The worst Wall Street interview questions of 2018

eFC logo

For the most part, if you’re going through the recruitment funnel at a Wall Street bank, then you’ll be doing job interviews with highly intelligent, competent professionals. However, for internships, summer analyst positions and entry-level roles, you’ll sometimes have juniors conducting interviews without much experience sitting on that side of the table. And even experienced hiring managers, HR executives and recruiters asks questions that are unoriginal, stale, off-the-mark or just plain duds.

These are arguably the worst questions asked during Wall Street banking interviews so far this year selected from the ones that candidates have shared on Glassdoor.

Goldman Sachs

A strats candidate who had already passed the HackerRank test and video interview said a Goldman interviewer asked him the following question: “How do you write a function that takes the square root of a number without using any built-in exponential function?”

An aspiring associate-level programmer was asked to reverse all the vowels in a string.

A legal analyst was told, “Tell us about a time you failed.”

J.P. Morgan

Talk about a softball, a J.P. Morgan interviewer asked a prospective intern, “Why are you interested?” Flattery will get you everywhere.

A prospective IB analyst was asked to “describe what our business does.”

A technical systems analyst, who received an offer but declined it, said he was asked “How did you get your green card?” and “What is your work permit called, H1B? OPT? Is there a code on it?”

A quantitative associate revealed the following interview question: “P(cancer|positive result) given several probabilities.” Your guess is as good as ours.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

A Bank of America Merrill Lynch interviewer asked a student gunning for an IB analyst position a series of rapid-fire questions: “Tell me about yourself. Why do you want to do investment banking? Why do you want to work at Bank of America? What have you done to show you are capable of handling the hours and responsibility?”

A prospective equity research summer analyst was asked, “Which asset class would you have most of your money in?”

A senior Java developer who failed to get an offer was told to “sort an array with all even numbers followed by all odd numbers” and “print the length of the maximum valid string of parentheses.”

A sales and trading candidate was asked, “Tell me what's going in the markets; give me a stock pitch; what’s happening with interest rates? and tell me about Trump's pick for the new Fed chair.”

A summer technology analyst was asked, “What’s a risk you’ve taken? A difficult project you completed?” Another was asked, “What are inheritance and polymorphism?”

Morgan Stanley

A quant was asked, “If B1 = 1, B0 = 0, what is E(B0.5)?”

A prospective internal auditor was asked, “Why Morgan Stanley? How do you manage your time? Why internal audit?”

A student was asked, “Which groups are MS's top revenue-generators, and what percent? How does 10% depreciation flow through the statements? What are four ways to value a company? How does valuing a financial institution differ from valuing a typical company?”

A Java developer was asked, “How does HashMap work in Java? What is dependency injection? Login to the problem: Count the occurrences of numbers in an array.”

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact:

Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by actual human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t).

Photo credit: Ildo Frazao/GettyImages

Related articles