How to Nail the Interview of Big Four and Investment Banks – Part 1

To many finance professionals, it is a dream to work in Big Four and Investment banks. Therefore, Interviews of them are the most difficult and the most important with regard to whether you have been successfully recruited. However, it is always better to prepare ahead and get a general picture of the whole process, in case of nervous shaking legs.

Big Four



  • ¨Behavior¨ questions: ¨Tell Me a Time When You… ¨

The interview process is very structured in Big Four, and the most important ones are ¨behavior¨ questions, which always start like ¨Tell me a time when you …¨ (e.g. when you work in a team, when you demonstrate leadership, when you prioritize tasks, etc.)

It is very easy to answer ¨behavior¨ questions if you prepare ahead and the only thing you need to do is be a good story-teller. Normally it would be better to prepare 5-6 stories which could be used in various situations, like teamwork, leadership, when facing difficulties, etc.

Every story should not last more than 3 minutes in order to make them clear and simple. When preparing, candidates could develop your stories with ¨STAR¨ principles – situation, task, action, result – which is frequently used by HR. It could be helpful to write down the story and revise them several times, but never try to memorize every single word because no one would appreciate a robot speech. When in the real interview, it is important to emphasize and pause rather than talk fast because the interviewer would appreciate not only your professional skill but also your passion in career.

  • Prioritized Questions

Another highly frequent question is ¨prioritized questions¨, for example, what are you going to do if the partner, manager, and senior give you work at the same time. Big Four value more in teamwork spirit, so that it won´t be a good answer if, for example, you try to finish all of the tasks one by one yourself. The ideal answer should emphasize in ¨communication¨, for example, tell the senior ¨I am working on the task A right now, which is for a key account in 5 hours, and would it possible to help you tomorrow?¨ Because in the real work of 4 Bigs, it is impossible to handle all workload by yourself and therefore, and ensure your colleague understand exactly what you are doing and ask for help when necessary.

(To be Continued for interview tips of investment banks… )

Edited by Simeng Zhang

The Team

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