Advice > Finance

JP Morgan behavioral interview (questions, answers, prep)

By Jonathon Yarde on February 16, 2022 How we wrote this article
JP morgan behavioral interview guide

Today we’re going to cover JP Morgan behavioral interview questions, which account for about 66% of all questions asked at JP Morgan investment banking interviews.

This percentage is based on an analysis of 107 interview reports from real JP Morgan candidates, which were recorded from 2016 to 2022. 

Mastering these questions will prepare you for the majority of interview questions asked at JP Morgan. Crack the top 5 behavioral questions alone, and you’ll be ready for over 60% of all behavioral questions reported by JP Morgan candidates. 

Let’s jump straight into the questions. 

Click here to practice 1-on-1 with JP Morgan ex-interviewers

1. 5 most common behavioral interview questions

Before we see the full list of JP Morgan behavioral questions, let’s take a look at the 5 questions that you’re most likely to be asked during your interviews.

These questions come up in both the initial HireVue video interviews and during the final Super Day (or Assessment Centre) rounds. In the HireVue interviews, you’ll only have 30 seconds to think before recording a two-minute response, and the final-round interviewers will expect you to have clear and concise answers.

So it is key that you prepare answers to these questions in advance. You can use the examples that we offer below as inspiration.

Let’s get started.

1.1 Why JP Morgan?

This question was cited the most out of any question in the Glassdoor interview reports that we’ve studied for this role. It accounted for 32% of the behavioral questions that past candidates reported at JP Morgan, and 20% of all questions reported, so it’s extremely likely that this will come up in your interviews.

Clearly, JP Morgan interviewers are interested in your motivation to join the company, so you should prepare an answer to this question. For more detailed information on how to answer this question, take a look at this guide. Here’s an example:

Sample answer: “I want to work at JP Morgan for two main reasons:

First, I keep up with the research done on Institutional Investor, and I saw that in 2022, you were ranked as their number one global research leader for a second year in a row. It shows how much value you provide for your clients, and I’m looking to learn and grow in an environment that puts clients first.

Second, I was mentored by Madhu Vijay, who’s currently an associate at JP Morgan’s San Francisco office. She told me about how much internal mobility is available within the company, and she encouraged me to apply.”

1.2 Why do you want to work in investment banking?

This question accounted for 12% of reported behavioral questions at the company. Your interviewers will want to know what made you choose this industry (beyond a high salary).

Of course, you’ll need to examine your personal reasons for working in investment banking, but we’ll give you an example of a good answer to get you started. Note that it uses concrete examples from the candidate’s personal experience, rather than leaning on a generic response.

Sample answer: “I actually didn’t always know that I wanted to be an investment banker, having begun my professional life as a data analyst in Silicon Valley. What I loved about the position was using data to extract useful insights and building accurate models, but I found myself much more interested in the finance team’s projections and reports than what my own team was working on.

So I started to learn more about finance after work and on weekends, taking night classes at a local university, in order to make a career change. Additionally, I thrive in fast-paced environments, something I’m used to from my previous position, and I’m excited to build my skills from data analysis to financial modeling while working on high-profile transactions.”

1.3 Tell me about yourself

Many interviewers will use a question like this, or “walk me through your resume” in order to break the ice and start off your interview. That makes this a particularly crucial question, as it establishes the interviewer’s first impression and sets the stage for the rest of the interview.

The interviewer will likely follow up on one more of the details you share in your answer, so be prepared to dive deeper into certain points of your past experience. Here’s a sample answer to give you an idea of what to aim for:

Sample answer: “I’m currently an analyst at Silvermans, where I’ve been able to work on the firm’s Investor Day, laying out the initiative’s medium and long-term performance goals. This was an incredible learning experience for me, where I got to present to investors and the general public, working closely with senior management to put everything together.

Before Silvermans, I was already interested in finance, as my mother was a financial consultant,  and she encouraged my interest in all things related to the economy. So I studied finance and economics at the University of Chicago and did a summer analyst internship at Evermore, after which I secured my position at Silvermans.

While I’ve enjoyed my time there, I’m looking to pivot from investor relations to corporate strategy and development at a firm with a much larger balance sheet, where I can keep learning and start developing industry insights for business leaders.”

1.4 Tell me about a time when you worked on a team

At JP Morgan, you’ll be working long hours with teams of analysts, associates, and managing directors. To collaborate effectively, your interviewers will be looking for past examples of your experience working closely with others to meet key objectives.

We’ll be formatting our sample answer below using the IGotAnOffer framework for answering behavioral interview questions. More on that in section 3.

Sample answer: “In my previous position, I was an analyst working with a team on a live M&A deal with one of our biggest clients.

It was my first big deal with the firm, so I was eager to please. However, the management model that our client provided for us was very disorganized and missing key data points. I was struggling with my task, which was to clean up the model for use in our valuation materials.

