Oncycle is a fucking joke

It's 2am, and recruiters are still cold calling with a "are you free? fund x wants to hop on the phone ASAP" and getting emails with "MODELING TEST TONIGHT"

who the fuck thinks this is a good way to recruit talent? absolute joke

update: got an MF offer on day 3, absolutely exhausted. i stand by my points above.

Mod Note: Here are some more PE recruiting related discussions:

Heard on-cycle kicked off last night

2022 on-cycle kicked off

List of on-cycle firms interviewing

on-cycle backup plan

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Comments (112)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 3:04am

Hasn't it always been like that though? That was my expectation about on-cycle at least. Only those who want it really bad and are well prepared will have a good outcome

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 11:16pm

look up which HH your target fund use and reach out to them directly & lay out your preferences and profile out right. Top funds always get the head start and rest pick up from there. Better be proactive now if you want to recruit for MF but haven't gotten intro yet

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 11:49am

Absolute mess of a process. Have spent probably 90% of the time on zoom waiting rooms smh. Firms just blatantly trying to waste our time at this point 

Controversial
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 14, 2021 - 12:08pm

Screw PE, imagine taking a pay cut for the same hours just to be back on the bottom of the totem pole. All that "investing" isn't what you're doing as a junior. Just another 2 years of crap. Rather go corporate.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 17, 2021 - 7:53pm

Just saying this is inaccurate. From a top paying EB and going to a MF after this cycle, definitely getting a pay raise - all aspects of pay on buyside were increased this year in response to IB raises.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 12:37pm

Can confirm - friends received 11pm / midnight emails to interview. Obviously on-cycle is always chaotic, but this year just seems like an absolute disaster given the virtual nature + the fact HHs have had literally only 3-4 days to meet candidates.

Anyone who's been interviewing want to opine on how their process has been going so far? Seems like most A2's will just gun for 2022 off-cycle. 

Sep 15, 2021 - 9:53am

That's pretty crazy but it also makes a little sense. When I was an analyst, I was available every night at 11 p.m.except for maybe the weekend.  Also, a little easier to slip out at that time of night.

Also another side thought, if you're bothered by a PE fund that does calls at 2 a.m., then it sounds like you don't need the interview.  You don't want to work at that fund. If this is how it starts, the job is probably going to be much much worse.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 15, 2021 - 10:06am

Not sure how what you're saying is relevant. Point isn't that interviewing late at night is surprising or an issue. Everyone expects that lol.

It's that the process has been a mess largely due to HHs having literally 3 days to meet people (i.e. headhunter meetings were last Tuesday-Friday, and TB kicked off on-cycle on 9/11), whereas typically there's ~3 weeks from outreach to kick-off. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 14, 2021 - 3:03pm

I have an interview with one of these in a half hour, just because they had a round of interviews doesn't mean they're done recruiting. Do people think these firms fill their entire class from the first 10 people they talk to? It keeps going with more and more rounds until the class is filled up.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 15, 2021 - 5:11am

Ah the classic scaremonger returns.

Always present on every recruiting thread be it SA, FT or OC BS.

Sep 14, 2021 - 5:18pm

Some of that does sound pretty crazy but honestly that's the job market.  People are not here to kiss your ass. Have not received 2 a.m calls but in the regular job market, plenty of stuff like, "Hey can you come in for an interview tomorrow at 10 a.m."

I sometimes wonder if PE recruitment is really as crazy as people say it is on WSO or whether they are encountoring a real job market process for the first time in their life?

Note on campus recruitment is not real life as far as how recruitment goes...so some of this may be a shock to those that have never done it.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 5:26pm

LOL you do realize that getting a call at 2am asking to interview at 3am (and pull an all-nighter interviewing) is a LOT different than being told to come in at 10am the next morning right? 

  • Prospect in PE - LBOs
Sep 14, 2021 - 5:26pm

On cycle recruiting is one of few accurate things on WSO. It is a shit show for both the candidates and firms. I work at one of the MFs and we literally had people running around interviewing all night with limited sleep. 

Sep 15, 2021 - 12:10pm

Everyone who was actually participating in this process wasn't on WSO lol

Array
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 5:34pm

Completely agree - think everyone expects on-cycle to be a shitshow. Moreso was just pointing out that this isn't a characteristic of "regular" job recruiting processes in all other industries as well (i.e. SWE, consulting, etc.)

  • Principal in PE - LBOs
Sep 14, 2021 - 6:14pm

On cycle has been a shitshow since way back. Interview notifications past 11pm and final rounds stretching to 2-3am have always been pretty common (at least since 2010ish when the cycle starting pushing way up). What's different / worse this year is that zoom allows people to interview that night vs. having the decency to wait until 7am. 

