Fewer than 15% of applicants make it this far.
First round interviews are typically designed to assess your commitment to a career in banking, your understanding of the role you've applied for, your interest in working for that particular bank, and your 'fit' (whether you'll get on with your colleagues). In some cases, first round interviews take place on university campuses. Barclays Capital conducts first round internship interviews via the telephone.
"You may be interviewed by up to five people," explains Helen Bostock, head of graduate marketing at JP Morgan. Interviewers will steer the questions according to what you wrote on your application form, says Bostock - so it's a good idea to refresh your memory in advance.
SallyAnn Birchall, head of graduate recruitment at Deutsche Bank, says first round interviews are all about getting inside the head of the interviewee, and less about testing for intimate knowledge of the bond markets. "We want to know what gets you out of bed in the morning, what motivates you, how you remain focused in the face of problems, and what you learned from past experience." Banks are looking for concrete examples in response to questions, says Birchall.
First round interviewers will also look for evidence that you know what you're letting yourself in for when you say you want to be an equities trader or a corporate financier. "We would expect people to have found out all the obvious information on the business from websites, brochures, marketing materials and conversations with members of the firm at recruitment presentations," says Joanne Scott, head of graduate recruitment at Morgan Stanley.