Commitment Interview Questions & Suggested Answers
"Commitment Questions" are tricky to answer, because the tendency is to come across either as too unrealistic or too uncertain. If you're interviewing for an Analyst position, you don't want to say you're 100% certain you'll be a banker for life - but you should say it's what you're most interested in doing, and that you do have plans to stay in finance or business. MBAs will need to show more commitment and assure the interviewer they are serious about making a career out of it. Common questions on this topic include where else you're interviewing, why you've switched careers in the past and testing the old "Why banking?" question again in slightly different forms, just to make absolutely certain you're committed.
1. Where else are you interviewing? Is it just banking? Consulting? Other companies?
Just banking. You're not interested in consulting / other options and don't want to waste recruiters' time.
You need to say this even if you're so uncertain that you're deciding between opening a zebra ranch, going on a spiritual journey to Nepal, going back to McKinsey or starting a laundromat with your roommate's uncle.
2. Are you mostly interviewing at larger banks like us? What kinds of options within banking are you considering?
Mostly larger banks, but you have received some interest from other places so you're looking at a couple options. If you can mention specific names, that makes your answer even better.
If you're interviewing in a group like M&A or Healthcare, talk about how you're mostly speaking with similar groups to show you're serious about that one area.
3. Before you entered business school, I see you switched jobs about once a year. How do I know that you're here to stay for the long-term?
Although you switched jobs pre-MBA, it's quite common to move when better opportunity arises. However, you've done a lot of research, spoken with friends, alumni and other connections and are certain banking is for you after doing your own due diligence. You've actually looked into other career options and nothing is as attractive to you as banking.
4. Recently some Analysts and Associates have left "early" and jumped to hedge funds or private equity. If the opportunity comes up, why would you stay here instead?
You looked into investing but realized you don't like the nature of the work - there's too much due diligence and "looking at deals" rather than taking action and actually doing deals. As a result, after all your research speaking with alumni and other connections, you're set on banking.
5. Tell me about a time when you failed to honor a commitment.
The key with this type of question is to bring up a "failure" briefly and then to spend most of your time talking about what you've learned from it and how you've improved rather than dwelling on the failure itself.
6. If I gave you an offer right now on the spot would you take it?
"Yes, show me the dotted line and I'd sign it right now."
Even if this is a lie, you still have to say it in an interview or you won't get an offer.
7. Let's say that we were to give you an offer - how long would you need to decide whether or not to accept it?
"Show it to me and I'll sign and accept it right now."
Some people think this is "unethical" if you're really not certain, but keep in mind that until you've signed something in writing you can do whatever you want.
No, they won't like you if you verbally accept and then renege, but it's not the end of the world - just the end of your relationship with that bank.
- prepared by breakingintowallstreet.com and mergersandinquisitions.com