There is something you need to know upfront about lateral hires into Investment Banks upfront…they are NOT an efficient process. There is no streamlined number of stages and timetable that everyone follows and that will get you an answer within a time frame that you expect.
Most of the information on the internet about Investment Banking hiring tends to be about analyst and intern hiring. Occasionally you may read something about Associate hiring out of MBAs. These processes are well defined and have definite goals in mind. A certain number of positions have to be filled and there is a definite start date for successful candidates. The lateral hiring process is a different beast altogether.
Why is the process so inefficient
There are a few reasons why the lateral hiring process is so inefficient and it is probably worth understand them so you don’t get frustrated when everyone you meet seems incredibly keen to hire you…but then you hear nothing for weeks.
- The analyst hiring process has a well defined structure and solid deadlines
- Investment banks tend to make agreements with each other about when offers are made so that prospective employees can’t hold out for better offers and so that the process doesn’t get too competitive with banks recruiting earlier and earlier
- There is also a defined interview period and application close date
- The fact that investment banks need to sort through candidates, have several rounds of interviews and make offers at a specific time means that they are forced to be efficient
- The lateral hiring process doesn’t have this external impetus to be efficient
- There is no set date that laterals need to start by and no need for banks to make a firm offer or rejection to candidates
- Banks will often keep a candidate they like on the hook while still looking around to see whether there is one out there that they like better
- This lack of structure means that the process can become long, drawn out and frustrating for you the candidate…
What can YOU do?
Honestly doing the two things below will help you not only navigate the process but it will stop you becoming dejected as well:
- Be patient…sometimes a decision maker is out of town or there is someone that needs to meet you who is not available…don’t ever force them into making a decision
- Don’t pin your hopes on one bank alone…apply everywhere that has an open position. It is much easier to transfer between banks once you have some experience under your belt
There is no way you can hurry up the process so make sure you take a step back and don’t get too worked up about it. It may be days or even weeks between interviews as banks evaluate different candidates. You may not be exactly what the bank is looking for so they may keep you as a back up. Note that banks rarely find exactly what they are looking for so don’t be too pessimistic about not fitting the mould perfectly.
Always keep your options open. Don’t get too set on one bank or one team. You will never know exactly what that bank or that team is looking for and you may find your perfect job, team and bank where you don’t expect it.