I decided to ask for help. I considered reaching out to my associate, but knew that they were swamped with the rest of the valuation materials, and reaching out to them may slow down our work too drastically. So I reached out to a fellow analyst who had been working at the firm a few more months than I. We worked out a system wherein I helped him with some of his tasks, which freed up time for him to give me pointers on the model that I was struggling with.

Thanks to this, we were able to finish the model in time to move forward with the valuation materials and carry out the rest of the live deal without any delays. By the time it was finished, the deal brought in about $3 million in fees for the company.

Since then, I’ve studied the methods my colleague used to clean up the model and researched other methods to ensure that I won’t get tripped up on that step again. This also cemented how important it is to collaborate with your teammates, rather than struggling independently on a task out of pride and ultimately slowing the process down.”

1.5 What was your greatest challenge?

Working for a large, bulge bracket investment bank is challenging. You’ll have to work with demanding clients, create and edit last minute presentations, and tackle high-stakes deals.

Interviewers frequently ask this question to find out how well you can work in high-stress situations, as well as how you break down a challenge into manageable tasks. As we did in the previous question, we’ll frame our answer using the IGotAnOffer framework, which you’ll find out more about in section 3.

Sample answer: “The greatest challenge I’ve faced actually came before I started my investment banking career, when I was a junior in high school. My father passed away due to cancer, just a year and a half after we moved to the United States from Korea. 

He had been the one to organize all of our immigration papers and finances, so my mother and I had to learn for ourselves all the processes that he had taken care of in the past.

Once we were ready, we went through all of his files and organized everything by order of importance—in literal piles of paper on the living room floor. In hindsight, we essentially put it all through a prioritization framework in terms of effort & impact without really knowing the name for it. Once we had organized all the documents, we made a plan: my mother would take care of the rest of the immigration documents and appointments, and I would help with the budget.

It took us a few months to finally get on top of everything, but we were ultimately able to handle all of the tasks Dad used to do, without any prior knowledge of what they were or how to take care of them.

That experience really cemented in me the importance of clear prioritization, and that even seemingly insurmountable issues can be handled in small steps. It was my mom’s idea to separate out the documents and list what tasks we needed to take care of, and it’s still something that I do whenever I face a big problem.”

2. Complete list of JP Morgan behavioral interview questions

Now that we’ve dug into the five behavioral questions that you are most likely to encounter during an investment banking interview at JP Morgan, let’s take a look at a list of every JP Morgan IB behavioral interview question reported on Glassdoor since 2016.

Use the list below to prepare your answers to different types of questions. We’ll give you an answer framework to practice with in section 3.

Note: the questions below come from Glassdoor interview reports by Analysts. While the interview process for Associates or other roles may be slightly different, this list will still provide an excellent starting point for your preparation.

Here are the questions:

25 behavioral questions asked at JP Morgan

  1. Why do you want to work in investment banking?
  2. Why JP Morgan?
  3. Tell me about yourself
  4. Tell me about a time when you worked on a team
  5. What was your greatest challenge?
  6. Tell me something interesting about yourself that is not related to work or academics
  7. Walk me through your resume
  8. What's your career plan for the next five years?
  9. What is it about this role that interests you?
  10.  Why are you a good fit for this position?
  11.  What are your strengths?
  12.  What’s one of your biggest weaknesses?
  13.  Besides hard work and a high GPA, what expertise will you bring to JP Morgan?
  14.  Make a sales pitch for something you're interested in
  15.  What would your co-workers say about you?
  16.  Tell me about a recent achievement
  17.  Tell me about an improvement that you have implemented at your current or past position
  18.  Tell me about a time when you sought out relevant information and used it to develop a plan of action
  19.  Tell me about a time when you encountered a difficult client and describe how you handled the situation
  20.  Tell me about a time during which you had a positive impact on a project, and how did you measure your success?
  21.  Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision, then describe your thought process and what the final decision was
  22.  Tell me about a time when you had to collect and analyze data
  23.  Tell me about a time when you faced a complex problem in the workplace, and how you overcame it
  24.  Tell me about specific goals you have established in your career and how you have met them, or how you will meet them
  25.  Tell me about a time when you had to seek out relevant information and use that to develop a plan of action

3. How to answer behavioral interview questions

You may have noticed that all of the questions above fall into two basic formats: 

  1. General questions, such as “why investment banking?” or “why should we hire you?”, which require individualized responses
  2. Scenario questions that typically begin with “Tell me about a time…...”, which can be answered using a repeatable framework

For general questions, you’ll need to craft your own answers in advance. All of the top 4 most common behavioral questions that we covered earlier are general questions, so you can use our example answers as a start pointing for writing your own answers.

There are a few more questions in the complete list, such as “why shouldn’t I hire you?”, which will require individualized responses as well. 

All of the other questions are scenario-based questions (e.g. “Tell me about a time”), which you can answer using a repeatable framework. Let’s dig into behavioral question frameworks in more detail. 

