D.E. Shaw Background Check Process - SCREWED?

This post is directed towards those who work at D.E. Shaw or have friends who do:

I've received a job offer from the company and had talked with their HR department regarding the background check that I went through (transcripts, references, past employment, credit history) as I was doing the typical multiple round interview process with them to make sure everything was cleared because I had worked in India for two years; and in the past, there had been issues with verifying this. But the HR department said that everything was cleared by their 3rd party vendor so I was good to go.

Everything sounds good, right? Wrong.

Recently, I got involved with a serious misdemeanor (don't ask how) and I'm worried that D.E. Shaw is going to run another employment check after I accept my offer and begin employment. Does anyone know if they run another background check after you accept your offer or after you begin working? I think with investment banks, they do background checks after you accept the offer -- but is it different with D.E. Shaw given that they've already done a background check on me?



Comments (28)

Apr 4, 2009 - 12:52pm

I do not work at Shaw nor do I have friends that do - but generally speaking, all companies run criminal background checks at some point, and it does not sound like the bkgd check you went through 'transcripts, references, past employment, credit history' involved any sort of criminal history check.

Also, considering that most firms shop out their background-checking, I would not expect Shaw's practices to differ largely from 'generally speaking.'

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Apr 4, 2009 - 1:02pm

I went through on campus recruiting to secure a job offer. I applied for the job, interviewed, and was given an offer, pending a background check. This was in December 2008. After clearing the background check, I was extended an offer that December. I am still in school and expecting to graduate in May, and will be starting full time in September 2009. I was told by HR that I will need to have another background check performed because of the time lapse between my offer acceptance and the time I begin working. The time gap is 9 months, and so it seems appropriate that I am getting screened twice. I don't know your situation but if your time gap is shorter than mine, you may have dodged a bullet. Hopefully that's the case.

Last thought: If your court date is after your start date, then you may have lucked out as well. I BELIEVE, but am not certain, that your record will not reflect any charges until you are proven guilty. Good luck.

Apr 4, 2009 - 2:46pm

What was the charge? Even if it doesn't show up on this background check, if they find out later you could be just as screwed, if not more so. It is probably in your best interests to be honest.

That said, as 2n20 pointed out, if you haven't been convicted of anything there is nothing to tell - being indicted is not evidence of anything, despite what the media might like you to believe.

Apr 4, 2009 - 7:32pm

Yeah because im sure De Shaw employees are just lurking on WSO. Stop being paranoid people.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.
Apr 5, 2009 - 4:11pm

Yeah because im sure De Shaw employees are just lurking on WSO. Stop being paranoid people.

Its better to be safe than sorry, since he was posing the question "for DE Shaw employees" hes hoping some are, seems risky

Apr 10, 2009 - 11:36am

There was really no reason to disclose the company you'll be working for, or specific details about your background (working in India). Shaw's class isn't that big; you might as well have posted your full name in the OP.

Apr 20, 2009 - 5:55pm

I thought felonies were only relevant?

Misdemeanors are made available to the public? I don't remember anyone asking me if I was ever convicted of a misdemeanor during the interview? What would that be? Getting caught at house party with beer when you were 16? I wouldn't worry.

Jan 19, 2010 - 12:46am

this is a tuff one. I was arrested way back in the day and spent about 36 hours in manhattan jail. It was a "traffic incident" and was eventually pleaded down to less then a misdemeanor...so I didnt have to admit to it on resumes. Even so, it came up on a background check when I got a job prop trading at a large bank a few years ago. HR asked me about it, and I said it was not a misdemeanor or felony and therefore I thought I had no need to discuss it. They were cool with it, agreeed that i hadnt been dishonest, and said they just brought it up to see if I would attempt to lie about it or make up a ridiculous excuse.

My story isnt quite like yours, because I was never convicted of a misdemeanor, but I do think that if they do a check they will find it even if you have yet to be convicted. My advice might not be good, but i would suggest you dont mention it and if they find it you simply say that you havent been convicted of a misdemeanor so you didnt think you had to mention it.

...and it is really hard to give any advice unless I knew the exact crime..if it is a misdemeanor for driving with a suspended licence that is a lot different then a misdemeanor assault for example...

Jan 26, 2010 - 10:26pm

i believe you have to disclose any pending criminal charges, including misdemeanors, if you are given an offer of employment at a firm that is under certain government regulations, e.g. most registered broker/dealers. not sure if de shaw falls into this category, but in some states a company cannot deny you employment based on a misdemeanor charge or conviction that has no direct relation to performing your job duties or does not jeopardize the safety of the workplace.

so depending on what "serious misdemeanor" you are charged with, you may or may not be okay. for example, you may be safe with a DUI, but likely not with larceny, assault, etc. then again, they can always come up with some other BS reason to pull your offer outside a criminal history. either way, i'd keep quiet for now and hope it doesn't come up, and if/when it does, be upfront and honest and hope for understanding.

Jan 28, 2010 - 5:32pm

I'm not sure if a hedge fund like DE Shaw requires its' traders to have a Series 7 license, but you have to disclose all convictions and even court action against you to the SEC under penalty of perjury if you need to be registered.

Can you tell us about the nature of the misdemeanor? Did it involve fraud or theft from an employer? Or was it more like criminal trespass, getting into a bar-room brawl, DUI, or lacking car insurance? If it's not something that would concern the CFA or FINRA, I'll give you 80% odds that it won't affect your offer, but you need to disclose it in advance to HR.

Yeah. The telephone conversation will be a little awkward. But it will be a heckuvalot less awkward than them calling you after the criminal background check comes back- or worse, getting to the Series 7 questionnaire and admitting to a misdemeanor (or worse, lying on the questionnaire, getting slapped with a felony for perjury and becoming clearly unemployable in any professional discipline).

This is your FIRST job offer in finance. It's not your last. Be honest and straightforward, and worst comes to worst, you'll just have to spend a few years at another firm that's not quite as snobby about misdemeanors. In ten years, nobody will care about whether you worked at DE Shaw or Citadel and a misdemeanor from college probably won't be of interest to anyone if you stay out of trouble after that.

I would not be surprised if DE Shaw has a program that trawls through the internet aggregating mentions of their firm

Most banks have that. Don't worry about it. They'll figure it out anyway when the criminal background checks come back or it's time for the registration questionnaire. Best to act like you've learned whatever lesson it is you need to learn, fess up to the misdemeanor, and move on.

If an offer gets pulled, you can still recover from it and line up another job. But if you get fired, that's a lot harder to recover from.

Nov 10, 2010 - 9:46am

Hello guys, in texas reckless driving is driving 20 mph over. I got clocked right at 20 in a small town. I got arrested and charged with misdemeanor B. I got an offer should I just tell this upfront and let them know since court starts in nov. I think it will go down to a C easily or even thrown out. So my question is would a misdemeanor for driving hurt you for i banking.

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