Letter I sent to human resources

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 quantitative trading strategies, on quantitative analysis of statistical arbitrage, 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?

Region: 

Comments (37)

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Oct 11, 2010

HR has a 0% chance of reading this. This was a waste of time my friend. No offense, but when they see this long paragraph they will immediately discard it.

Oct 11, 2010

um

Oct 11, 2010

Holy fuck that was long. Is this a dissertation or something?

Oct 11, 2010

Yeah, I stopped reading after the first paragraph. In fact, you should probably hope they do too, since I'm certain the ensuing 10 pages of venom do not help your case. Hope it felt good to write though.

Oct 11, 2010

Waste of time. Surely if you were that good you could just pass the often basic numerical test?

I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

Oct 11, 2010

well done sir...

Smokey, this is not 'Nam, this is bowling. There are rules.

Oct 11, 2010

I am not expecting everyone to read the whole letter. It is more to have people who read it their point of view about the recruitment process. I don't care about whether I wasted my time (I know I didn't). Also I know that many people who successfully passed all the tests won't agree with me because if they do it would be as if they belittle themselves so they will prefer to say I am the stupid guy... I know all this, don't worry.

But what do you think about the fact that some tests look the same? As I said, it is sometimes EXACTLY the same, and I did very well when it was the same.

For the guy who told me that I should have passed if I were so smart, this is a nonsense. I am saying in my letter that these tests don't mean anything. Again I think I did very well in all the tests, except the first one as I wasn't prepared. But I am honest and I say that passing these tests don't mean anything about your skills... especially for trading. I have 4 internships on my CV, in major banks, so I know what you need to be a good trader. And it's not these stupid SHL tests. Trust me...

Oct 11, 2010

By the way, I didn't send this letter directly in the email body. I wrote a nice teaser with the letter attached. I hope they will read it. If they don't, they will know about it from another way. If I still can't let them know, that's fine, you read it :-)

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Oct 11, 2010

But what is your motive for this? You must have an obscene amount of time on your hands. May I suggest a hobby or something...

Oct 11, 2010

I needed less time to write this than you guys you spend on this forum...

My motivation: just to let them know. Sometimes you feel better. As Llyod Blankfein thought he was doing God's work, I thought that someone needed to tell them about how unfair this test is. That's it.
Then I posted my letter here to have your opinion. I know it is too loog and I probably should have just asked this simple question: "what do you think about the fact that some tests are very similar, sometimes exactly the same? Have you already experienced this situation and do you think it is fair?".

Oct 11, 2010
BlackSwanFlies:

I needed less time to write this than you guys you spend on this forum...

Is that why it is written at a 4th grade level?

Oct 12, 2010
econmajor11:
BlackSwanFlies:

I needed less time to write this than you guys you spend on this forum...

Is that why it is written at a 4th grade level?

didn't read this at all but i ran it through word's readability test and it came out at grade level 8.7

Oct 11, 2010

Probably. And maybe also because English is my third language.

Oct 12, 2010
BlackSwanFlies:

English is my third language.

Exhibit A

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 11, 2010

HR is an assistance department.

HR goes to head of trading, "do you want us to administer this test and weed out people, before you look at them?" and Head of trading replies, "sure why not I don't have time to read every resume".

So do not blame HR, blame the Capital Markets and Executives at the bank for giving HR the authority to weed out people how they see fit.

As for you directly emailing and getting an offer, it is not HRs system that failed. Its Capital Markets department. Since clearly in your case they let you skip the "test and regular system". Now if someone with no internships had emailed that Trader what you think happens?

Don't blame HR, it's the leaders of the firm who make the policies.

Btw, after 4 internships in trading you really do not know that HR has to get authority on all policies? That the entire development program is created from those above the MD level?

Oct 11, 2010

Dealbreaker ?

Oct 12, 2010

Didn't read the whole thing, but I think I agree with your premise. I'm from the U.S., so I had never done a "numeracy test" before, and with the time committment required for other U.S. applications/networking I didn't study or prepare at all, and I failed the test. It's funny how they instantly reject you from the process right after failing.

