3 Reasons Why Good Candidate Fail Investment Banking Interview

Investment banking interviews aren’t a bed of roses. They’re extremely challenging. Therefore, you’ll need to prepare adequately for the interview. This position is very competitive and the vacancies are always less than the number of candidates. However, some candidates have been able to sail through the process and qualify for the position. The majority are unsuccessful. They fail because of making unnecessary mistakes and assumptions. In the long-run, it cost them because they miss out on the job. Therefore, you should be determined to stand out amongst others to make it.

Major Reasons For Failing Investment Banking Interviews

These include but aren’t limited to the following:

1. Failure To Do Adequate Research

It’s very important to do thorough research about the bank, its operations, the vision and mission, the panel involved during the recruitment process, frequently asked questions among other key details. These are very vital information. Hence, you should have it all on your fingertips. It’s very unfortunate when you’re asked about a common question and you fail to answer appropriately. It indicates a lack of seriousness. This will signal a bad report about you to the panel.

Above that, it also shows your lack of interest in working for the bank. This is because an interested candidate will do extensive research and will have adequate knowledge. This will help the candidate perform better, unlike their counterparts who ignored such information.

2. Lateness

Turning up late for an interview is suicidal. It’s completely wrong and should be avoided at all cost. No excuses should be made for lateness. Lateness will make the panelist judge you instantly. You can automatically be disqualified for the interview. And no reverse decision can be made about this.

It even makes work easier for them by eliminating you early. This is because of the several candidates awaiting the interview. Hence, they’ll find a loophole to save them time and work since the whole interview process is quite laborious.

This has cost many people who could have qualified for the position. But they were simply eliminated due to turning up late. It also signals that you’ll be turning up late for work. No serious employer would want to employ such kind of workers. This is because they’ll drag even the performance of the bank due to their sluggishness.

3. Your Body Language

Your body language talks so much about yourself. The nonverbal cues will always affirm whether you’re speaking the truth or lying. The panel will be very keen on these so that they’ll be able to eliminate the unsuccessful candidates from the entire team.

Therefore, you should be on the look-out. Don’t be shy when answering the questions. Maintain eye contact with the panelist and be audible enough. This will show that you’re sure about what you’re talking about.

Above that, avoid fidgeting at all. This is quite dangerous since it can make you panic for no good reason. Be confident about yourself and believe that you will make it till the end. And surely, you will.


The above three reasons top the list of why good candidates fail in investment banking interviews. Therefore, they should be reviewed and taken seriously. They’re very useful tips especially for the recent graduates interviewing for these entry-level positions. This is because they’ll avoid them when they’re aware of about them in advance.

What are the Common Questions for Investment Banking Interviews?

Before going to an investment banking interview, it would be important to be prepared. Better research on what the interviewer will ask so you will know what to answer. If the interviewer asks something and you are suddenly speechless, that will lead to your downfall. It would be useless to stall time and say “uhh..” for a few seconds. Here are some common investment banking interview questions to keep in mind:

What is the formula for the cost of equity?

It is one of the most common questions in interviews for an investment banking position. However, a lot of people still get this wrong no matter how simple it is. There is actually a few formulas and all of them are correct.

Is the cost of debt higher than the cost of equity?

This is one of those trick questions that you should not answer immediately. Better give it a few thoughts before giving a smart answer. No matter how you look at the two costs, the cost of equity will always come out higher. The interviewer will give you a strange look if you answer the cost of debt is higher. For more in-depth info about investment banking interviews, check out Wall Street Mastermind.

What is your perception of a company with poor cash flow?

The immediate answer here would be the company is not doing good. Better do better than that and tell the interviewer what type of approach would be necessary. Remember, an investment banker would answer the question differently from a normal person.

For a revenue multiple, what is normally the numerator?

The purpose of this question is for the interviewer to find out whether you know the difference between enterprise value and equity value. If you know the difference between the two values, you will most likely realize the answer to the question is enterprise value. Of course, it will be the other one if you’re not familiar with the difference.

Can you tell me something about yourself that’s not in your CV?

This is one of those common questions that is not only asked in investment banking interviews but in other interviews too. The interviewer wants to know your background more. This is not the time to tell her that you like watching comedy movies and playing football. Those are not related to the job you’re currently applying. Better tell her things that will lead to you getting accepted for the job.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This is a question that looks like a trick question but it is not. Better answer it with all your honesty. Of course, be careful to not say too much in the weakness category or you’ll end up putting down yourself.

All the above questions may look hard at first. However, they’re all asked in investment banking interviews. Thus, better master them so you will move on to the final interview for the job.