How to Structure your Investment Banking Interview Responses

Accelerated recruitment has started across Bay Street in which candidates have begun interviewing for full-time jobs.  From the big 5 to smaller boutiques, interviews have begun in an effort to poach top talent ahead of the traditional recruitment season in September.

Investment banking interviews are stressful, long and not usually fun. However being ultra-prepared can make the process much more bearable. Most students we have been speaking to are frantically cramming for their technical questions and memorizing responses to fit questions. One thing that most students are neglecting is the actual structure of their canned answers. Delivery is everything and a well-organized structure is needed to deliver a first-class answer. You can have all the knowledge in the world and be the smartest candidate, but if you are not able to deliver concise and precise answers during your interview, everything is lost.

We have been mock interviewing numerous candidates in preparation of their interviews and we have been telling them all the same thing, you need structure to your responses.  Structuring your answers makes it easier for the interviewer to identify your answer, it helps you answer the questions adequately and it keeps you from rambling.

So how do you structure your answers to deliver amazing responses to interview questions? Using the following process will help produce solid responses

  1. After the question is asked, take one second, collect your thoughts, understand what you are being asked and identify the key bullet points of your answer in your head before delivering it
  2. Answer the question as simply as possible, providing only the necessary components of a fulsome answer
  3. Use a list whenever possible to make it easy for the interviewer to understand your response
  4. Know how you are going to end your response before you begin

Let’s use this to answer the standard fit question: “Why should we hire you?”

Step 1:

  • Take one second to absorb that this is the standard elevator pitch question

Step 2:

  • Come up with a list: what are the skills you’re going to demonstrate and what examples are you going to use to support your claims
  • You want to get across why you are the best candidate for this job, by connecting your experience to the skills that are considered most valuable in investment banking
  • An example would be:

–   I am the best candidate for this job because

  • My motivation
  • My work ethic
  • My hunger to win

Step 3:

Determine the last line you want to get across in your answer.

Following on our example an appropriate final line would be: “Being an investment banking analyst will not be easy but I am determined to use my motivation, my hunger and work ethic to make an immediate value to the firm.”

  • When delivering your answer keep it clear and concise
  • Don’t deviate from the list you came up with in step 1

Step 4:

  • As soon as you’ve gone through your list move to your pre-canned final line.

Example Answer

What makes me the best candidate for this job is:

  • My motivation
  • My work ethic
  • & My hunger to win

I know nothing great in life comes easy and this is the approach I take to every situation. During my undergrad I strived to be the best. I worked two part-time jobs to pay for school, maintained an A average and played on numerous intramural sport teams. Finding balance was not easy, but to me, success is measured not on grades alone and this is why I pushed myself to make time for team sports and my job. I know that with the right attitude and continuously challenging myself I can accomplish anything. Being an investment banking analyst will not be easy but I am determined to use my motivation, my hunger and work ethic to make an immediate value to the firm.

Good luck to everyone that’s already started interviewing.

Meet you at the top!

Walter White

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