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Real-life interview questions asked of current Goldman Sachs employees

Goldman Sachs has dedicated significant time and manpower to improving its recruiting efforts since the economic crisis. Part of that was the launch of its new career site, which includes upwards of 70 employee profiles, used primarily to introduce potential candidates to different units within the firm.

While most of profiles don’t provide anything terribly illuminating, a few Goldman employees slipped in a specific question or two that they were actually asked in interviews. Some are common behavioral questions; others are a bit more unique. It’s probably best to brush up on these before any banking interview.

  • When in life would you be satisfied? (Operations)
  • What are your greatest weaknesses? (Operations)
  • Predict whether the US stock markets will open up or down in the next 30 minutes. (Investment banking)
  • Estimate the value of the tie industry in the UK. (Investment banking)
  • What are your best skills? Why would they be applicable? (Investment banking)
  • Discuss a deal you have read about recently. (Investment banking)
  • Who is the most famous and influential person you would like to meet and why? (Investment banking)
  • “I wrote a thesis in my senior year about the mathematics of knots. One of my interviewers, seeing this on my resume, asked me a very difficult question about the co-homology of knot groups.” (Investment banking – and a good example of why you need to know your resume cold).
  • Why Goldman Sachs? (Investment banking)
  • When you heat a sausage in the microwave, the tear is always lengthwise. Why is that? (Securities)
  • How could you set up a recursive function so that a really smart language / compiler could evaluate the function and never run out of memory? (Securities)


Some other interesting nuggets contained in the profiles detail Goldman’s interview process, which is known to be one of the most exhausting in the industry. Indeed it is. One current employee on the Real Estate Investment Banking team unit said he had 18 interviews with Goldman before being offered a job. Another in asset management said he interviewed with more than 20 people before finally sealing the deal. A woman who works in operations said her interview process with Goldman took nine full months.

Working at Goldman requires plenty of endurance. Interviewing there does too.


The ideal background for working at Goldman Sachs

How to build the perfect resume for Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan

How to get a wealth management job at Goldman Sachs

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • Gt
    1 May 2014

    The question is an indicator of your ability to solve problems that fall outside the norm and require thinking around the most obvious answer. The question you pose could be answered by a computer - Goldman clearly wants an element of creativity. Check out Daniel Pink on Ted talks or the candle problem.

  • ny
    30 April 2014

    This is why the financial industry is in the shape that it is in. When you heat a sausage in the microwave, the tear is always lengthwise? If I was asked that question, I believe I would be looking around for cameras. How about asking questions regarding to the position that you are interviewing for. When in life would you be satisfied? How about, if a client allocated a trade into 100 funds on global Oasys, what would the average pips be for that specific client. My god, what has the financial community become.

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