Lazard HireVue interview questions
- Tell me about yourself (a classic Hirevue question)
- What was the toughest challenge you’ve faced.
- Tell me about a time you faced a problem with a team member.
- Tell me something that is not on your resume.
- Access more of these questions at Voomer!
Preparing for a Video Interview with Lazard
What are the signs of corporate distress?
This a pretty open-ended question in which you could easily ramble on for ten or twenty minutes. Its important to remember in an interview to keep your answers to just two or three minutes and to try to always bring it back to what is relevant for the purposes of restructuring investment bankers.
For a more long-winded treatment of this answer, be sure to check out this post I made on the signs of corporate distress.
From a restructuring investment bankers perspective, the two major things that will be focused on are liquidity constraints and maturity walls.
As weve talked about in prior posts, if a company has debt coming due many years from now and they have sufficient liquidity – despite poor and declining earnings – then theres no reason for them to necessarily preemptively restructure. They have time and so can try to affect a turnaround in the business without having to deal with creditors.
For restructuring investment bankers to get involved – for either out-of-court or in-court work – there must be an impetus or catalyst. This is most commonly either the company having so little liquidity that theyll need to start missing cash interest payments soon or the company having debt coming due that they dont have the ability to just roll over.
These two elements are what Id consider to be primary characteristics. These primary characteristics of distress inform the secondary characteristics such as debt trading down and debt being downgraded by rating agencies.
In other words, the debt will trade down and be downgraded as a result of the diminishing liquidity or maturity walls approaching that cant be rolled over.
What was your interview with Lazard like?Your insights will help other jobseekers.
Can you walk me through a restructuring deal?
This is one of those questions that will almost invariably pop up at some stage in the interview process.
As a general rule, its a good idea to talk about a case that the bank your interviewing with has been involved with. However, unlike in M&A its not strictly necessary since not every restructuring deal is well publicized.
Further, sometimes deals can be used as a way to discuss innovations in restructuring solutions. For example, I wrote a rather lengthy guide on Sertas restructuring – as part of the Restructuring Interviews course – that would be great to talk about in any interview. While Serta was advised by Evercore, the case demonstrates a relatively innovative kind of restructuring solution (a non-pro rata uptier) that restructuring bankers across the street will be pitching to some of their clients for years to come.
As another general rule, its best to talk about out-of-court restructurings or pre-packs in interviews. Talking about traditional / freefall Chapter 11s can be a bit messier as there is always a lot of back and forth and little nuances that you can be quizzed on. Out-of-courts are generally more opaque – thus you cant be faulted for not knowing all the details – and pre-packs are more definitive since theyre agreed upon prior to filing so theres no wrangling in court (everything you need to know for an interview will be laid out in the Restructuring Support Agreement).
When discussing a deal you should spend a minute or so talking about the companys background and how they got into distress. Then move toward talking about their pre-restructuring capital structure, then what their post-restructuring capital structure looks like. If possible (you may not always have access to all this information if its a private company that restructured out-of-court, for example) talk about the total amount of debt reduction, total cash interest expense reduction, where maturities are now, and where debt is currently trading.
Whenever youre discussing a deal you always want to illustrate that you understand the entire point of the process is to put the company on a firmer footing for the future by having its capital structure right-sized or to buy the company more time to turn things around than they otherwise would have had.
Note: For reference, Lazard has been very strong in the retail space recently (which is a good space to be strong in these days!). Theyve had a number of large mandates including Forever 21 and J. Crew. Theyve also just been engaged by Belk.
How do I prepare for a Lazard interview?
Why do you want to work for Lazard?
What are oddball interview questions?
- How many basketballs can fit on a bus?
- What two things, aside from food and water, would you want on a deserted island?
- How many pizzas are ordered every night in the United States?
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
- Blue or green?