Deal Origination Specialist Interview Advice


I'm currently interviewing for a Deal Origination Specialist position at a middle market PE firm. I already had an initial call with a headhunter who reached out to me and sent in my resume. 
I am set to meet with the hiring Partner later this week (HH said he was impressed with my resume) and would appreciate any tips on how to approach the conversation.

Prior to the call I am refreshing via a 10-hour PE Udemy course and combing their website for all relevant firm / fund info.

The purpose of this post is to gain any insight from experienced PE guys into how high-level / granular I should expect this conversation to be. 

Thanks a lot to anyone who takes the time to respond with any advice / insight (no matter how general). 


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Comments (9)

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Mar 9, 2021 - 9:56am

The origination function (business development) varies from firm to firm.  How built out is the team / how senior are you?  I'm the sole BD guy at a LMM firm and my job mostly centers around maintaining a constant dialogue with bankers to make sure we're seeing relevant deals in the market and leading our internal deal review process.  Update calls with bankers, attending relevant conferences, and pushing deal partners along is the bulk of my responsibility.  I maintain our CRM, which has a ton of data, and helps to inform me where I should be spending my time. I also spend a good deal of time reading industry reports in our target sectors to help keep a pulse on macro happenings, trends, and help out with thesis development.  I think this is fairly typical in the LMM/MM but, some shops, especially at the junior levels, will have you just working on direct sourcing, i.e. cold calling CEOs all day.  

Mar 9, 2021 - 1:12pm

1.) Firm is well built out. (10+ years in existence). Team is well built out as well. 

2.) This is actually an entry level position with the potential for "significant upward mobility." My experience primarily is in busdev (cold calling Directors, VPs, C-suite), my degree is finance, and my personal network is strong. 

Thank you very much for commenting. The note on industry reports is especially insightful because before moving into busdev I had interviews lined up for a Research position in IB. I ultimately decided to get the busdev soft skills to supplement my background in finance and subsequently hop into fintech/finance from there. (But I do love reading industry reports / keeping a pulse.) 

Quick follow-up: where do you personally get industry reports from? (I am aware many firms put these out but would appreciate your personal practices.) 

I know this is a crazy long shot but if you'd be open to taking this private or a brief call I would be extremely grateful. Absolutely no worries if not - thanks again for the insight. 

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Mar 9, 2021 - 3:24pm

Most industry stuff I read is a combination of general m&a newsletters (things like pro rata, term sheet) and quarterly reports put out by MM banks (eg capstoneheadwaters just put out a q4 saas/cloud report).

Fortunate favors the bold, my friend - happy to connect for a call. If you want to post a throwaway email or something I'll shoot you a note.

Mar 11, 2021 - 12:10pm


Had the interview yesterday - it went well. Partner let me know up front that he had a bunch of questions to ask so there was little opportunity for casual chat. PM me if you know what the line of questioning was like. Will update if I get the role. Just sent a follow-up thank you. 

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Jun 5, 2021 - 1:46pm

Sorry I didn't see this until now. Hope you crushed the interview. A lot of the questioning was regarding:

- Knowledge of the firm's leadership and their top-down investment methodology

- Knowledge of platform investments made in the space recently

- Knowledge of PE investment in the recent past (I used Capstone reports to prep) 

- Understanding of the requirements of the role (being the face of the firm, etc.) 

Jun 7, 2021 - 8:47pm

No problem. I appreciate your response. I just recently had my 2nd interview. We touched on some of what you mentioned. They asked more about what type of work I've done as someone in PWM serving businesses. I think I did well. When I asked what the next step in the interview process would be, they said it would likely be the beer test (if they're allowed in this environment)

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