Mod Note (Andy): This comment by @Northsider was posted in direct response to @Candor's post "My Private Equity Recruiting Process"
Having been through PE recruiting on both sides of the table now, I have a few reactions:
1. I heartily disagree with the idea that having a closed deal at all differentiates you as a candidate - especially the suggestion that you're better off postponing recruiting if you haven't announced a deal by recruiting season. If you feel unprepared for the process, that's one thing; and, insofar as navigating a deal from start-to-finish buttresses your understanding, I wouldn't contest that the experience is valuable. That said, being able to list the names of the parties involved because it's announced offers you no edge, ipso facto.
After interviewing dozens of candidates and debriefing with others on still more dozens, I can report that I've never once heard an interviewer credit a candidate for having completed a transaction. You're 7 months on the job: the lion's share of candidates (even from top groups) haven't had the opportunity to close a deal, and for many I interviewed, the deals they had announced weren't the ones in which they were most involved (due to double-staffing) or that were best to discuss in an interview setting. Literally the only time I heard deal experience mentioned by an interviewer was an occurrence in which a candidate had been staffed on a transaction involving one of our portfolio companies.