Applications for bank internship and graduates programmes opened a while ago and successful students are already completing psychometric tests and digital interviews.
Students who've applied to JPMorgan, for example, say they've already been through the bank’s game-based Pymetrics tests, and have answered questions in Hirevue, the digital interview system now used by most banks as a de facto first-round interview.
It’s hard to prepare for Pymetrics, a platform that measures cognitive, social and behavioural attributes. The Pymetrics games are designed to be fun and simple, and should take no longer than 25-35 minutes to complete.
Advanced mathematical ability isn't required for the tests, although they are set under intense time pressure. The tests require candidates to perform basic calculations, interpret information contained in tables, charts and graphs; use percentages, ratios, fractions and logical thinking, as well as to perform calculations and reasoning using time and dates.
JPM only allows you one go at each of its 12 two-three minute Pymetrics games because it says the results "are usually accurate the first time." You'll get a "personalized trait report" at the end of it, and if you don't like the traits ascribed to you, you'll have to wait a full 330 days before you can play again. (By which time your traits might presumably have changed.)
Hirevue questions are easier to prepare for as they generated from a batch of 100 to 150 questions. Chatrooms are alive with students trying to trade or even buy this year's bank-specific Hirevue questions, although beware spoofers looking to throw you off the scent.
It’s hard to get an exhaustive list of this year's Hirevue questions. However, we do have some of the questions people say they were asked this year during Hirevue interviews at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs. Let us know if you have any questions of your own to add using the comments box at the bottom of this article.
Hirevue has developed a complicated algorithm built around machine learning, which uses natural language processing (NLP) to analyze candidates' answers to competency based interview questions. Answers are then compared to those given by experts. "A bad answer might be simply, 'I like to work as a team.' A good answer will go into a lot more detail," Hirevue's chief data scientist, Dr. Lindsey Zuloaga told us earlier this year.
Being interrogated by an algorithm may sound unsettling but it’s actually intended to be fairer because it enables banks to interview a broader and more diverse field of candidates and removes personal bias that can creep into one-on-one interviews.
If you're completing a Hirevue interview with Goldman Sachs, you can probably expect five or six questions. According to guidance on a recruitment video from Goldman, you will be asked ‘several general behavioural questions then a question that relates to the role or roles you’ve applied for’. Around 80% of the questions will be either behavioural or situational (ie. asking what you'd do in particular situations). The other 20% will be division-specific, which can be confusing if you've applied to multiple GS divisions as it's not always clear which one has issued the interview. If you applied to multiple Goldman Sachs divisions and this is your first Hirevue, you could expect division specific questions on those too. In other words, Hirevue is mainly about you and your experience, with a smattering of technical questions.
Candidates who've sat the test say that there are about three or four ‘sub’ questions for each behavioural question – known as ‘multi-step behaviorals’ in the jargon. Some candidates have complained that this approach makes it hard to plan and organize thoughts.
You'll get 30 seconds to prepare each answer and two minutes to speak to the camera. There are no second chances. If you don't get to the point, you'll run out of time. Equally, you don’t need to use the full response time available to answer the question (Although answering a question quickly does not buy you more time for the next one).
The emphasis on behavioural questions is intended as a way to engage you in a conversation.
The whole thing will be over in around 30 minutes and if you're successful, you should hear back within two weeks and be invited to one of the bank’s ‘superdays’ where you meet executives face-to-face and expect a 30-minute technical grilling.
At JPMorgan, by comparison, the Hirevue interview consists of between five to seven questions with a bit longer (around three minutes) allocated to each question and 30 seconds of preparation time. As with the Goldman Hirevue, there is no option to pause or re-record. It’s recommended that you use the Chrome Browser to avoid technical issues.
When you're attending a Hirevue interview with a bank, you may be asked a combination of competency, motivational, technical or commercial awareness questions. It’s worth doing some research on the firm and division you are looking to work in. It doesn’t need to be exhaustive, but do go beyond a cursory Google search.
Below is a list of questions that candidates say have turned up on 2021 Hirevues. Expect some variation and do your homework on some of 2020s big themes such as diversity and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. It’s best to use the questions below as a guide to the sort of preparation you need to do. Focus more on expressing yourself concisely and honestly – these tests are big on verbal clarity and are generally intended as a way to get to know more about you.
