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The Key to Answering Every Brainteaser You Are Asked |

The Key to Answering Every Brainteaser You Are Asked |

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter explains how to answer every hedge fund brain teaser job interview question you are ever asked using the example of “how much money do I have to my pocket?”


Today, I want to teach you the trick to answering every hedge fund question that you are ever asked, every Wall Street brainteaser question that you ever asked. It's really very simple.

It goes back to the idea of Capt. Kirk, The Starfleet Academy and the Kobayashi Maru question. If you are not a Star Trek flat fan, let me explain the scenario. There is no win question that Capt. Kirk is asked. Every potential captain of the Starfleet ship is required to be placed in the position where they face death. What Capt. Kirk does is reprogram the computers in a particular way so that he is exempt from all the worst-case scenarios. He is able to defeat the systems by reprogramming the systems.

How does this deal with hedge fund questions?

What they are really looking for are a few things. (1) You want to watch a reaction to the question. So let me give you a classic question: how much money do I have in my pocket? How could you possibly know the answer that? Let's concede, you really don't know. What can you do?

You can pause, hesitate for a 2nd and say whatever it is that comes to mind. 9 times out of 10, through that they will ask a follow-up question. They may respond by saying, "That's right.." Or they may ask, "How did you come up with that? "

Then, you can follow up by saying a few different things. For example, "I doubt if you carry $20 in your pocket; I doubt if you carry $5 in your pocket. I doubt if you carry $5000 in your pocket. It seemed like a reasonable amount."

Whatever it is, in the case of a hedge fund, you don't necessarily want to shoot low because it may be insulting to the interviewer and you would necessarily want to shoot too high because why wouldn't they just have a credit card? Using that particular example,, what you want to do is very calmly and very simply respond, and then if they say,, "that's not right," you can answer by saying, "Are you sure? When was the last time you check what was in your pocket?"

Understand what they are looking for is creativity and creative thought, a degree of self confidence. They want to watch her reactions to see what your reactions are the situations, they want to see if you are flustered or not, whether you have reasonable explanations or not, and whether you have the confidence, self-confidence to respond firmly and with confidence to what they pose... That doesn't come from whether or not you have reasonable explanations and whether you have the confidence/self-confidence to respond firmly and with confidence to what they pose...And that doesn't come from the behavior.

That's the simplest way to respond to hedge fund brainteasers. Understand what they are really looking for ( in the case of how much money do you have an your pocket, some really do require some thought.) and take the time to think it through.

You can always say, "Do you mind if I have a piece of paper and a pen to work it through? They are not expecting that.. They're expecting someone who will reason it through in their head... Again, you are reprogramming the problems work for you. He said with a degree of self confidence and certainty, they can always respond by saying, "No,, you can always figure it out you had."

Again, it is your manner that they are really looking at. It is your self-confidence, it is your certainty that they are really looking at.. If for some reason this is a firm that is out of control, that really wants a lunatic, so be it. Maybe it is not for you.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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