Most Helpful
Sep 14, 2021 - 9:04pm

If they are interviewing people at midnight, that's a big red flag for culture and work life balance.

Imagine trying to interview a top quant or software engineer at 2am.  They would tell you to phuck off and basically get the firm blackballed on levels/blind/glassdoor.  Goodbye engineering talent going forward.

Finance is full of huge cucks to put up with this. 

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  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Sep 28, 2021 - 10:59am

Share more mate - what % of com did you have to trade off, how many hours WLB improved by, overall did you think it was worth it, etc.

Cheers

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 9:31pm

Came to this thread to add what the above poster said. Huge red flag on culture for any firms allowing 3am interviews or modeling tests. You might just be an analyst but your time is still worth something.

Yeah getting a good PE offer is great, but don't forget you need to be able to survive the 2 years.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Sep 28, 2021 - 9:48am

Is it to early to exit after 1,5 years in your opinion to middle sized PE firms? (I'm terms of probability, HH reaching out, possibilities etc.). I am totally exhausted after 1 year and 2 months and would like to exit ASAP to a smaller PE firm with good hours.

Work at a BB in the Nordics at the moment and graduated from European target.

Thanks a lot!

/A2

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Sep 28, 2021 - 11:05am

Can't speak for Europe, but this is very common in the US

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 9:56pm

Thank god the person above said it. Like there's just no way you have someone interview at 2am if you respect juniors. Furthermore, you likely also aren't trying to recruit critical thinkers if that's your approach-you just want hardos that will grind. Software engineers or quants at hedge funds wouldn't put up with this they'd just go somewhere else-but the insecurity mixed with prestige has kids so lost in the sauce they will do anything.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 14, 2021 - 11:21pm

Everyone gets the rationale-you only get the hardos who are willing to put up with that bullshit and make a decision on little information/ without talking to other firms. It's the exact same rationale for reaching out to banking candidates as sophomores in college. Anecdotally, I don't think it actually gets better candidates from looking at where my friends ended up and the dipshits I know at megafunds, but hey maybe you are right.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 15, 2021 - 12:38am

As a dipshit going to a MF, this is pretty true. Id consider myself a grinder / bit of a hardo, which is why im in this industry in the first place and got locked into it due to sophomore year recruiting, but my really intelligent friends from college went to academia/quant/startups. You dont gotta be smart to do pe/consulting/swe at the entry level tbh, but that's good for people like me lol

  • Associate 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 15, 2021 - 3:26pm

or they could......offer something else to candidates other than being first to talk to them at 3am.....

like....oh i dont know, respect for their time, a great culture, decent WLB

thats what software companies do, and they pay their people 500k plus easily.....there so much demand for talent they HAVE to

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 16, 2021 - 7:00am

This $500k easy like for SWEs is getting a bit out of hand.

it is not easy to make $500k. That's deep into L6 territory and only ~30% of Sr SWEs ever make L6 and they're like ~10-12% of the engineering population. Please stop spouting nonsense. 

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Sep 17, 2021 - 1:03am

~10% of FAANG SWE's make L6. This is a fact. Of the total SWE population, it's wayyyy less. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 17, 2021 - 6:02am

The context was tech companies…

Outside of tech (and some exceptions like finance / quant finance / media / comms) Staff doesn't even exist and most SWEs cap out at like $150-160k. 

Even in tech, but tier 2 / 3 companies (vast majority of names in tech) Staff is like Sr SWE comp at tier 1 companies.

So when we're discussing $450-750k+ comp at L6 we're really only talking about the 10-12% of folks at only ~25-35 established top names + some of the top tier unicorns / scale-ups with equal comp ladders. Not a lot of people when you consider that outside of Google, FB, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft the median company has <1-5k engineers. 

Sep 19, 2021 - 6:35am

I am really surprised you broke this down and didn't see how flawed this is and how it supports tech>finance. 

"10-12% of folks at only ~25-35 established top names + some of the top tier unicorns / scale-ups with equal comp ladders. Not a lot of people when you consider that outside of Google, FB, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft the median company has <1-5k engineers."

Let's assume 3k companies at top 50 tech companies, (which is really conservative bc there are wayyyyyyyy more than 50 established tech companies that pay fat $ for sr engineers, albeit these r smaller companies but a large number of companies overall nonetheless). So 150k employees * 10%  = 15k.

You're really telling me there's more than 15k seats for VP/MDs at top banks, Partner at PE, etc? And oh by the way you're working long ass hours and are at the hands of market activity. 

Tech>finance and its not even close. Coming from someone who wishes they could have broken into swe. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 15, 2021 - 8:27am

Anyone know who has given offers yet? Had a interviews yesterday with a few funds but haven't heard anything back from either the HH or the funds themselves..