Goldman Sachs' Hirevue interview questions*
Goldman’s Hirevue structure changes slightly each year making it harder to predict what questions will arise. But here are examples of questions that have arisen during this and previous years.
Why do you want to work for Goldman Sachs and what makes you suitable?
What do we do here at Goldman Sachs?
What do you think that our bank does differently than other firms?
What is your understanding of the IBD division (or Markets division) and the analyst role?
How does your background and experience relate to this division?
Walk me through your resume.
What’s a recent deal you’ve followed?
Are you a leader or a team member and why?
Talk about how you would integrate a new teammate?
What do you do outside of the office?
How would you describe your work ethic?
What are you passionate about?
What leadership experience or extracurricular activity on your resume is most important to you and why?
Tell me about a time your values were put in a tough spot at work?
Tell me about a time when you had to work with an underperforming teammate.
What are the key personality traits that make a good Investment Banker (for IBD)?
Can you give a time when you have had to overcome something difficult?
Are you a team leader or a team member?
Tell us about a time you acted as a team leader?
How does your experience and background apply to this division?
What are the markets doing right now?
Why would a liquidation model be relevant right now?
Walk me through a time you persisted through a challenge.
Tell me about a transaction that you've been following recently.
You see a friend cheating in an exam what do you do?
You want to take on a new research project but it will be demanding what do you do?
You have a deadline but are missing information. what do you do?
Talk about about a time you had to deal with a bad teammate.
How do you follow authority and if you would listen or act against a questionable command?
Which major asset class do you follow and how have they performed lately?
What efforts do you make to stay on top of the markets on a regular basis?
Tell us about a project you’re proud of.
Tell me about a time when you made a connection with a person from a different background.
Is there anything else you’d like to let us know?
J.P. Morgan Hirevue interview questions*:
Why this role?
Why are you looking for a new role?
Which skills did you gain during your internship that will make you a good fit for this role?
What are the areas where you need to improve?
Tell us about a unique leadership experience of yours?
What current event interests you?
How will you use your background and skills to succeed in this role
Why are you a good fit for this position?
Which skills did you gain during your internship or past investment banking experience that will make you a good fit for this role?
What are the greatest challenges that the financial sector will face in the next five years?
What skillset do you think will help you succeed at this job?
Explain a time when you had a difficult situation and how you worked to overcome it?
What’s a time when you saw something wrong in a team/project/activity you were doing?
How are the three financial statements linked? (Asked in IBD interviews)
What are the benefits of raising equity and what are the benefits of raising debt? (Asked in IBD interviews)
Provide an example of a time when you assessed a problem and understood its root causes. How did you analyze the information?
What would you do if you were unable to meet a deadline?
Which is better: meeting a deadline or doing a perfect job?
What skill sets do you think will help you exceed at this job?
JPMorgan has a diverse group of people. Explain a time how you worked with a diverse group of people and explain your experience.
Explain a time you had a difficult situation and what you did to overcome it?
What's a time you saw something wrong in a team/project/activity you were doing?
What interests you about current affairs now? Why?
What are the benefits of raising equity and what are the benefits of raising debt?
Describe a time when you have been able to demonstrate flexibility?
Can you talk about your experience of changing your approach quickly to achieve a goal?
Talk about a recent market news headline in detail.
Where is the economy going in the next six months?
Why are you interested in sales (sales and trading specific).
Name a time you convinced someone to do something.
Tell me about a time where you were a presented with a challenge. How did you work through it?
Can you tell us about a time you had to resolve a conflict at work? How did you achieve that? What happened?
Can you tell us about a time you worked in a team to solve a problem?
Tell me about a time you were able to keep a friendly demeanour with someone who was upset or angry. Describe the situation, your actions, and the outcome.
Tell me about a time you tried to sell a customer, teammate, or someone else on an idea, product, or service. Describe the situation, your actions, and the outcome.
Tell me about a time that you used technology to make a decision.
Why did you choose your major/degree subject, and do you think you made the right decision?
Tell me about a time that you had to make a quick decision without full information.
*Questions that appeared in Hirevue interviews according to discussions on Wall Street Oasis and Glassdoor.
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