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This is a question for you guys who are now in the industry, but I'm sure most people can relate.

The situation: You're an undergrad looking for a job/internship. You reach out to an alum from your school at a firm you would absolutely love to work for asking to speak with them about the position and their experience with the firm. You attach your resume in the initial email, and you have nothing to hide on your resume (good stats, good experience, and don't look like an anti-social dude). They respond promptly within a day or so with an incredibly encouraging email "Thanks for reaching out. I would love to talk about the firm and the opportunity. Let me know what times you are free and we can set something up" or something along those lines. You're on cloud 9, way overly optimistic, but nonetheless. You respond giving a bunch of times (you are very flexible of course) that work for you. A day goes by, 2, 3, nothing. You wait a week and send the person an email "Hi XXX, I would still love to speak with you about your work at XXX if you are available. Let me know what would work best." Something like this. Another week goes by, nothing. If you are really persistent (and want to make yourself feel annoying) you maybe send another email a few weeks later, alas, you don't hear another word.

I won't lie, this has happened to me as much as the rest, and it is frustrating to say the least. So my question to those guys in the industry who get regular messages from kids at their alma mater, is what causes this to happen?

Sure, you're busy, and it is totally understandable if you forget to respond to an annoying kid's email, but I guess I've never understood how the correspondence can die so quickly- I think it is pretty tough to genuinely make someone not like you over a few generic emails.

Anyways, there it is. This is not actually a rant, as this hasn't happened to me in a while, but I just finally reconnected a person where this was the situation, and it got me thinking.

Thoughts?

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Comments (22)

  • F. Ro Jo's picture

    You're making him make a decision. That's extra work. Take the work off his plate and suggest a time and an alternative.

  • In reply to F. Ro Jo
    Black Jack's picture

    F. Ro Jo:
    You're making him make a decision. That's extra work. Take the work off his plate and suggest a time and an alternative.

    I would disagree. And of course you're entitled to an opinion. He/She is most definitely more busy than you are. Better chance than not the times you suggest wouldn't work for them. I would always err on the side of flexibility rather then sounding demanding. Something like "I am available on Thursday and Friday before noon- let me know what time works best for you" as opposed to "how is Friday at 3pm? Otherwise I am also free at 4:30." Maybe personal preference though.

  • In reply to Black Jack
    F. Ro Jo's picture

    Black Jack:
    F. Ro Jo:
    You're making him make a decision. That's extra work. Take the work off his plate and suggest a time and an alternative.

    I would disagree. And of course you're entitled to an opinion. He/She is most definitely more busy than you are. Better chance than not the times you suggest wouldn't work for them. I would always err on the side of flexibility rather then sounding demanding. Something like "I am available on Thursday and Friday before noon- let me know what time works best for you" as opposed to "how is Friday at 3pm? Otherwise I am also free at 4:30." Maybe personal preference though.

    Can def see why some would prefer this. Just not me I guess. And if it hasn't been working for the OP... maybe it's time to try another approach?

  • kidflash's picture

    I've had this happen before.

    Figured they just thought my resume wasn't strong enough.

  • In reply to F. Ro Jo
    Black Jack's picture

    F. Ro Jo:
    Black Jack:
    F. Ro Jo:
    You're making him make a decision. That's extra work. Take the work off his plate and suggest a time and an alternative.

    I would disagree. And of course you're entitled to an opinion. He/She is most definitely more busy than you are. Better chance than not the times you suggest wouldn't work for them. I would always err on the side of flexibility rather then sounding demanding. Something like "I am available on Thursday and Friday before noon- let me know what time works best for you" as opposed to "how is Friday at 3pm? Otherwise I am also free at 4:30." Maybe personal preference though.

    Can def see why some would prefer this. Just not me I guess. And if it hasn't been working for the OP... maybe it's time to try another approach?

    This scenario usually happens maybe once every..20 successful responses? Not ready to change strategies on that sort of number. It is just an occurrence that gets me thinking to no avail.

    @Kidflash- I might think that, but I usually attach the resume with an initial email, so they have had the chance to see the resume and have already chosen to respond. I also (not to sound cocky in the slightest) have good enough stats where it would be pretty ridiculous to decide it wasn't even worth a 30 minute informal phone chat (well before an interview stage).

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  • ricottacheese's picture

    don't rely on a few connections to get you in. some people just won't respond because they don't want to - end of story. follow up every few weeks and if they get back to you, great, if not, you should be doing this same thing with plenty of other connections and eventually a few will be responsive.

  • In reply to ricottacheese
    kidflash's picture

    ricottacheese:
    don't rely on a few connections to get you in. some people just won't respond because they don't want to - end of story. follow up every few weeks and if they get back to you, great, if not, you should be doing this same thing with plenty of other connections and eventually a few will be responsive.

    this.

