How is Goldman able to get good candidates???

From my understanding, GS is one of the latest to recruit, has very short and behavioral interviews (3 20 min interviews in SD). How, if at all, are they able to get good candidates if they barely screen candidates? It seems like a crapshoot. At my HYPSM, the kids who go to Goldman have very little (if any) interest in finance or any academic-orientation at all. How does this happen?

Comments (18)

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 9, 2022 - 3:57pm

While their general applications open extremely late, majority of candidates that get in go through accelerated process such as Possibilities Summit, Insight Day, Emerging Leader Series, winning their Case Competitions, and others. 

As for their SD, it is indeed 3 20min interviews that are largely if not completely behavioural. One might (rightly) argue that this is a poor method to judge a candidate holistically and thoroughly, but they are Goldman so who knows; interviewers are probably highly trained and adept at spotting promising candidates or something along those lines. 

Most Helpful
May 9, 2022 - 4:54pm
Barney_Stinson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Was thinking this recently as well but I think it's important to note that Goldman essentially has their pick of the litter for candidates. Networking is the most important thing here. While the SD is 3, 20 min behavioral interviews. Most candidates that get offers here have already been in front of GS bankers long before. For diversity, they run their 5-week long program and pick the top candidates from there after vetting them for a month. For the regular timeline, all candidates are getting "easy" / behavioral interviews meaning that those who secure offers are those who are able to really differentiate themselves with a unique story (similar to top MBA admissions) and those who have been networking extensively so that GS already knows they are qualified technically and have a good profile and so the SD is more of a check-the-box. At the end of the day, IB is not technically challenging so they are aiming for candidates with unique and impressive backgrounds which are taken from behavioral interviews, networking, and month-long programs. Just my guess / my $0.02

  • Intern in IB - Gen
May 10, 2022 - 12:07pm

I did the diversity program and they def did not "vet" us for a month from what my contact said. Essentially it was a glorified extended info session that resulted in them basically just picking off of resumes anyways

May 11, 2022 - 3:34am
Barney_Stinson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm familiar with it as well. You are given the opportunity to network and make yourself notable throughout 5 weeks, if you think you can't make yourself stand out and use it to your advantage you're wrong. Yes they don't have a obvious "vetting" process but it's all led by HR and full time employees so you can definitely secure a first round if you are smart, network, and show you are prepared. That's how they vet, they give you 5 weeks to make yourself noticeable

May 9, 2022 - 5:39pm
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

While this may seem hard to believe, GS behavioral questions are leagues ahead of other banks in terms of difficulty. It's not "Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses" it's a combination of very specific questions regarding your past and business situational scenarios that you have to give your solution to. It requires quick critical thinking and the ability to articulate complex solutions with 0 notice. If it sounds like I'm shilling for GS, I'm not. I despised their interviews because of how difficult it was, but understand GS is GS and they have to maintain a standard.

Array

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  • VP in S&T - Other
May 9, 2022 - 9:32pm

Any specific examples of difficult behaviourals?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 9, 2022 - 6:48pm

Most junior talent is very similar across the street. The main difference is from seniors so my point Is that GS isn't getting the best candidates, they get normal candidates like every other bank.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
May 9, 2022 - 6:59pm

Agreed, I lateralled to a top group at MS (M&A/Menlo) from a "lower" BB and think that the average analyst is similar (or even slightly worse) than my previous bank's. I think the best analysts in my new group are pretty equal to the best in my old group but the worst are wayyyy worse.

  • VP in IB - Cov
May 10, 2022 - 1:23am

I'd say they get some of the absolute strongest on the street but also so of the absolute worst (mostly nepotism). Friends there in 4 different group have said the bottom 3rd of analyst are generally just very well connected and awful analysts but still get to GS and decent bonuses becuase you don't want to piss off their daddy and have them take their business elsewhere. To be fair, every bank has this to some degree but hear its really bad at GS.

  • VP in IB-M&A
May 10, 2022 - 8:42am

I'd say they get some of the absolute strongest on the street but also so of the absolute worst (mostly nepotism). Friends there in 4 different group have said the bottom 3rd of analyst are generally just very well connected and awful analysts but still get to GS and decent bonuses becuase you don't want to piss off their daddy and have them take their business elsewhere. To be fair, every bank has this to some degree but hear its really bad at GS.

It's always "so-and-so's son/daughter used to work for GS Natural Resources" lol

May 11, 2022 - 4:24am
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Goldman's reputation enables the company to convert a higher % of those it extends offers to. Whether that translates to them having the best analysts is a much more difficult question to answer. The reality is that one's resume still plays a very significant role in the decision on which candidates they give offers. While 3x 20 minute behavioral interviews seem insignificant, they are really basing their decision on 60 minutes of interviews plus multiple years worth of academic performance + personal pursuits (or alternatively, who the person's parents are). Whether this is the best methodology or not is hard to say.

I will say that it is very difficult to predict who is going to be a strong analyst even after 10+ hours of interviewing. The skills that make someone a successful analyst are hard to test in an interview setting or determine from a resume. How does someone perform on little to no sleep? Have they performed well academically because they are very bright or is it because they put in long hours to master the material? Until the analyst is in that live situation, no one really knows how they will perform. People who rely heavily on academic achievement for hiring decisions are betting that academics are the best predictor of performance. Other interviewers might make the decision based on the candidates grit or tenacity.

So is Goldman's process 'bad'? Hard to say. I would think they wouldn't keep repeating it if it weren't yielding good results, so it is probably working out well for them.

Mentorship with CompBanker: https://www.RossettiAdvisors.com

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May 11, 2022 - 12:15pm
Purple9988, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The contrapositive is EBs - which run their processes early, are highly technical, and overall have less of these accelerator programs (like insight days, etc). This is why EBs will continue to acquire the top talent at the analyst level (I have no idea about MBA hires so I won't comment on them).

You could make the case that laterals are more likely to go for GS, but I don't really know if this is the case. With lower total comp, the same exits, and more hours (compared to EVR/CVP/LAZ/Moelis) the only advantage would be branding outside of finance. 

  • Analyst 2 in PE - Other
May 11, 2022 - 10:03pm

When working there it wasn't the candidates that were impressive. It was the shear amount of social pressure to be the best that was impressive.

To this day I can not believe a culture like that can exist. The thought of people literally crying about making mistakes sounds so stupid now but it was so common (but this is probably the same across banks to different degrees).

Place is truly a cult but unparalleled when looking to start a career.

  • Associate 2 in PE - Growth
May 12, 2022 - 8:58am

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