The Goldman Sachs Job Interview Process

by Stephanie Dube Dwilson, Demand Media
    A Goldman Sachs application process can include 50 interviews.

    A Goldman Sachs application process can include 50 interviews.

    Goldman Sachs is a high-profile investment bank that works with corporations, financial institutions and governments. It has been ranked as one of the Top 100 places to work by "Fortune" magazine every year since 1998. Traders who work for Goldman Sachs are well paid, receive good benefits, and are willing to put in extra hours to get the job done. Management tries to hire people who are the best fit for each job. However, getting a job with Goldman Sachs isn't easy. The hiring process, whether for a full-time job or an internship, has been described as grueling and can involve as many as eight different interviews.

    Multiple Interviews

    Goldman Sachs interviews include five to eight rounds, sometimes involving as many as 50 or more total interviews. The first round may take place in a hotel, with a large group of people receiving aptitude tests and interviews with two Goldman Sachs employees. After this, the interviews take place at Goldman Sachs offices. Interviewers may be from different universities or different ethnic backgrounds to gauge an applicant's ability to deal with diversity. They often ask about obscure parts of a person's resume and may ask applicants to try to sell them a mundane item. Sometimes interviewers test the applicant's ability to handle mind games, such as by complaining about the color of the applicant's suit or openly watching TV while the applicant waits.

    Tough Questions

    Goldman Sachs interviews are known for including difficult and unique questions. For example, one applicant for a first-year analyst job was asked if he were shrunk to the size of a pencil, how would he get out of a blender? Even more obscure questions were reported to "Business Insider." These included asking how many penguins it would take to surround the North Pole, along with two standard deviations from the answer. However, not all questions are so strange. Applicants may be asked why they are a good fit for their position, what is their greatest weakness, and their five-year plan, for example. They may also be asked detailed problem-solving questions connected to their field. They may be asked how to derive a capital asset pricing model, how to write a program that shows bond yields against discounted cash flows, or even how to calculate location from the curvature of the Earth.

    Rising the Ranks

    Interviews for higher-ranking positions at Goldman Sachs, such as a partner, are very different. In fact, these may not involve typical interviews at all. Instead, the process is known as cross-ruffing. Divisional heads recommend people for partner, sometimes without the candidate's knowledge. Teams of Goldman Sach partners then interview one another about these potential partners, uncovering strengths and weaknesses of candidates that one person alone might not see. They scrutinize every aspect of the candidate's background, from each deal she has made to how she has generated profit for the company and how colleagues like her.

    Tips for Acing an Interview

    There are a number of things that job candidates can do to make themselves more appealing to Goldman Sachs. The company looks for people who excel not only in academics, but in other extracurricular areas as well, along with holding a variety of leadership positions. An applicant should show that she can be comfortable in uncomfortable situations and indicate that she is a people person who works well in teams. Don't be familiar just with domestic markets, but be knowledgeable about global financial markets as well. Shares stories about growing up so the interviewers can know your life context better. And when it comes to knowing how to dress, women shouldn't overdo the makeup they wear.

    About the Author

    I have extensive experience on-camera and off providing expertise on a variety of topics. I hosted a web video series about Visalus shakes, testing to see if they really worked as claimed. I'm an expert on science journalism (published by Fox News), a marketing expert, and I'm an attorney with expertise in personal injury law, dangerous side effects from pharmaceuticals, and marketing for lawyers. I'm also a small business expert featured on Business Week and Millionaire Blueprints magazine. My business expertise ranges from tech tips to marketing tips, budgeting advice, entrepreneurial ventures and more. I'm also a marketing expert for ministries, having served as a ghost writer for a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a PR lead for one of the largest churches in America.

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