Sep 15, 2021 - 9:56am

Analyst 2 in IB - Cov

It's 2am, and recruiters are still cold calling with a "are you free? fund x wants to hop on the phone ASAP" and getting emails with "MODELING TEST TONIGHT"

who the fuck thinks this is a good way to recruit talent? absolute joke

Maybe, it weeds out people not willing to work until 2 a.m and do all kinds ridiculous stupid requests ASAP.  If the recruitment bothers you, it sounds like you shouldn't work there.....

Do you think the recruitment process is the worst part and then it'll all be easy after that? This screwed up process sounds like a harbinger of things to come if you accept to job. You probably don't want to work for these guys.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 15, 2021 - 11:40am

Exactly. If this fucked up process deters my competition from interviewing/accepting an offer there, that's good for me 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Sep 15, 2021 - 5:08pm

Why bother? PE is dead anyways, returns are becoming lower, PEs negotiate about some decimal places to reach hurdle rate, and even MF are cutting costs which were considered peanuts back then.. it ain't the 80s guys, doesn't bode well for the future

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 15, 2021 - 10:53pm

Just let us feel better about not landing a PE role

Sep 15, 2021 - 6:28pm

Has Apollo kicked off their process yet? Don't think I've heard it mentioned among all the other names that are active right now

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 16, 2021 - 12:11am

Same boat, pulled nearly an all nighter the first night it on-cycle kicked off but gave up. Got too much work to catch up on already at my ACTUAL job.

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 16, 2021 - 12:42am

It's definitely not wrapping up yet! I'm sure a bunch of funds have, but still getting tons of HH emails for interviews with very reputable MM/UMM funds. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 16, 2021 - 9:34am

Not just for candidates, which obviously is a joke. Is my firm asked me to interview someone past midnight (hell, past 8pm), I would just say no. 
 

OK to work late on live deals (not that I like working late), but not for this

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Sep 16, 2021 - 2:22pm

It's a broken system. At a UMM fund that filled ~50% of its incoming class - we don't do exploding offers or 2 AM interviews but the process could have been managed so much more effectively. There are still a few hundred kids who haven't met with CPI yet so we aren't in any rush to fill our class at the moment. Based on what I've heard from friends at other UMM funds, a lot of them are also holding a significant portion of their classes vacant so I wouldn't lose hope.

I personally know of kids who went off market with offers at MFs on Day 1 who are ridiculously awful analysts. Many of these firms are cutting modeling tests / skimping on interviews and/or hiring based on pedigree and I can tell you many of them will be in for a rude awakening pretty soon.

Sep 20, 2021 - 9:51am

Keep your head up brother. Same thing happened to me where I didn't get much traction at first, but if you keep grinding you will find something. Also second wave of on-cycle is just starting to kick off - if those are funds you would be interested in. 

Array
  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Sep 17, 2021 - 11:44am

These are analysts who just started in July? What is there to interview about, July was Series exams, August was training...It's been less than a month...Or are these 2nd year analysts 

Sep 17, 2021 - 1:45pm

Bc you have to relearn all the ropes, are at the bottom again vs in staying in banking, you have more experience, can game the system, and can shove work down / push back on bullshit where you can't as a first year in PE with brutal hours. Corporate has easy hours and some smaller hedges have a collegial vibe 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 19, 2021 - 8:13pm

Funds frantically doing 3am interviews because they're scared of missing out on "top talent" is an absurd concept. 

Sep 19, 2021 - 9:51pm

Anyone else feel like they've been getting dinged from interviews for no apparent reason? I totally get how competitive these roles are, but I'm struggling to make sense of this process. I've even had a few where the interviewers literally said "great job on the technicals" or "I think you'd be a great fit here" and then get dinged for the following round. Kinda discouraging given the lack of feedback we get 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Sep 20, 2021 - 10:15am

I think reality is just not trying to read into anything. I had an interview with one place where they would give me a very generic "we'll contact you via HH" and then push me forward. Had another where they were very friendly and complimentary of my case study and investment write-up and then I just never heard back. These people have done this a million times and are good at not showing their cards.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 28, 2021 - 3:03pm

That's because, though nobody will admit it, the recruiting process is a circle jerk of "top candidates" who aren't actually top candidates at all.

Ever notice how the "top candidates" for IB on paper or through interviews often aren't top bucket? It's almost like, intangibles like grit, work ethic, and EQ matter (shocker, I know). You can't test for that well in an interview process, let alone a 48h one. Thus was created the illusion of "top candidates" since no firm is willing to admit that hiring for PE is a total fucking crapshoot.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 20, 2021 - 12:42am

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Sep 29, 2021 - 10:49pm

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