    I've had this same occurence happen to me once, and I followed up once every 3 weeks or so for about 4 months. He finally got back to me a month ago, and after our conversation, he told me he would put in a good word for me with his team.

  • In reply to F. Ro Jo
    SirTradesaLot's picture

    F. Ro Jo:
    You're making him make a decision. That's extra work. Take the work off his plate and suggest a time and an alternative.

    I agree, this is better.

    adapt or die:
    What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

    MY BLOG

  • ct banker's picture

    So I did the same thing, he said call at this time I did and left a message. I emailed him back and he suggested another time to call and I did so and no response, continued to email him again and he did not respond so I gave up. It so happens that a month later after no communication he emailed me back saying he has time the next day to talk. I maybe wrong, but if he responded positively the first time im sure he is not trying to dog you, but maybe he is either really busy or looked over your email by accident. Try another email or just call him.

  • PuppyBackedSecurities's picture

    To be honest, some people just don't care. I routinely take calls/respond to emails from people trying to break-in and genuinely do what I can to help, because I remember how hard it was and that is just how I roll.

    However, most all the analysts/associates in my group think I am weird for doing so - so much that they will literally ask why I would waste my time (this is more prevalent from kids who went to HYP, Ivies, Targets, etc.) In their opinion, its all about school, GPA, is this person normal, and can they interview, and if a person doesn't have w, x, y, z - no phone call or email will fix that.

    That being said, it is important to know the basic steps of how things work. How to ask for an informational interview etc.

    Now and then I will slack and take a while to respond if I get really busy, but for the most part there is a 50% chance I will have time on a given week.

  • MinneBanker's picture

    This is a great thread. In my experience, people are very willing to talk (especially after they initially offer a warm response) but they just get busy and forget your email among the 10000 emails they get in a day. They may forget a second time. Then a third.

    I think the hardest part is trying to get in touch with them without being annoying...fine line.

  • In reply to MinneBanker
    gdxx's picture

    When I first started full-time, I would enthusiastically respond to every recruiting email I got from undergrads, knowing that I was in their shoes not long ago and wished someone paid some attention to me.

    As time goes by, my response rate has dropped significantly while the barrage of emails only increased (I got to a lot of recruiting events and hand out my card when I interview candidates)

    Here's what happens when your email hits my inbox (times are arbitrary).

    You email me at 11AM on a Monday morning.
    Things are slow on my end. I've been reading the news since I got in. I recognize your name as the kid who asked a good question at the info session or you mentioned that one of my analyst friends referred you. Or we're from the same hometown. Or we both did the same extra-curricular in college. Whatever. Something piques my interest and I feel like we might get along. I email back immediately to set up a time that afternoon when I know things will still be slow.

    You email me at 2PM on a Wednesday
    I just pulled an allnighter last night and we're still working through the day to get the deck out to a Board. I haven't had lunch yet. As I'm typing you a response saying this week might not work, I get four emails from the team asking why a number doesn't tie. I discard the draft and work on more pressing matters. 10 hours later, the book is finally out and I wrapped up other requests, I could respond to your email or I could get the first little bit of shut-eye in 48 hours. Your email goes into my "Recruitment" folder and you don't hear from me until you follow-up.

    You spell my name wrong or half way through the email, your font changes.
    I know you just copy and pasted that from some other email. I could respond to you, but why bother when you put so little time into it and I got four other people waiting to hear back from me.

    You email me and say you're free at 3-4pm on Friday and 8-9am on Monday to chat.
    This is the most likely scenario actually. I could try to schedule you in, but I'm on a bunch of live deals and I know things are going to flare up at that time. If a MD is hovering around my cube waiting for a draft, I can't drop everything to call you. So we're going to reschedule multiple times and it'll be frustrating for everyone. Instead, I'm just going to ignore you and hope that when you follow-up, you give me less ridiculous times to call you. Nota bene: bankers get in between 9 and 10. Don't even think about scheduling something at 8:30.

    You email me at 2AM on Saturday night, or any late nights/weekends for that matter
    If you only read one thing from my long response, read this. NEVER, EVER, EVER EMAIL BANKERS AT ODD HOURS. We have blackberries and weekend emails means sudden staffings, emergency meetings, more comments for that painful deal. When we see that stupid blinking red light when we're out with friends at a bar, we panic and envision the worst case scenario - saying goodbye to friends we haven't seen in weeks, hauling our drunk selves back to the office, and fixing a model the first year associate refed out because they don't understand circularity. Then we realize it's some undergrad brat trying to network with us. We read your email with hatred and then go back to drinking our sorrows away. Along the same vein, when setting up coffee chats, don't do it on the weekend. Why would I spend my precious weekend helping undergraduates I don't know?!

