Goldman Sachs' graduate interview questions about you

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Goldman Sachs’ application process will address your competencies, past experiences, achievements and whether you are a ‘cultural fit’, as well as more technical questions about finance, which financial markets interest you and current business conditions. The firm will want to know why you have applied for this particular programme/internship, especially if your degree is in an unrelated field.

Whether you are applying for its new analyst programme, work placement programme, off-cycle internship, divisional spring programme or summer analyst internship, the organisation will want to know a lot about who you are as an individual. And this advice applies to both the pre-recorded video interview and the face-to-face interviews that are part of the bank’s ‘superday’.

To explore some of the interview questions you might face about the organisation, see our Goldman Sachs’ graduate interview questions about the firm article.

Goldman Sachs: delivering results interview question

You might be asked something similar to:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deliver results under pressure
  • How do you handle pressure?
  • What would you do when faced with competing assignments?
  • Can you give an example of a time you streamlined a process?
  • Tell me about a project or task you have recently completed that you’re proud of.
  • If you were given a new project that you were unfamiliar with, what would be your strategy to kick-start it?

How to approach...

Pressure comes in many different forms and, as such, can be dealt with in a number of ways.

Think about the high-pressure situations you may face in your preferred job role at Goldman Sachs; these will differ across the various schemes, from task to task and from one client to the next. One source of pressure might be difficult clients; another could be getting reports in on time. Is it likely that you’ll be on the phone to clients who’ll want immediate answers when their stocks aren’t going the way you said they would? If so, what skills do you need to show? Time management, mediating, leadership and even humility are all examples of possible avenues to explore.

For a client-facing role, consider your work or extracurricular experiences. Perhaps you had a temporary street fundraising job while on holiday from university and had to hit financial targets. For a quantitative or qualitative role, have you completed any complicated, research-based assignments while at university within an allocated time?

Goldman Sachs: skill set interview question

You might be asked something similar to:

  • What specific skills have you learned that would make you good at the job?
  • What skills would you need to develop for your role at Goldman Sachs?
  • What strengths would you bring to our team?
  • What’s your greatest strength/weakness?
  • Which of your skills and experiences make you suitable for this job?

There’s a string of broad skills, competencies and attributes that Goldman Sachs would like its graduate recruits to have: drive, problem solving and client service are among them. In addition, there are specific competency requirements for each role.

If applying for a role in Goldman Sachs’ engineering division, for example, you should possess strong technical and analytical skills, be self-motivated and be passionate about technology. Whereas motivated individuals who value client service and risk management, and have an interest in business-process design, are sought for work placements in its asset management division.

How to approach...

Research what the job entails. Goldman Sachs’ website contains some detail on all graduate schemes. If you want more information, check elsewhere. On LinkedIn, for instance, you might be able to extract information from the ‘job details’ section of graduates who have worked at Goldman Sachs. Alternatively, perhaps you know somebody who did an internship with the bank.

Relate what you’ve found to your real-life experiences. If you’ve applied for the engineering division where technical and analytical skills are especially important, for instance, consider your IT-related work experience or technology-based degree modules. What skills did you learn or develop, and how would they benefit the department?

Bear in mind that with the second question specifically – ‘what skills would you need to develop for your role at Goldman Sachs?’ – interviewers will be assessing your self-awareness and your knowledge of what you still have to learn. It’s similar to being asked, ‘what is your weakness?’ The trick here is to give an honest answer, but specify which skills need to be developed.

Goldman Sachs: teamwork interview question

You might be asked something similar to:

  • What role do you usually play in a team?
  • Have you ever been in a conflict situation with one of your colleagues and how did you handle it?
  • What would you do if you noticed one of your team getting stressed?
  • Your coworker is struggling to work with another colleague due to working style and comes to you for advice. What would you do?
  • Tell me about a time you had to resolve a conflict with someone senior to you.

Teamwork, collaboration and integrity are very important at Goldman Sachs, where it's believed these three factors help its employees serve and satisfy its clients. An associate in its securities division said of his colleagues in sales, trading and structuring, ‘We all work together as one team aiming to deliver seamless coverage to our clients’.

How to approach...

Choose an example from university, work or your interests where you made a noticeable contribution while working as part of a team. Did you assume additional responsibility because a colleague was overwhelmed or absent? Did you motivate the group when members began losing oomph?

Relate your response to Goldman Sachs or the position to which you have applied. If the global markets division is your target, explain to the interviewers that the experience you have gained has prepared you for working closely with different teams.

Goldman Sachs: communication interview question

Your communication skills will be assessed throughout the interview questions, for example when you’re asked, ‘Tell me about yourself’.

Excellent communication skills are essential across all Goldman Sachs graduate schemes. You’ll be liaising heavily with colleagues, managers, clients or suppliers, or a blend of all four. The types of people with whom you communicate predominantly will vary according to your role. If your post is within the human capital management division, your main contact is with other human resources professionals and Goldman Sachs employees. If your post is within the services division expect a huge amount of contact with clients. Either way, Goldman Sachs places a premium on the ability to be clear, engaging, diplomatic and persuasive in oral and written communications.

How to approach...

Be the embodiment of an effective and confident communicator by giving considered and coherent responses to the interview questions. Be clear and logical; when asked to give an example of a time when you demonstrated a competency, the STAR technique will help you to structure your responses.

If you are asked a ‘Tell me about yourself’-type question, you might find our advice on perfecting your personal pitch helpful.

You should also smile and maintain eye contact (remember that a lot of communication is non-verbal) to show Goldman Sachs interviewers that you can be trusted to make a good first impression when you represent the bank.

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