Interviewing for exit opps while working in Equity Research - How?

I had a question regarding interviewing while still working in equity research (or credit for that matter - hours/job not that different at the end of the day).

Let's say I want to make a move from my current job as an ER analyst to something else - me specifically, the buyside, but this question would hold for corp dev roles, MBA interviews, and pretty much anything else as well.

How do you find the time to actually go interview? I'm not saying reaching out to headhunters/networking in general - I am asking how do you get OUT of the office during the day to interview? As many people know, you are TIED to your desk during the day in ER.

It is different than banking, where it can be encouraged to go interview & it's much more open to talk about with peers/Associates - and you can get out of the office for 1-2 hours if you make the time up at night. And in ER you are being "groomed" to become a sr analyst to cover stocks (take that with a grain of salt), vs. hitting your 2 year mark and leaving for the buyside or an MBA. Additionally, in ER, if the market is open, you are there & you are taking calls/doing your job/making money for your bank. Even before/after the market closes, it's pretty tough to sneak away (at the junior level specifically).

Let's say you land 1st round interviews at legitimate funds....you are going to have multiple interviews where your investment style/fit for that firms' culture is vetted. You can only make up the "sick/doctor" excuse once or twice before your group catches on.

So more fundamentally - my life would be SO MUCH easier if I could say to my seniors:

"I have been working here for x months/years/whatever, and I respect the hell out of your group, but this is not the right fit for me. I have always had a passion for investing [or whatever your true passion is] and at the end of the day I'd like to work as hard as I can at what makes me truly happy. I'd like to start interviewing for these job opportunities. At the same time I will absolutely 100% make sure this does not affect my day-to-day responsibilities with my job here. I wanted to let you know this as I feel being honest and upfront with the people I respect & work with is the best thing to do in this situation."

Here's the fundamental problem: how can you tell if your Seniors would be receptive to this strategy (rather than having to interview behind their back)? I would also like to do this as I am an honest person. At the end of the day, I'm going to do whatever it takes to do what I'm passionate about, but I'd like to do this in an honest manner. No one likes to feel like they've been duped & I know this is exactly how they'd feel. At the same time, they hold all the cards, and if I tell them I'd like to leave, no matter how nice my Seniors are, they could feel offended & I could easily be out the door the next day.

Any help here, or stories you can draw upon from friends/colleagues who were in similar situations and didn't know how to feel out the situation (whether your group is extremely nice & polite like mine or the opposite) would be much appreciated. Thank you for you help.

Comments (8)

Nov 23, 2012

PM me.

SemperAugustus

Nov 23, 2012

If you aren't sure if your seniors are okay with telling them you'd like to interview elsewhere, then they are unlikely to be okay with telling them this. It would raise all kinds of doubt in their minds. Every time they see shoddy work - "is it because he's not interested in being here? we could remedy a lack of knowledge, but not a lack of motivation". Every time they think about who to promote or to give a good vs a shit task, they will down-prioritise you. And they will be reminded that you don't want to be there which - at best - is a neutral thought. They want to focus on their work, not have a nagging doubt about you.

I know the feeling of wanting to be honest very well and have been in similar situations twice. The first time I got along so well with my boss that he knew I was unhappy and why, and started joking about my interviews. On the other hand, that meant zero effort at trying to remedy what I was unhappy about.

Also, even if you get along very well with your boss, that decision would have to take other people into account - the boss of your boss who don't know you may be far less understanding. There's no way the person you confide in can keep it secret. You're probably a young guy like me and the desire for honesty and open cards is overwhelming, but it would be very likely to hurt you.

You should talk to a recruiter. The recruiter should understand the situation. He should find ways to manage this, and do any interview before or after hours or during lunch. You could also start the CFA, which should give plenty of opportunity for study leave.

Also, it's a tough job market. Be very careful about jumping from a boat which isn't taking you directly to your destination just because you want to get there faster. Any time spent in ER is not really a minus when wanting to do something else. Be very prepared that you may have to turn down interviews if the schedule is impossible - however if they are very keen on your profile, they will adjust.

Nov 23, 2012

Thank you for the help so far. Hope your Thanksgiving was good & you were able to escape for some family time.

Nov 24, 2012

I went through a similar issue. Best thing to do is arrange interviews for after work or when the markets close. I found that a lot of the funds I interviewed with were willing to meet me at 5:30 or so. If you explain the situation and they like you it shouldn't be an issue. Do not tell anyone you are looking to leave, in this business you have to look out for yourself first and foremost. Keep your mouth shut, go about your business and arrange interviews either before or after work. Best of luck! Now get back to those Q3 earnings calls....

Nov 24, 2012

Thank you so much everyone - shocked I have received so many helpful responses so quickly. Maybe I shouldn't be shocked....this really speaks to the quality of the contributors here.

Nov 27, 2012

Bump - just wanted to see if anyone else had input here. Thanks.

Dec 3, 2012

Don't tell and interview in place of your lunch so that no one knows.

Dec 7, 2012
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