Oct 12, 2010

There must be a reason these firms put so much stock in these numercy tests. I haven't taken one but I find it very surprising they would throw out your application for failing something like this (not that it isn't true, just surprising)

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 12, 2010

this "letter" isn't even well written. you just sound like a whining bitch.

Oct 12, 2010

retardulant hillarity

Oct 12, 2010

Easily one of the stupidest things I have ever read...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 12, 2010

Again, I don't care if you find it "stupid", I am not expecting everyone to agree with me (you are also in that system so you have to defend your "success" whatever the process is), I just want to know what you think about the FACT (which means that you can't say it's not true) that some tests are exactly the same and therefore you can complete some of them very quickly with accuracy in all your answers. Is that FAIR that someone who did a lot of "numeracy tests" has not only an advantage of being prepared but also of knowing most of the questions?

About HR, I know they are not those who create the tests. When I say "you", I just mean the people who represent the recruitment process. I can't write to all the MDs...

For my English level, please write in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Italian with the same level, and then come here to show off.

Oct 12, 2010

I thought English was your third language? Now you speak 5...damn you're good

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 12, 2010
happypantsmcgee:

I thought English was your third language? Now you speak 5...damn you're good

Are you serious or you're just trying to find anything to say against me?

English IS my third language. It doesn't mean I only speak 3 languages. When you say X is your first language, does it mean it is your only language? No...

Oct 12, 2010

I am just trying to find something to say against you...Swahili is my 11th language

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 12, 2010

On a related note, maybe learning fewer languages but a bit more thuroughly would serve you better so you wouldn't write letters that a 13 year old kid could edit

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 12, 2010
happypantsmcgee:

On a related note, maybe learning fewer languages but a bit more thuroughly would serve you better so you wouldn't write letters that a 13 year old kid could edit

My writing level is better than what you can think if you only read this letter. If I take more time... Because I wrote this letter in one shot.

Now my speaking is way better for sure (I did 2 English-speaking-environment internships in front office so if I were so bad, I wouldn't have got the job) but I prefer to be able to communicate with 5 languages, even if some of them are not perfect, than perfectly speaking only one or two languages... But you are right, English is the most important one and I need to improve my level. The thing is I never practice, I can only watch TV shows or read some books... but I never right formal letters.

Having said that, thank you for your concern and I will try and do my best to write in a proper English so that your eyes stay safe and you don't feel the need to copy my text and check it through a system that gives you my age.

I read many posts on this forum with no proper English. You never argued. So I guess I know why you're trying to make fun on me... but seriously, don't waste your time as I wasted mine (according to you). If you have nothing to say about my question, just don't.

Oct 12, 2010

Happy for you. It must be a great language to put out on your CV. The kind of advantage that should let you go directly to face-to-face interviews without wasting time with numeracy tests.

Oct 12, 2010

If only you had the same advantage...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 12, 2010

Go get laid dude, Jesus

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Oct 12, 2010

did you get a reply?

Oct 12, 2010

Not yet. I sent it yesterday night. If I get a reply, I will let you know.

  • eyelikecheese
  •  Oct 12, 2010

I'm sure HR gets more explicit/interesting/shorter emails than this. I would just laugh at you

Oct 12, 2010

I would be embarrassed to even post this on this site. I would give you the percentage chance this got immediately deleted but you probably wouldn't understand. I hesitate to even give you a mild compliment, but at least you bypassed HR after you failed a remedial numeracy test and still managed to get an offer. Let this be an example to all prospective monkeys out here; if this guy can get a job, there's hope for all of you.

Oct 12, 2010

Maybe I am more skilled than these "monkeys"... I don't care if it is immediately deleted... I didn't waste my time as I enjoyed writing it, I feel better now. They get it, that's cool. They don't, that's cool as well.

But you are right to talk about "monkeys". I would be embarrassed to post on a forum what suit or what watch an analyst has to wear in investment banking. You are way more ridiculous than I when you think you are all like God because you got an offer. Asking what watches are for Analyst, it is so hilarous... Really you are totally manipulated and alienated by the system and you think you have to wear a specific watch or a specific shirt or whatever because you are analyst. MONKEYS, you are right. And I am proud not to be part of this. I prefer to look stupid with my letter than being alienated as these MONKEYS :-)

Oct 12, 2010
Comment
Oct 12, 2010