Real interview questions, insights on the hiring process, and interesting facts.
If you’ve scored an interview at Goldman Sachs, consider yourself exceptional.
The premier investment bank and financial services firm fields over 270,000 applications for its summer analyst internship alone, and hires just 4% of applicants.
With statistics like those, most people assume hiring managers target Ivy Leaguers with a 4.0 GPA and a linear career in finance, but the opposite is true. In fact, getting hired at Goldman Sachs is much like getting into Harvard. Recruiters seek “unusual profiles”: professionals who are ambitious, interesting, and passionate about something outside of finance.
Hence, why the bank has a reputation for hiring people who play competitive sports: Olympic swimmers, semi-professional tennis players, and varsity college athletes alike. If you’ve ever run a startup out of your garage, climbed Mt. Everest, or overcome great adversity, now’s your chance to plug that story and win the most prestigious job in New York city.
Once you get your foot in the door, what can you expect?
The average hiring process at Goldman Sachs takes 54 days, according to research by Glassdoor UK. In a poll by Indeed, 39% of respondents reported the process takes over one month, 27% said about a month, while 16% were hired within two weeks.
The majority of candidates indicated they landed a job because a recruiter contacted them (34%), through campus placement (19%), or via an employee referral (15%). Just 8% of candidates surveyed said they were hired through an online job board.
In 300 words, explain why you want the role, why you’re interested in the division you’ve applied to, and what distinguishes you from other applicants.
Show that you’re personable, passionate about the company, and would make for a captivating guest at a dinner party.
Putting effort into this is key: Goldman Sachs recruiters claim that every application is read by a real person.
HireVue is a digital interview system used by many banks for job interviews. Candidates film themselves answering a set of predetermined Goldman Sachs interview questions.
Goldman recruiters say you can expect 5-6 questions: competency and behavioral questions (80%), alongside questions specific to the division you’re applying for (20%). Sample behavioral questions include:
You’ll get 30 seconds to prepare each answer and three minutes to speak to the camera, with no second chances to re-record.
The system uses a complicated algorithm (learned from the responses of thousands of prior candidates) to evaluate your answers across 15,000 variables including body language, speech patterns, and blinking.
HackerRank is a coding-based technical skills and assessment platform commonly used to screen engineering candidates. Recruiters say candidates can choose whether to complete a programming assessment or a math assessment.
“it is also a good idea to review algorithms and basic data structures from your first few computer science courses as a basic refresher.”
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Goldman Sachs was notorious for its relentless onsite interviews. It's one of the most quintessential parts of the Goldman Sachs Experience. The company issued an update in March stating that all interviews are being conducted via video conference. Currently, 98% of its workforce is working remotely, according to CEO David Solomon.
Recruiters say you can typically expect three rounds of 30-minute interviews, starting 1:1 and moving up to a panel interview or group interview.
Reviews on Glassdoors indicate that these interviews tend to be highly technical, no matter the job function. Most engineers report fielding questions about hashmap implementations and array/string manipulation and, of course, brain teasers.
You’ll be expected to be aware of current events and industry trends, especially for summer analyst roles. You may be asked questions like:
"Superday" is a day of in-person interviews onsite. For summer analyst roles, it represents the final interview round. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, upcoming sessions may be conducted virtually.
Sessions are hosted from August to December, typically every other week. Recruiters conduct 2-5 interviews for campus hires depending on the division, and 25%-35% of candidates who attend a superday receive an offer.
Candidates must know their resume, skills, and why they’ve chosen their specific division and location. They must also demonstrate knowledge of current events. Each interview is typically conducted by two investment banking executives -- primarily VPs and managing directors.
After Superday, candidates typically hear back within 24-48 hours. For professional roles, the timeline varies, but always make sure to follow up with your interviewer and send thank you notes to everyone who interviewed you.
Regularly read finance trade journals, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and other business-focused publications well ahead of your interview. Your interviewers are trained to ask follow-up questions, so making a surface-level observation or referencing a news article you didn’t thoroughly read could backfire.
You should be incredibly prepared for questions about investment banking and finance. Know your technical stuff inside and out. Even candidates for client-facing analyst roles field tough technical questions about DCFs, EBITDA, LBO analysis and more.
Additionally, Goldman is known for asking unique behavioral questions, many of which catch interviewees off guard. Be sure to do your research and practice recent interview questions beforehand.
Senior positions typically involve a longer interview process. In fact, John Rogers, a current partner, recalls in the documentary ‘Goldman Sachs at 150’ that he went through 27 rounds of interviews before he was hired. Part of this is by design; Goldman tests candidates’ perseverance to ensure that only those who really want the job receive an offer.
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