The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a popular approach for answering this type of behavioral question because it’s easy to remember. You may have already heard of it.

However, we’ve found that candidates often find it difficult to distinguish the difference between steps two and three, or task and action. Some also forget to include lessons learned in the results step, which is especially crucial when discussing past failures.

So we’ve developed the IGotAnOffer method to correct some of the pitfalls we’ve observed when using the STAR method.

3.1 The IGotAnOffer method

Let’s step through our suggested five-step approach:

  1. Situation: Start by giving the necessary context of the situation you were in. Describe your role, the team, the organization, the market, etc. You should only give the minimum context needed to understand the problem and the solution in your story. Nothing more.
  2. Problem: Outline the problem you and your team were facing.
  3. Solution: Explain the solution you came up with to solve the problem. Step through how you went about implementing your solution, and focus on your contribution over what the team / larger organization did.
  4. Impact: Summarize the positive results you achieved for your team, department, and organization. As much as possible, quantify the impact.
  5. Lessons: Conclude with any lessons you might have learned in the process.

You’ll notice that this method covers very similar themes to the STAR method. We like it because a lot of the candidates we work with find this framework easier to use, as there’s no overlap between any of the steps in your story.

For examples of behavioral interview answers using this method, take a look at sections 1.4 and 1.5 above.

4. How to prepare for JP Morgan behavioral interviews

Now that you’ve seen the list of JP Morgan behavioral interview questions and how to answer them, let’s talk about four steps you can take to prepare for the interviews.

4.1 Learn about JP Morgan’s culture

Before you spend weeks (or months) preparing for JP Morgan interviews, you should pause for a moment to learn about the company’s culture. 

This is important for two reasons. 

First, it will help you to clarify whether JP Morgan is actually the right fit for you. JP Morgan is prestigious, so it can be tempting to apply without thinking more deeply.  But, it's important to remember that the prestige of a job (by itself) won't make you happy in your day-to-day work. It's the type of work and the people you work with that will.

Second, having a clear understanding of JP Morgan’s culture will give you an edge in your interviews, because it will help you frame your skills and experiences to align with what the company values. In addition, you will almost definitely be asked about your specific motivations for applying to JP Morgan.  

If you know any current or former JP Morgan employees, see if you can chat with them about the company’s culture for a few minutes. In addition, we would recommend checking out the following resources:

4.2 Practice by yourself

Acing a behavioral interview question is much harder than it looks. You’ll stand out if you put in the required work to craft concise and direct answers.

4.2.1 Prepare your answers

First, work out your answers to general behavioral questions such as those in section 1. Write them down, and time how long it takes you to say them out loud (aim for 1-2 minutes). Make sure that you’re hitting the key points without rambling.

Next, for scenario-based questions, work out which stories you’d like to tell. Make a list of key moments in your career (e.g. accomplishments, failures, team situations, leadership situations, etc.) that you can use to answer one or multiple questions.

After you’ve finished your list, write out a story for each key moment in your career using the structure we've laid out in section 3. Be sure to emphasize your impact in each of these examples, quantify the results of your actions, and explain the lessons you learned from the experience. 

Once you have a bank of stories, go through the questions in section 2 and make sure you’d be able to answer all of them either by using one of the stories you’ve written directly, or by adapting it on the fly. If you identify any gaps, add stories to your bank until you’re comfortable you can cover all the questions listed in this article. For reference, we suspect this will require around 10-15 stories for most candidates. 

4.2.2 Practice your answers out loud

After you've written everything down, a great way to practice your answers is to interview yourself out loud. This may sound strange, but it will significantly improve the way you communicate during an interview. 

You should be able to tell each prepared answer and story from your bank naturally, neither missing key details nor memorizing them word-for-word.

Play the role of both the candidate and the interviewer, asking questions and answering them, just like two people would in an interview. Trust us, it works.

4.3 Practice with peers

Practicing by yourself is a critical step, but it will only take you so far.

One of the main challenges of interviewing at JP Morgan is communicating your answers in a way that is clear and leaves a strong impression. 

As a result, we recommend that you also do some mock interviews. This is much closer to the real interview experience. Plus, the feedback you get from an interview partner could help you avoid mistakes that you wouldn’t notice on your own. 

You can practice with a friend or family member to start. This will help you polish your stories and catch communication mistakes. However, if your interview partner isn’t an experienced ex-interviewer, then they won’t be able to give you the kind of targeted feedback that will bring your answers up to the next level.

4.4 Practice with ex-interviewers

If you know someone who runs interviews at JP Morgan or another investment bank, then that’s amazing! They'll be a great person to practice interviews with.

But most of us don’t, and it can be REALLY tough to make a new connection with an investment banker. And even if you do have a good connection already, it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them extremely well.

Here's the good news. We want to help you make these connections. That’s why we’ve launched a coaching platform where you can find ex-interviewers at JP Morgan to practice with. Learn more and start scheduling sessions today.

 

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