Citigroup Interview Questions
The selection process for graduate roles and internships at Citi consists of the following stages:
- Online application
- Online Psychometric Testing (numerical or logical, depending on business area)
- First round interviews
- Assessment centre
All degree backgrounds are accepted, however an obtained or expected 2:1 degree is mandatory.
Tip: Citi values well-rounded individuals, so be sure to provide plenty of detail about your extra-curricular activities, particularly if your grades or work experience are a little lacking.
Once your application passes preliminary screening, you will be invited to take an online psychometric test. If you are applying for Operations, Technology, or Human Resources, this will be a Logical Reasoning Test. For all other divisions, it will be a Numerical Reasoning Test.
These tests are not the standard SHL tests, and are provided by a a company called Talent Q. Many candidates have found them to be unconventional and extremely challenging, given the time pressure.
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Logical Reasoning Test
The logical reasoning test consists of 12 questions, and you will have 75 seconds to answer each question. You will be presented with a 3x3 grid containing different symbol combinations, and you will have to detect the pattern of the transitions in order to find the missing symbol combination. There are 14 possible answers for each question.
Tip:Be sure to consider all directions for the origin of the pattern.
Numerical Reasoning Test
This test also features 12 questions, and you will have 90 seconds per question with a new table/graph/chart, and 75 seconds for subsequent questions. Applicants who score below the threshold will receive an automatic rejection email. Even those who score above it are not guaranteed an interview.
Your test results and application will then be considered as a whole, and if you are successful you will be invited to a first round interview. Wait times to hear back can be up to 5 weeks, as Citi receives a high number of applications.
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First Round Interviews
The first round involves two 40-minute competency based interviews with representatives from your areas of business, and a second sitting of the psychometric testing that you completed online. In some cases these interviews may be conducted over the telephone.
During both of these one-on-one interviews, your assessors will be trying to determine whether you would be a good fit with Citi. Though you may be asked a few commercial awareness questions, it is very unlikely that you will be asked any technical questions at this stage, they are more looking to see that you possess the competencies that they value.
Some of Citigroup's competencies are:
- Analysis and Problem Solving
- Commercial Awareness
- Decision-Making and Judgement
- Influencing and Persuasiveness
- Relationship Building
Citi also provides a list of questions to which the ideal Citigroup employee would answer yes:
- Do you relish the chance to have early responsibility?
- Do you get bored by not being challenged?
- Do you enjoy working with other people in a team?
- Do you always take the initiative and drive things forward?
- Do you feel you understand at least the basics of Citi and how we work (having read our website)?*Do you know exactly why you want to apply for your particular business area (having thoroughly researched it)?
- Do you have an excellent academic record?
- Do you want to make a difference and create change?
Think very hard about times in your life when you have exhibited these qualities and tendencies, and try to work them into your answers to standard competency based questions.
Some questions you can reasonably expect to be asked:
- Why Citigroup?
- Why this role?
- What is the current price of Citi stock?
- Why do you believe you are better for this role than others?
- What are the current issues within the finance industry?
- How do banks work?
- What would you be doing in your first year, if hired?
- Tell me about a challenge you have faced.
- What made it challenging?
- How did you overcome it?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Tell me about a time when you had to think quickly under pressure.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why did you choose your degree programme?
- If you were CEO of the bank what would you do now with ‘X’ portfolio and why?
- Tell me about a time you had to lead a team.
- What is your biggest accomplishment and biggest failure?
- Tell me about an important decision you have made, and how you came to it.
- What is your opinion on the European sovereign debt crisis?
- Who is Citi's main competitor and why?
- Don't be afraid to take a few seconds to gather your thoughts before answering a question. It is normal to take time to reflect, and will make your answers more coherent.
- Try not to rehearse your answers too much; let them come naturally.
- Come smartly dressed, and bring an extra copy of your CV.
- Smile and be enthusiastic. They are looking for people who genuinely want to work for them.
- Research the duties associated with the role to which you are applying. One way to do this is to attend campus fairs and recruitment events.
- Be prepared to ask your interviewers a few intelligent questions as well.
The assessment centre at Citi usually consists of 5 or 6 people, and the format is generally the same for all roles:
As in the first round interviews, you will be questioned mostly on your motivation for joining Citigroup, your skills and your competencies; though there is a chance you will get a few commercial awareness questions, or technical questions related to your field.
Tip: Be engaged throughout the interviews, ask questions of you interviewer (What do you do on a day to day basis? Why did you choose Citigroup?), and inquire about the next steps. This will demonstrate your motivation to work for them.
The written report, presentation, and group discussion will all centre around the same case study. You will be given a handout of 10-20 pages to read over, and you will then have to write a 2-page report on it. It will likely be based on a fictional company that represents the type of client you would be dealing with in your role at Citigroup. The task may be something along the lies of creating a business plan for the client. In addition to the written report, you will also prepare an individual presentation on the content. Ample time is provided for the task, as well as a Powerpoint projector. The presentation should last about 5 minutes, and will be given one-on-one to your assessor, who may ask you some follow-up questions.
The group exercise will likely focus on the same company, but you will have to come to a certain decision as a group. This may be about which product to invest in, where to allocate the funds you have at your disposal, etc. You will be provided additional information to consider in making the decision, and you may also face changing circumstances or new information partway through the discussion. Each person in the group will have to argue for a different option, but the group must reach a consensus at the end.
Tip: Though you should try your best to argue your case eloquently and with support, having your idea be chosen in conclusion will not help you if you have been too dominating during the discussion. They are looking for candidates who can work cooperatively with others, and potential leaders who will encourage others to succeed. Let the quieter members of your group have time to speak, and make sure your group's discussion stays on track.