Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a global leader in the investment banking, securities and investment management field. Many Fortune 500 companies use their services. Without a doubt, it is a dream place of work for many people with background in investment banking, or in management.
To have any chance of getting a job with Goldman Sachs, you have to pass several rounds of interviews, answering screening, behavioral and technical (job-specific) questions. On the top of that, you have to cope with a couple of personality tests. And remember that this hiring process applies to all positions, ranging from administrative to managerial.
Typically they will interview you over the phone (a few screening questions, just to learn something about your communication skills, experience, motivation and personality), and then (if you pass the phone interview) they will invite you for an assessment center (that consists in behavioral and technical questions, and the tests). Let’s have a look at some questions you can expect.
List of common questions
- What do you like the most about Goldman Sachs, and what do you dislike the most about our company? (Try to praise them as much as you can. They should get an impression that Goldman is your dream place of work, and that you consider them superior to all their competitors. You can talk about scandals when referring to the things you dislike, such as their role in the 2008 financial crisis, or their 987 subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, mostly on Cayman Islands… )
- Who are our main competitors? Why should clients decide to co-operate with us, and not with them? (Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, to name just a few of their main competitors. People should choose Goldman Sachs because they beat their competitors in terms of ROI for their clients. They manage to do it mostly because of their political connections, but you do not have to mention that part in your interview answer about the investment management giants.)
- Tell us a story. (They gave you a choice, and you should talk about something that shows your amazing abilities, or the efforts you showed in your last employment. Alternatively you can tall them a funny story from your life–funny tales are easy to remember, but the story should have some moral at the end. Something you learned from your experience…)
- What worries you the most right now when you look at the stock market? (Obviously the answer to this question changes in time, and they do not necessarily look for a precise answer. The key is to show them that you watch the stock market, and are aware of the recent development. Another alternative is saying that for a good investor, there’s never a reason to worry. Each situation on the stock market offers some opportunities for good investments…)
- Give us an example of a situation where you were outside of your comfort zone. (You can talk about a negotiation with a difficult client, or a situation when you had to make a decision without having sufficient information, or any other difficult situation, ideally related to investment banking. They should get a feeling that you actually thrive in situations that force you leave your comfort zone, because we grow and learn the most in such situations.)
- What do you consider the highest level of leadership in an organization?
- What do you consider your greatest weakness?
- Describe a situation when you achieved a goal, and a situation when you had a goal, but failed to achieve it.
- You have to choose from two contracts you can sign with a client. The first one is a short term contract that will bring Goldman Sachs 1 million in revenue in one year time. The second contract is for a long co-operation, but it will bring us only $100,000 each year. Which deal would you choose, and why?
- What motivates you the most in work?
- Try to describe what we do in this division of Goldman Sachs.
- If I give you $10,000 to invest right now, how would you invest the money?
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the other 100 job applicants who applied for the same job opening?
- Why do you want to work for Goldman Sachs?
- Describe a conflict you had with a colleague in the past. How did you solve the conflict?
- Describe a time when you went above and beyond with your customer service.
- What does integrity mean to you?
- Tell us about an obstacle you overcame.
* Special Tip: If you are not sure how to answer the questions from my list, or experience interview anxiety, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to basically all tricky questions you may face in your job interview will help you streamline your interview preparation, outclass your competitors, and eventually get this great job… You won’t get a second chance with Goldman Sachs. Make sure to make the most out of this one.
How to prepare for the questions and tests
The best way to prepare for the technical questions, and for the personality tests, is having the right mindset, and knowing a lot about Goldman Sachs, their activities and business practices.
Plus, of course, you should know a lot about your field of expertise (think marketing, investment banking, programming, etc, depending on the job you try to get with them).
What is more, You should spend enough time researching about the company, trying to learn as much as you can about their goals and values, their clients, and the working environment. Check also the controversial stuff-there’s a lot of it online. The more you know the easier it will be for you to find the answers.
Behavioral and screening questions – the same song in every interview
Behavioral and screening questions are more straightforward, and you can prepare for them in advance. Why? Simply because all employees experience similar situations in the workplace, in terms of motivation, and interaction with their colleagues.
A secretary, a system analyst, a programmer, an HR manager–all of them experience discussion and conflicts with their colleagues, all of them had some deadlines they have to meet, they have their successes and failures.
The question “How do you deal with conflicts on the workplace?” make a sense in every interview in Goldman Sachs, just like the question “Describe the situation when you were overwhelmed with work.” You will find up to 7 premium answers to 31 most common behavioral questions in our Interview Success Package. It can be the part of the puzzle you are missing.
Thank you for checking it out, and good luck in your interview!
* You can also download the list of questions to practice your answers offline, before the start of your interview:
May also interest you:
- Morgan Stanley HireVue interview questions.
- Why do you want to work in finance?
- How to overcome interview nerves – Anxiety can kill your chances while you interview for a job with Goldman Sachs. Learn how to get rid of it.