Not getting Referrals

Hi everyone, 

I'm a sophomore going through recruiting. I've done about 15~ chats in this SA recruiting cycle. At the end of the call, I asked if there was anyone else at the firm that you recommend I speak with, and they said yes. I sent thank-you emails to all of them, but many of them (6 or so) did not respond. Does that mean the chat was bad? Or were they simply too busy and forgot about it? Also, do I follow up on this thank-you email and ask them again to connect me? I asked standard work-related questions (how you got to banking, why this firm, why this group, favorite deal experience, interview advice, etc) and outside-of-work questions (what do you like to do in your free time) and the majority of the chat was people talking about themselves, which I thought was the right thing to do in these calls. Maybe I'm overthinking it, but I'm starting to think the chats were bad. Is it common for analysts and associates not to refer you even if you asked in a call and mentioned it in the follow-up?

Thanks, everyone! Good luck in this cycle.

Comments (15)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

you should follow up but understand the context of the situation. You have a predetermined set of questions and you (consciously or not) are planning on asking them for a referral with little context of how the call really went. Unless you say the guy's name wrong, the call was probably just ok. you need to move the needle to great. 3 things here:

- Most calls fall under this "eh" category. So if the call was average and you don't really stand out to me, in my eyes this is where it dies. However, then someone asks can you refer me to others. If I don't like you or think you're better than other candidates, I'm not going to ask my colleagues to talk to you. You can send a follow up but I'm not going to talk to you. I can also sniff out what your strategy is (email 100 analysts and every call mention how you've spoken to 15 people). This turns people off because you're aiming for quantity not quality. DO NOT be that guy because analysts talk. So if people aren't passing you forward, ask yourself how good these calls are really going and how you've framed the ask

- people are busy. they're getting messages like this every week. Maybe the call was fine and all you need to do was follow up. If you follow up and they don't respond, the call did not go well enough.

- I hate when people ask about interview advice. Had a call recently when a kid just point blank asked how the call was going. Instant ding because I just learned you have 0 EQ and I wouldn't want to stand next to you let alone work with you for 15-18 hours. Ask questions about the industry and take the time to show you did your HW. if your questions are generic I won't remember you. 

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  • 1
wherdf, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I do not understand why it is wrong to ask for interview advice. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

it's preference. if I know you already or you're a kid from my uni, I think it would be ok. But if you're cold reaching out and mid call you go "so how am I doing/how can I ask better questions" then you've completely lost the plot. I'm evaluating you in some capacity to determine if I should pass you along to other analysts, push you to HR, or do anything. If you don't know how to formulate basic questions/lead a call, I'm not putting my reputation out for you

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daemontargaryen, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What's your advice for a good call? I usually have a set of pre-determined questions that I ask, customized to the person I talk to (so if FSG, I'd ask about what sort of sponsors they are working on (and what verticals they focus on), ask them about a deal and then ask more questions about said deal, and current trends in the market with relation to PE and interest rates). I usually also try to focus on something non-banking related (i.e uni sports, NYC, or one case movies) when I start the call to try to establish a better connection.

I still feel most of calls are meh, any advice?

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

eah so you def are on the right spot. Most calls will not be feel like oh wow this is amazing because the analysts is squeezing this in but the ingredients to get it to a good point are similar to what you mentioned 

1) Set up 3 periods of the call. Intro - shoot the shit right away. ex: Hey how r u P2: good man wbu p1: not too bad I'm crushed Brady left. he was my guy and now my fantasy team might be in trouble next year. If the guy is into sports, you have an inroad right there. So after you sense that is coming to an end, transition to period 2: well thx for connecting I'm xyzzy going to this school I've done these internships and I want banking. then ask your questions that are specific. deal flow, deals they've done, industry questions, etc. you should be thinking about these for each person. and  when they answer don't just go ok yeah exactly (next question). try to get a dialogue going with your own input. if you can't say anything back, then most likely your question is absolutely shit. 

2)  After you've done your industry questions, ask personal questions. What they look to do on the weekend. How their group culture is. why they like FSG, etc. This is a soft transitioner to the ask. Whatever they say about culture you come back and say "I can appreciate the culture because when I was on xyzzy team the culture was great so I wanted that coming into banking. With that said, can you make any recommendations to other people to talk to. Only do this if you felt the call fell on the 80% mark of being good. If they didn't seem interested or even attempted to ask about you, then don't. 

3) The only reason you're asking to talk to other people is because you aren't aiming high enough. when u get w a director or MD they will 95% of the time refer you to analysts without you even asking and now the analysts has to take the call. 

Look, the war isn't won over 1 call. you need to be taking 100000 small steps to move the trophy to your corner. do this and you'll be in great shape

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Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

1st year analyst here who is one of the main recruiting captains leading SA recruitment at my bank. Here's my take - probably a disappointing one, but this is frankly what goes down at my firm all the time.

I've been averaging 10-15 cold emails per day since the beginning of January and have had 6 other analysts ask me to talk to kids they like in the last 48 hours. Every time I get on the phone with a sophomore, I get asked for someone else to talk to, and frankly, myself and other analysts on my team feel pressured to say yes / "let me think of someone good for you to speak with" on the spot since saying no feels extremely awkward. Is it rude for us to lie and ghost? Yes, but frankly, it is what it is. It's not a question I appreciate ppl asking tbh - if I liked you enough, I'd suggest someone to chat with myself. Getting someone else to talk to you requires me to go ask someone to spend 30 minutes of their day chatting with you when we're all incredibly busy, and I don't want to make someone on my team spend their time on someone I thought was just average, which makes up the vast majority of candidates.

I'll sometimes refer sophomores to others if I vibe with the person, but 95% of kids I chat with are entirely indistinguishable from one another. Everyone asks the same questions, and I spend 25 out of the 30 minutes talking solely about myself. You learn a lot me about me, but I still barely know you.

Unless you have a solid resume / have great energy over the phone / seem capable of even obtaining an interview and then getting the offer, then it's just a waste of time tbh.

Quaneaser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm personally not really a fan when people do this. Mainly, because yes I can ask my analysts/associates to talk to someone BUT I know they are already cranking on a bunch of stuff and at the end of the day they are really just doing a favor for me, not for you - so I question how effective this is. If a candidate is really strong and I think they have a chance in the interview process then I'll connect them with someone who is influential in the selection process (school captain, SA recruiting lead, etc.).

The thing about networking is that everyone has their own preferences so it's just a numbers game. Some hate when people attach a resume (I like it/need it to even consider a call), some don't like when people ask about the interview process (it's fine with me), etc. If someone doesn't refer you just keep reaching out to other people - the reality is you need to get to the right people otherwise you are wasting your time (i.e. you need to get your resume in front of someone who is influential in the hiring process - the set of bankers that lead recruitment from your school or a banker that has clout within the organization). You're wasting your time if you network with a bunch of disparate people who aren't involved in recruiting and/or don't have the reputation to have their recommendations taken seriously.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov

really wish I had read this when I was going through the process. great advice looking at it from the receiving end now. 

Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

looks like you straight up interviewed them. that's the questions right from the IB fit interviews.

Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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