7.11.2005

Q&A: I had nailed every question...

...still they decided not to extend me an offer. What could possibly go wrong?

If you scored high on the questions (as you thought you did), my guess is you probably didn't 'click' with the interviewers.

A good interview is a one-two punch of "hard" test and "soft" test. The "hard" test refer to technical questions that are designed to see if you are competent and it is the easy part of the interview if you know the subjects well (ie. interest rates, mortgage backed securities, etc)

The "soft" test is a bit tricky. These are not really questions because an interviewer rarely voices them - s/he keeps these questions in the head, and derive the answers from your answers to the technical questions and from the way you carry yourself through out the interview, starting from the moment you walked through the door. Can you speak the non-technical language to a customer? How would you react in a stressful environment? Some would even have you meet with traders, bankers, and other project stakeholders. The "soft" test is also known in the consulting industry as the "airport" test: if you and the interviewer are on a business trip together, can he stand being stuck with you in an airport for several hours, or would he rather kill himself?

It's not uncommon to see people prepared to "take" the first punch, but not prepared for a followup punch (like a regular boxer). And that's what make the first punch so deadly: it's also designed to fix the attension of the interviewee, so s/he would more likely to reveal his/her true self (when the followup punch comes).

Category: C++ Quant > Land the Job You Want

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