London - headhunter experience exchange

Hey guys,

I thought we should have a dedicated thread to HH, where we could share our experiences, advices, best practices, etc. I feel like HHs play a vital role in getting a PE job, but are often overlooked by applicants as an important strategic step.

For example I never knew that HHs write a characteristic on you that they share with company and therefore every conversation you have with them is important as they shape their opinion about you - that's something I wish I have known when i started as I believe I was oversharing a bit.

Also, I've came to realisation that the post-interview catch-ups with HHs is incredibaly important, too as HHs seem to report to the company your post-interview feedback (just my opinion) - another thing I wish I've known before.

Would be cool to hear your stories, questions or advice - anything at all you'd like to share about your HH expereince!

Comments (37)

  • Analyst 3+ in CorpDev
Oct 25, 2020 - 3:10pm

Hi. Which HHs have you used and any thoughts on them? 

I've spoken to PER several times and they have tend to have good mandates with MM firms.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Oct 30, 2020 - 10:39am

How did you get in touch? American thinking of going across the pond

Nov 1, 2020 - 10:03am

Just reached out to them - they have pretty detailed info on the website re. who's covering what, and were pretty responsive. My profile is a bit weird (PE xp in CEE, some gov work, now US MBA), so no chance for them reaching out to me, although I understand they reach out to more typical candidates as well.

Oct 29, 2020 - 11:21pm

I'll just share my experience. HH's are great if you have the right resume - Ivy/public ivy, BB or EB experience, and you're a normal person who others enjoy being around. You will get looks. If you have one of those two criteria you'll still have some success, but less. If you don't have either don't waste your time. Just cold call and build your own network. Those HH's will not give you the time of day and if they do you will be at the bottom of the pile. You're better off finding the one nice person at the fund you want to work at building a relationship with him/her. Stay in front of them (e.g., email them every 3-6 months) and hopefully they remember you when there is an opening. There's hundreds of kids with Ivy league degrees who work at Bulge Brackets and UMM/MFs tell the HH's to prioritize these kids. The UMM/MFs also get to market to their LPs that everyone of their Associate's holds an ivy league degree and worked at GS/MS/JPM. However, if you have a relationship with someone at the fund that you built you have instant credibility and more credibility than the HH recruits when your contact tells the head of recruiting at the fund that you are legit. All my opinion of course, but that's how I got in.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - ECM
Oct 30, 2020 - 10:18am

Greenwich partners (James Heath) worst headhunter to exist.

Those who know, know.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Oct 30, 2020 - 10:33am

To be honest, I exchanged emails with him. He mentioned I wasn't a good fit for his roles (MBB US) and that with visa issues it would be difficult to place me and so he would not be looking to work together. From only those few back and forth emails, he was very professional and sympathetic. I'd be curious to hear why you say those who know, know.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - ECM
Oct 30, 2020 - 2:27pm

His roles are fake, he makes up mandates for 'megafunds' etc..just to get copies of your CVs so he can send them off to top funds to say how many candidates he has relationships with in hope they will hire him as their recruiter.

He's also extremely elitist, very blunt and rude unless you come from a top BB / EB. He also doesn't understand there is more to banking than brand name, i.e. he thinks Moelis (who to be very bluntly are terrible in London anyone who works in the industry knows Moelis London is poor quality, they have no deal flow and do small deals) would be better than a top team at a Jefferies / RBC / HSBC. I.e. he would be nice to someone who's completed no deals at a BB/EB vs rude to someone who's completed multiple deals at a non BB / EB.

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Nov 2, 2020 - 12:58pm

Do any of these folks test your language fluency and if so, how?


I studied French for ~15 years but am a little rusty.

  • VP in VC
Nov 3, 2020 - 4:20pm

What are some legitimate reasons to want to move to the UK?


I have no reasons that a headhunter would find interesting other than one deal I have closed that is European. I just want to live in London and so does my Partner. Her best friend lives there and we have always been drawn to it. 

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Ind
Jan 14, 2021 - 6:14am

My experience with KEA has been terrible so far. I'm at an EB (CVP / EVR / PJT) and these guys are just not responsive. I'd like to think I have some pretty good deal experience so I'm not sure what's going on. 

I had the 1-hour intro call with KEA and then they put me forward for a role and told me they would get back to me by the end of a week. It took them an entire month to get back to me. 

  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 14, 2021 - 11:36am

If they take longer to respond, you are probably out of the running. KEA strongly prefers BB people for their top PE clients. This might also explain some of the lack of responsiveness.

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Jan 26, 2021 - 8:16am

How long does it usually take to get called to a first round after your CV has been sent? Trying to figure out if client is being slow or have been dinged on CV screen

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