Dear Human Resources,
This letter is sent to you, as HR in ******* for the graduate program but I could have sent it to any other bank but you are the lucky ones. It contains my thoughts about your process but also a question to know if you really are so naive about the recruitment process or if you are aware of the senselessness of the first filter, what people usually call "the online numerical test".
I have already accomplished 4 internships in capital markets in world's leading banks in 4 different regions. I worked nearby traders, quantitative analysts, sales, structurers, ... and I always received a top feedback as my recommandation letters can testify. I worked on quantitativestrategies, on quantitative analysis of statistical , on multi-asset strategies involving volatility trading, capital structure arbitrage and pair-trading. Beside I developed quantitative tools used by trading desks from equity derivative ones to proprietary trading. Futhermore I participated in a lot of "external" activities, wrote some papers about finance and founded my own company in investment management so I can have an experience of managing real-money. In addition, when my grad school organised an investment challenge, in which more than 200 students participated, I ended at the first rank with a very high return over 1 month. I also had the opportunity to meet people from different banks and hence I could do my internship in one of the best bank in the world. This was the first time I applied online to large banks programmes as all my previous internships processes were only composed of different rounds of interviews. So I took the online test and succeeded with this so-famous numerical test, I met the management team and got an offer. I have to be honest, I didn't know about all these processes so I wasn't confortable with that online test but it seems I passed.
For personal reason, I couldn't accept the offer received from the bank so I decided to apply again this year. And I started with *******. I always liked *******. So I took the test, without preparing myself. I know this is a huge mistake but what the hell does it mean to prepare for this test? I know you are just human resources and don't have any idea of what being on the trading floor means. You have probably already guessed: I failed at this numerical test. It is weird because I am pretty sure I did well but other applicants have surely done better. This is the rule. I respect the rule.
All the mess above is to ask you one question: are you simple-minded or are you accomplice of a world corrupted recruitment process? I took other banks tests after my rejection from ******* and I realised that ALL the tests are pretty the same. No, sorry, I realised that for some tests, it is EXACTLY the same test. Sometimes it is 80% the same, sometimes 50% and sometimes 100% the same. So without any surprise, I did dramatically well in other banks tests. So you think I am a genius because I could finish another top leading bank test 10 minutes before the end with everything correct? Absolutely not! I answered the questions without even reading the graphs, I knew the answer. And when the question was new, questions before were not new so I could answer them very quickly and had plenty of time to answer the new ones. As my CV and work experience are not bad, I will maybe get a call for an interview from these banks... So funny.
I have always been someone who is honest and by respecting myself I also respect other people. Can you tell me how dare you say on your website that the test results are linked to the performance in the role? This is insulting! Really, you are insulting applicants. If you had your own tests, that you write down every year with different questions with "no preparation" allowed, that would be a good filter. But here, the only thing you filter is people who didn't have the chance to be aware of how unfair these tests are. I will be honest, I maybe don't deserve a career at ******* (thought I interned in more prestigious banks) but as I said, my honesty pushes me to let you know that your recruitment process is totally unfair, biaised and absolutely not reflecting people skills. You are letting people who did a lot of online tests to go through, you invite them to interviews and you find them smart. I am sure they all are very smart if they join your graduate programme but how many people, maybe better than the ones you recruit, have been rejected because they didn't know the answers by heart? How many people who have a real work experience with various internships did you reject and how many people, with no experience, have you invited for interviews because they are serial-appliers?
As I said when I started this letter, I could have written this content to any other bank. The thing is I started my applications with *******. And you are not considering a minimum score, you are comparing results with other people results. So it is very easy now. Your recruitment is just based on how "prepared" candidates are. But seriously, this is not how you should filter people. I don't know if you are lazy in the large banks system but is it so difficult to write your OWN tests? Is it difficult to ask relevant questions instead of asking me how many people had a damn car in India in 1991? Do you really think this is relevant? I worked on trading floors and I analyzed complex papers and articles with a very short time allowed to give my opinion about them. But this is ABSOLUTELY NOT as in your tests. Again, how can you say that good result to your test is linked to good skills? As you reject people who fail at your tests, you can't say if they really are not good enough in the role. So what you say in your note is just a LIE. It is not because people among the class, with the best results in the tests, do the best in the role that the test is relevant from the recruitment process point of view.
To conclude, please dear human resources, open your eyes. You are wasting very talented people (I am not talking about myself, I know there are many people in my situations who were so naive to think that the tests were different for all the banks) who wanted to join your bank (about that, last paragraph is funny). I respect your choice, I am not telling you what to do. You think you know your job, that's fine.
Oh, by the way, I was about to close this letter without telling you this funny story. I sent my CV to a trader in your bank. I took the risk, I had nothing to lose actually. And he replied, called me and I had several interviews with him and his team. And you know what? I got an offer. This is so funny when I think about all the long process other applicants are going through. Weird filtering, numerical tests, weird filtering again, interviews with competency-based questions totally useless... The long road... With one email, I could directly reach the trading desk and had useful interviews where I was tested about my knowledge of finance, mathematics, computer science, ... not about how many car accidents do women of 29-34 years old have more than men of 18-23...
This is a happy end to me. But how many sad end to others like me?