All or Nothing: My Journey through IBanking Recruitment – Tales from the Pit Episode I Part 2

As previously posted.

This is a continuation of a previous post. See the first part of the story here.

Next up was National. We had an alumnus from our program there that that was eager to hire more of us, so something like 8 people from my class were interviewing with them (totally crazy for a class of only 25). These interviews were actually held in our home building on campus, so it was almost like being interviewed in your living room at home. We all hung out there anyway, so for a few hours there was always one of us in the room, one of us waiting and a few more of us in the vicinity studying, chatting and going to class.

This one went a little better. It was much more laid back, with a greater focus on fit style questions. I got a good vibe from the whole experience, liked the guys that I met with and generally thought that it would be a good place to work. My interview lasted about 30 minutes, as did pretty much everyone else’s. The exception was the last guy to go. His interview lasted over an hour! The rest of us couldn’t believe it. We were sure he was going to get an offer… why else would they sit and talk to him for so long?

A week later it turns out we were right. The last guy did get an offer (his name happens to be Josh Emberson, my partner at BBS) and I got a call saying that I had done well, but could probably use a little work on my technicals. Disappointed, I sucked it up and prepped for the next on the list, Scotia.

The Scotia guys were both pretty personable and the interview bounced back and forth between technical and fit questions. This time around, I left feeling victorious. In my view, I had rocked the interview. I felt like I made a great connection with the interviewers and I was all over the technical questions they asked. I had to wait a bit to find out if I would be invited to the 2nd round, but in the meantime, I had my BMO interview.

BMO at the time had an interesting strategy with regards to the structure of its recruitment process. Many banks had a formal dinner and drinks event that coincided with 2nd round interviews, but BMO flipped the concept around in a couple of ways. First off, the dinner came first, there was no formal 1st round interview at all. If they liked your resume, you would get invited to the dinner. Second, the dinner was an interview; in other words if your dinner performance was subpar, you would not be invited to the next round for a formal interview.

The whole concept blew my mind when I found out about it. I’m a social guy, so I was convinced that this was going to be the perfect event for me. Eat dinner and talk to people? I’m going to rock this one! I wasn’t shy to share my enthusiasm with my friends, to the point that when the event finally came along I was actually worried that I had built myself up too much. If I failed at eating dinner, it was going to be a serious blow to my ego.

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