    So after all that, here are the key take-aways
    - Banker response rates are very random. Don't take it personally that we don't respond. Some people don't respond period, so it's us, not you. Some people get busy and forget to respond, again, it's us, not you.
    - Remember that recruiting is just 1% of a banker's workload. This is something I didn't understand early on in recruiting. I thought people just sat there waiting for my emails. We get hundreds of deal-related emails every day. Recruitment doesn't affect our bonus and ranking for the most part. Those of us who are actively involved do it because we care. After a recruiting trip, I'm always staying up really late in my hotel room trying to catch-up on work that piled up during the day. The next morning, I'm flying back on a 6am and going straight to the office to do more work. Try to understand that.
    - Nothing wrong with following-up. It helps us remember your name. I'd do it two more times max and then just move on to someone else
    - Say this, "I understand that you are very busy and that these times may not work for you. Please let me know and I will work around your schedule. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak to me." Fact: We love hearing how busy we are.
    - Mention your background in your email.
    - Be flexible, give large chunks of times that you're available

  • In reply to gdxx
    Anacott_CEO's picture

    gdxx:
    When I first started full-time, I would enthusiastically respond to every recruiting email I got from undergrads, knowing that I was in their shoes not long ago and wished someone paid some attention to me.

    As time goes by, my response rate has dropped significantly while the barrage of emails only increased (I got to a lot of recruiting events and hand out my card when I interview candidates)

    Here's what happens when your email hits my inbox (times are arbitrary).

    You email me at 11AM on a Monday morning.
    Things are slow on my end. I've been reading the news since I got in. I recognize your name as the kid who asked a good question at the info session or you mentioned that one of my analyst friends referred you. Or we're from the same hometown. Or we both did the same extra-curricular in college. Whatever. Something piques my interest and I feel like we might get along. I email back immediately to set up a time that afternoon when I know things will still be slow.

    You email me at 2PM on a Wednesday
    I just pulled an allnighter last night and we're still working through the day to get the deck out to a Board. I haven't had lunch yet. As I'm typing you a response saying this week might not work, I get four emails from the team asking why a number doesn't tie. I discard the draft and work on more pressing matters. 10 hours later, the book is finally out and I wrapped up other requests, I could respond to your email or I could get the first little bit of shut-eye in 48 hours. Your email goes into my "Recruitment" folder and you don't hear from me until you follow-up.

    You spell my name wrong or half way through the email, your font changes.
    I know you just copy and pasted that from some other email. I could respond to you, but why bother when you put so little time into it and I got four other people waiting to hear back from me.

    You email me and say you're free at 3-4pm on Friday and 8-9am on Monday to chat.
    This is the most likely scenario actually. I could try to schedule you in, but I'm on a bunch of live deals and I know things are going to flare up at that time. If a MD is hovering around my cube waiting for a draft, I can't drop everything to call you. So we're going to reschedule multiple times and it'll be frustrating for everyone. Instead, I'm just going to ignore you and hope that when you follow-up, you give me less ridiculous times to call you. Nota bene: bankers get in between 9 and 10. Don't even think about scheduling something at 8:30.

    You email me at 2AM on Saturday night, or any late nights/weekends for that matter
    If you only read one thing from my long response, read this. NEVER, EVER, EVER EMAIL BANKERS AT ODD HOURS. We have blackberries and weekend emails means sudden staffings, emergency meetings, more comments for that painful deal. When we see that stupid blinking red light when we're out with friends at a bar, we panic and envision the worst case scenario - saying goodbye to friends we haven't seen in weeks, hauling our drunk selves back to the office, and fixing a model the first year associate refed out because they don't understand circularity. Then we realize it's some undergrad brat trying to network with us. We read your email with hatred and then go back to drinking our sorrows away. Along the same vein, when setting up coffee chats, don't do it on the weekend. Why would I spend my precious weekend helping undergraduates I don't know?!

    So after all that, here are the key take-aways
    - Banker response rates are very random. Don't take it personally that we don't respond. Some people don't respond period, so it's us, not you. Some people get busy and forget to respond, again, it's us, not you.
    - Remember that recruiting is just 1% of a banker's workload. This is something I didn't understand early on in recruiting. I thought people just sat there waiting for my emails. We get hundreds of deal-related emails every day. Recruitment doesn't affect our bonus and ranking for the most part. Those of us who are actively involved do it because we care. After a recruiting trip, I'm always staying up really late in my hotel room trying to catch-up on work that piled up during the day. The next morning, I'm flying back on a 6am and going straight to the office to do more work. Try to understand that.
    - Nothing wrong with following-up. It helps us remember your name. I'd do it two more times max and then just move on to someone else
    - Say this, "I understand that you are very busy and that these times may not work for you. Please let me know and I will work around your schedule. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak to me." Fact: We love hearing how busy we are.
    - Mention your background in your email.
    - Be flexible, give large chunks of times that you're available

    This is by far the best answer you could have hoped to get, Black Jack. +1, gdxx.

