approach for the most part. Most of them admire someone who can lawyer their way through questions with crafty sentences that make them sound smart.
Secondly, your assessor is in a higher position than you. He's hiring you, you are not hiring him. Having the attitude of being equal will make him eventually feel threatened and he'll get rid of you. Why would he want to hire someone that he views as his equal? When the next promotion comes around he's going to want to be the one to get it. He isn't going to want to deal with someone who thinks he's equal and try to undermine his authority. Is it an ego thing? Yes. People are people and most care about their ego. Especially in the corporate world.
Your final point I agree with. Doing research about the firm can only help you.
I'm happy that this may have worked for you, but I believe if you were to repeat this strategy it would fail drastically.