Currently sitting on a train to Bristol. There is a middle-aged man sitting opposite me wearing dirty painters clothes. He’s got a small bag with him carrying a few more items stained with paint. And he’s flipping through a book on graffiti. He’s not what I imagined Banksy to look like. Maybe I should ask him if he’s looking for a publicist.
I must apologize for this writing. I met up with some friends after my interview in London to drown away some sorrows, and so the details of it are not as fresh in my mind as they might have been. Anyways, just to clarify, this was one of those “What Not to Do” type interviews.
Position: Sales & Analytics
Dress Code: Formal
I went in feeling very confident. Well… I say confident–my hands weren’t shaking furiously so we’ll say that’s confidence.
I went up to the mezzanine and waited for the respective person to come fetch me. I had been given a specific name so when I was approached I automatically greeted the guy by his surname. Sure enough this wasn’t the guy I was told it would be (I think I’ll just give up on the name-game from here on out).
As we made our way to the elevator I remembered I would need water for this and so took Ed up on his offer. So we doubled back before heading upstairs. As I entered the elevator, something went awry. It felt as if I had walked right into the door edge and next thing I knew my cup was on the floor with water everywhere. You can see where this is going; on our way to a fantastic interview. I look up at Ed and two other guys waiting to get into the elevator. Did I just walk into the wall?! No. I’m not that drunk. Feeling like a complete idiot and the others just staring confused, I gathered and stuttered that the door must have randomly and quickly jotted out and in again, hitting my shoulder as I passed through. “Great start to an interview.” We laughed it off and continued on up.
We met my other interviewer, the head of analytics and support. More banter was exchanged about my recent wet spill in the elevator—mostly at my expense—and we headed into one of the oh so many transparent rooms that make Bloomberg oh so transparent and great.
Then the laughing stopped and I proceeded to get interview-raped full stop. Diving right into the “Why Bloomberg?” “WHY” Bloomberg. Not a little why. “WHY Bloomberg?” So I gave them a well structured 3-point response saying what I looked for in a graduate job and how Bloomberg fulfilled each one of these points.
“So whyyy Bloomberg?”
Did I not just answer that?
Then I proceeded to make what I thought wasn’t such a bad idea at the time, as I had given the same response at FactSet and they fully understood what I was getting at: when asked where else I had applied…
…I told the truth.
WHAT?!!? You’re applying to companies outside of our industry and skillset?!?! Are you pucking joking?! Why-are-you-even-here?
Now those weren’t the exact words they used. But I was made well aware of my foolish mistake by the interviewers. Let’s just take a break right here and specify:
Lesson #7: Whatever you do, do not tell them where else you have applied. Under any circumstances. Just.don’t.pucking.do.it.
What I should have said was, “Oh yes, I’m glad you asked that question. I’ve applied to Thomson Reuters, Capital IQ, FactSet, and Dow Jones Newswire. As well as a few other software companies for similar positions. I love data.” Or with a dead-panned face, “I’ve only applied to Bloomberg; I can’t see myself working anywhere else.”
Instead, I chose the honest route and listed off more than a handful of companies that had nothing to do with Bloomberg.
The interview just went downhill from here. “So WHY.THE.F Bloomberg?”
Then they shot some situational questions at me. “What would you do if someone called in complaining about the service received from two other helpdesk people. They had all said they would solve the problem and never got back to them.”
“I would aaask them to tell me what the problem was and I would not rest until it was solved.”
“That’s what the last person said, I’m not telling you the problem.”
“I woooould ask them for their place of business and have someone sent over personally in the morning.”
“That’s what the last person said, I’m not telling you the problem.”
“I wouuuld file a complaint for the person through whatever means were available to do so.”
“What would you do if someone called up complaining that 10-year bond yields were down but the number on the screen was green.”
“I woooould check if it was wrong on my screen.”
“It’s not wrong.”
“It’s not wrong? …What?” I was in the mindset of resolving customer complaints, so I was caught off guard when he threw this technical question at me. There was no problem with the system. “When bond yields go down, prices go up, thus the owner of the bond is better off, hence the number is green.”
So couldn’t he have just asked me, what happens when bond yields go down? Rather than make me look like an idiot trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong with the software. Okay sure, it was a noob mistake on my part. But whatever happened to all that “interviewers are not trying to catch you out” crap?
“What’s 1.5 squared?”
Queue ramblings of me throwing out incorrect answers and them giving me no sign if I’m right or wrong. I graduated with a near perfect score in high school maths. Why am I cursed with this inability to put into practise what I have proven myself so adept at in the past?!
So I take a more structured route to solving the problem and do it in fractions.
“3/2 * 3/2 iiiisss 9/4… yes? No? …Yeah.. it is. 9/4. Final answer.”
They just stare at me.
“What..? It’s not..? Okay…”
“We want to see what approach you take to solving the problem.”
“Alright, soo I suppose I could remove the decimal point. Multiple 15 by 15. That’s… 225. Divide by 100. 2.25.”
You dirtbags. That’s 9 over 4!
I’m really hating these guys now. I don’t want to work in your glorified call centre.
“Let’s say you are put in charge of Morgan Stanley. What would your short and long-term strategies be?”
“How do you figure you’ve got what it takes to be a good salesperson?”
“What skills do you think you’ll need for this position and how can you demonstrate that you have these skills.”
So yeah, as you can probably guess, I didn’t get this job. Well, they haven’t actually told me yet but as you can see, it didn’t go well. The interviewers used the silent treatment on me the entire time. I’d give an answer, and they’d just sit and stare. So I’d try and waffle something more out in an attempt to appease them. Still, nothing. I would literally have to say I had nothing left to say. These interview techniques: I’d expect of an investment bank, but not a call centre.
To all those looking to apply to Bloomberg, be aware that you must first complete 1-2 years work on the help desk before moving on to a sales or analytics position.
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