  • In reply to gdxx
    Black Jack's picture

    gdxx:
    When I first started full-time, I would enthusiastically respond to every recruiting email I got from undergrads, knowing that I was in their shoes not long ago and wished someone paid some attention to me.

    As time goes by, my response rate has dropped significantly while the barrage of emails only increased (I got to a lot of recruiting events and hand out my card when I interview candidates)

    Here's what happens when your email hits my inbox (times are arbitrary).

    You email me at 11AM on a Monday morning.
    Things are slow on my end. I've been reading the news since I got in. I recognize your name as the kid who asked a good question at the info session or you mentioned that one of my analyst friends referred you. Or we're from the same hometown. Or we both did the same extra-curricular in college. Whatever. Something piques my interest and I feel like we might get along. I email back immediately to set up a time that afternoon when I know things will still be slow.

    You email me at 2PM on a Wednesday
    I just pulled an allnighter last night and we're still working through the day to get the deck out to a Board. I haven't had lunch yet. As I'm typing you a response saying this week might not work, I get four emails from the team asking why a number doesn't tie. I discard the draft and work on more pressing matters. 10 hours later, the book is finally out and I wrapped up other requests, I could respond to your email or I could get the first little bit of shut-eye in 48 hours. Your email goes into my "Recruitment" folder and you don't hear from me until you follow-up.

    You spell my name wrong or half way through the email, your font changes.
    I know you just copy and pasted that from some other email. I could respond to you, but why bother when you put so little time into it and I got four other people waiting to hear back from me.

    You email me and say you're free at 3-4pm on Friday and 8-9am on Monday to chat.
    This is the most likely scenario actually. I could try to schedule you in, but I'm on a bunch of live deals and I know things are going to flare up at that time. If a MD is hovering around my cube waiting for a draft, I can't drop everything to call you. So we're going to reschedule multiple times and it'll be frustrating for everyone. Instead, I'm just going to ignore you and hope that when you follow-up, you give me less ridiculous times to call you. Nota bene: bankers get in between 9 and 10. Don't even think about scheduling something at 8:30.

    You email me at 2AM on Saturday night, or any late nights/weekends for that matter
    If you only read one thing from my long response, read this. NEVER, EVER, EVER EMAIL BANKERS AT ODD HOURS. We have blackberries and weekend emails means sudden staffings, emergency meetings, more comments for that painful deal. When we see that stupid blinking red light when we're out with friends at a bar, we panic and envision the worst case scenario - saying goodbye to friends we haven't seen in weeks, hauling our drunk selves back to the office, and fixing a model the first year associate refed out because they don't understand circularity. Then we realize it's some undergrad brat trying to network with us. We read your email with hatred and then go back to drinking our sorrows away. Along the same vein, when setting up coffee chats, don't do it on the weekend. Why would I spend my precious weekend helping undergraduates I don't know?!

    So after all that, here are the key take-aways
    - Banker response rates are very random. Don't take it personally that we don't respond. Some people don't respond period, so it's us, not you. Some people get busy and forget to respond, again, it's us, not you.
    - Remember that recruiting is just 1% of a banker's workload. This is something I didn't understand early on in recruiting. I thought people just sat there waiting for my emails. We get hundreds of deal-related emails every day. Recruitment doesn't affect our bonus and ranking for the most part. Those of us who are actively involved do it because we care. After a recruiting trip, I'm always staying up really late in my hotel room trying to catch-up on work that piled up during the day. The next morning, I'm flying back on a 6am and going straight to the office to do more work. Try to understand that.
    - Nothing wrong with following-up. It helps us remember your name. I'd do it two more times max and then just move on to someone else
    - Say this, "I understand that you are very busy and that these times may not work for you. Please let me know and I will work around your schedule. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak to me." Fact: We love hearing how busy we are.
    - Mention your background in your email.
    - Be flexible, give large chunks of times that you're available

    +1 - this is what I was hoping someone would post.

  • A Fellow Linguist's picture

    Fantastic, gdxx! Thanks for taking the time to write all of that out - it's great to receive some insight into the lives of actual bankers.

  • EtherBinge's picture

    Kudos to gdxx for the awesome reply.

    Extra emphasis on the third-to-last bullet point in the Takeaways section. I find adding that has helped me quite a bit.

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