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IMF Careers: What are the Fund's Interview Models?

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IMF Careers: What are the Fund's Interview Models?

May 3, 2021

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

imf interview models

There are various ways to conduct a selection interview. The International Monetary Fund uses a semi-structured interview combining different methods, which generally are the traditional, brain teaser, technical and behavioral event interview. Conducted by IMF’s specialists, their interview seek to analyze technical and behavioral aspects and the candidate’s problem-solving capacity.

So what are these different methods? In this article, we will explore each one of them, show you some questions that are typically asked in the interview stage and give you tips on how to tackle them.

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In pursuit of its mission, the OpenIGO network has support and guidance services, with the aim of highly increasing your chances of success in this competitive selection process. These services include revising your Fund Internship application documents (curriculum vitae/resume and cover letter) and a mock interview, as per the IMF Internships model. If you want to know more about it, access:

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Traditional Interview

This type of interview is known by many people, since it is widely used by organizations in their selection processes. It is also one of the oldest methods of formulating an interview, following an easily-identifiable pattern: the interviewers ask questions, which require short and direct answers, and seek to identify a specific element.

The questions posed to candidates are usually linked to elements listed on their CV/Resume, information on the application form and the organization.

See the following examples of the questions at this type of interview based on the testimonials of IMF candidates:

  • What’s your previous research experience?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years at the IMF?
  • Why are you a good fit for this position?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Could you briefly explain the research you did in your MSc/Ph.D?

This approach is demonstrated in the IMF interview model, in the form of questions about the candidate’s prior work experience, their area of study and specialization, as well as their course completion work (thesis and/or dissertation).

The specific aim of these questions is to understand aspects presented by candidates on documents submitted during the process, which may raise questions, and to evaluate certain knowledge from their area of study.

Brain Teaser Interview

This type of interview attracted more attention when Microsoft started to use it in their selection processes during the 1990s. The brain teaser interview (also known as a puzzle interview) is an interview method in which the candidate is faced with questions containing enigmas or problems, which should be solved immediately.

Some examples of this type of questions are presented below:

  • How many coins are thrown into the Fontana de Trevi per year?
  • How many people visit Christ the Redeemer in December?
  • If you could remove one country from each continent, which would it be and why?
  • 30% of the IMF staff is female. What travel advice do you have for them?

This interview method may also be used in IMF’s selection processes. The type of question is descriptive. Questions of this type are posed to the candidates, even though the related topics are not from their area of specialization, precisely because they do not want to evaluate their knowledge, but their problem-solving approach.

As is commonly known, there are many ways to solve problems. However, International Financial Institutions use neo-institutional economics to solve international development problems. Therefore, understanding the bases and principles of this approach is fundamental, for both the interview and the cover letter. In order to understand the principles and base concepts of neo-institutional economics, please consult our eBook.

OpenIGO can help you increase your chances of succeeding in this competitive selection process with our IMF Internship Mock Interview service!

Having a mock interview with a professional who has extensive experience and knowledge of the IMF Internship interview model will help you be better prepared for this phase, greatly increasing your chances of being selected for the desired vacancy.

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Technical Interview

The Technical Interview model is an interview method in which the candidate is faced with questions or problems regarding their area of expertise. For the IMF, candidates can expect high-level technical questions related to topics in finance and data analysis.

We have gathered real testimonials of candidates who have passed throughout the IMF interview process to provide a glance of what technical questions are asked in practice:

  • How one could model and explain risk in a stock market and understand its impact on the economy? – e.g. on GDP growth.
  • How do you compare two countries with deficits of 3% and 5% of GDP?
  • How would you compare two countries’ tax systems? Which types of data do you need?
  • How to reduce fiscal deficit?
  • Describe what kind of fiscal policy should be used when a country is facing inflation and why.

Behavioral Event Interview

The behavioral event interview (BEI) is the type of interview predominant on the intergovernmental selection processes, including IMF’s recruitment initiatives, and aims to assess candidates’ competencies. In other words, beyond specific knowledge or the capacity to solve certain problems, these interview questions aim to evaluate whether a candidate has the competencies an organization is looking for.

When responding to BEI questions, firstly the candidate should narrate the context in which the situation took place, then report the problem identified, the solution proposed, how it was implemented and the results achieved. This entire sequence should be included, describing the interviewee’s personal contribution to the process.

In other words, what the candidate should always bear in mind is that the main focus of the answers should be themselves. The interviewer needs to precisely identify what the candidate did, even though the situation is related to group work.

BEI Questions:

  • Give an example of a time when you had to be relatively quick in coming to a decision involving work. Did others approve of your plan of action?
  • Tell me about a difficult decision you’ve made in the last year. How did you weigh your options?
  • Have you ever faced a situation at work or in school where you believed that actions of an individual or team you were involved with were not in compliance with that institution’s ethics? What actions did you take?
  • Give me an example of an assignment that involved learning a new technical skill or development. Did you attempt to learn it yourself, or did you reach out to a teaching source?
  • Tell me about a time when it was necessary for you to communicate technical information to an audience. How did you develop your presentation?

In pursuit of its mission, the OpenIGO network has support and guidance services, with the aim of highly increasing your chances of success in this competitive selection process. These services include revising your Fund Internship application documents (curriculum vitae/resume and cover letter) and a mock interview, as per the IMF Internships model. If you want to know more about it, access:

IMF Internship Program 2021: Products & Services

Also, check out our products directed at IMF job opportunities:

IMF Jobs & Careers: Products & Services


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