X

What to expect in an interview in a private equity company

The easiest way to the private equity firm leads through a connection in a company, a personal referral, or a headhunter who picks you for the job.

You will still have to pass an interview with a branch director, but you won’t compete with other applicants. Such an interview is only about demonstrating your experience in the field (with the help of your resume and projects you worked on before), and about building a good connection with the decision maker.

But private equity firms do actually advertise some job openings (not every company can afford to use the services of a headhunter) , and you can get a job with them in a traditional way–applying online and passing the interview process.

The interviews will typically consists in a few rounds. A phone interview with an HR person from the company (or a recruitment agency that does the initial screening), a face to face meeting with one of the senior associates (or the HR manager, if the branch employs one), and a final meeting with a director (often accompanied by an HR person, and some senior associates).

Below you will find a list of common questions for these interviews (all three rounds).

15 questions you may deal with in an interview in a private equity company (for an analyst or junior associate position)

  • Why do you want to work for us, and not another private equity firm?
  • What do you know about our activities, and our clients?
  • Tell me about your most successful investment experience.
  • Tell us about your biggest professional failure.
  • What would motivate you in this job?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
  • Where do you see the markets heading?
  • Here are profiles of three startup companies. Have a look at each profile and tell us in which company would you invest.
  • Have a look at this company, what they achieved in recent years. If we were to invest in them, what strategy would you suggest?
  • Here is a balance sheet and a cash flow statement of one company, for the last ten years. Have a look at the numbers and tell us your predictions. Would you suggest investing in the company?
  • If I gave you one million right now, where would you invest the money?
  • Describe a situation when you had a conflict with one of your colleagues. How did you solve the conflict?
  • Describe a situation when you had to make a difficult decision in your professional life.
  • Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or to a customer. How did you manage to get your message over?
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants?

 

A tough nut to crack

Unless they approach you directly, it is tough to ace this interview and get a job. Our short selection of questions should help you to understand what to expect, in terms of personal, behavioral, and technical questions, including the short case studies.

If you feel that you’d struggle with some of the questions, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Thank you.