6 Interview Questions Designed to Make You Blank Out

by Vault Careers | February 21, 2013

Business Insider posted a list of 13 popular Wall Street Interview questions specially designed to make job seekers "stutter."

Ranging from trick questions to brain teasers to out-of-left-fielders, we selected a few of the toughest queries—along with guidelines for preparing a response.

Put your thinking caps on!

1. "If I gave you an offer that lasted for the next 30 seconds, would you take it?"

As BI notes, this one's all about your "follow up": the interviewer wants to see you ask smart questions to help you get to the heart of the situation quickly.

If you get a question like this, feel free to take a moment to gather your thoughts and think of few key bits of information you'll need—remembering that the interviewer will be taking note of what you show your values to be.

2. Do you view this as your dream career?

The trick to this one is demonstrating 1. Your knowledge of what the field, position, and career path entails, 2. Your knowledge of your own aptitudes and personality, and 3. Your enthusiasm—but not naiveté. It's a tightrope walk of a question.

3. Explain a time you bought something cheap.

This is another "value" question, so choose a story that will demonstrate your critical thinking skills, as well as your ability to assess and evaluate worth. If you're interviewing for a job in which you'll make financial decisions or tradeoffs, you'll have to show rock solid appraisal skills.

4. "What movie character do you think you are?"

This is tricky because of all the moving parts. You should choose a film in line with company culture, but also a character that embodies your selling points as a job candidate. Be careful to keep it positive, and think your first idea all the way through. Just because you immediately associate Gordon Gekko with big banks doesn't mean you should say so.

5. What do you do when you've really screwed up?

The full question is as follows, but obviously, there will be variations from interview to interview: "You, the new guy, get tasked with bringing 3 copies of a deck to a client meeting. Being the forgetful dunce you are, you drive to the meeting place only to realize you forgot to pack that in the car. Meeting's in 5 minutes, you've got no time to jet back. What do you tell your MD?"

Again, this is about critical thinking, but with a time crunch. The interviewer wants to see how you'll handle the inevitable setbacks. By apologizing profusely? By finding a Kinkos and getting to the meeting late? By distracting the MD with terrific performance in another area, or a new suggestion for the presentation that doesn't require the copies after all?

Remember that this is about demonstrating what your priorities are: is it more important to come prepared, or be on time? Answer with consideration to factors that the company would consider most important.

6. "Who's the worst CEO you can think of?"

Yikes. Be careful when it comes to naming names. If you're ever asked to badmouth, stick to celebrities and not a former boss, and be quick to follow up your disapproval with specific—not personal—reasons. (Your interviewer doesn't care if you hate Richard Branson's hair). Bring the focus back to your ideas about how business should run by contrasting them with your disapproval.

--Cathy Vandewater, Vault.com

Read More:
13 Wall Street Interview Questions That Make People Stutter (Business Insider)
Is an M.B.A. Worth It?
What Is a Digital Resume—and Do You Need One?

Filed Under: Finance | Interviewing | Job Search


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