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What to expect at your first investment banking interview

When you're looking for graduate jobs in finance, the prospect of undergoing an interview can be one of the most daunting aspects of the search.

Investment banking is often a high-pressure field, and your interview will be one of the tests of how well you can perform under pressure. It's your chance to show that you have the skills and qualities necessary to work in investment banking, and your ability to handle highly stressful situations is a big part of this.

Interviews for finance jobs are likely to be designed to find out about both your technical skills and your soft skills - banking tends to be an environment where teams of people work together around big goals, so your ability to work effectively in a team and to provide value to those around you becomes as large a part of the interview process as your technical skills.

Interviewers want to know that you are able to handle numbers, but also that you have good communication skills and that you have other qualities that make you a good worker. The questions that you are asked are likely to reflect this, testing how you can think on your feet and how you can demonstrate your skills and experience.

You can expect many of the usual interview questions, from being asked to tell the interviewer about yourself to why you want the job and what extra value you bring to the table. Technical questions will check your understanding and skills relating to accounting, finance and other important areas and can be quite in-depth depending on the role that you are interviewing for.

As with many other roles in finance, investment banking interviews often involve several rounds, so you might find that when you are being considered for a position it begins with a phone interview.

You could also experience group interviews with other candidates, as well as individual interviews with an interview panel - always keep in mind that you are being tested and considered every step of the way for both technical and soft skills - many times group interviews, especially for graduates, can be quite focused on getting a view of your ability to work in a team environment and what kind of team player you are.

As with all interviewing for new roles, preparation is key - the prep that you do for your first investment banking interview can and will help you to perform better when it arrives. Do your research on the people who will be interviewing you - LinkedIn can be a great resource for this as well as just generally looking at their past history, their teams and their skills.

Aside from this understand the role, know your own strengths and weaknesses and consider deeply what you bring to the table - if you can put a strong case for your own value in an interview situation you're already streets ahead of many other interviewees.