PE recruiting after being fired - story

Hey guys,

I have recently been made redundant and I was wondering how should I deliver it to headhunters and PE funds. I don't know if people have any understanding to this, or whether you are automatically put in the bottom of the list of the headhunters and whether PE funds would refuse to interview you at all?

Should I rather come up with some sort of a story and position it as if I've rsigned for example?

Also, what kind of check do PE firms do upon receiving on affer - can they verify your bonus, ranking, date when you left, etc.?

Thanks a lot!

Comments (6)

Most Helpful
Aug 29, 2020 - 11:58am

Sorry to hear. Please give us more details on why you were let go. Was there a restructuring and your firm decided your role wasn't needed? Were you fired because you aren't great at the job? Reference checks will be done before you receive a private equity offer. If you were bad in your last role, it will be very hard for you to hide that. If you were good, then you should lead with the truth, explaining to folks there was a restructuring. You could even offer several references upfront to show your old group supports you. 

Can a PE firm verify your bonus, ranking, date when you left, etc.? It depends. There is no formal way to verify bonus/ranking. You could lie to a HH and they'll take it for face value. However, the world is small and we may be able to informally verify these points. For example, my best friend is a VP at a BB. If you're coming out of his coverage group I can easily get the scoop from him on how you compared to your peers.    

Keep in mind the longer you're unemployed, the more challenging it will be for people to appreciate your candidacy. Who knows when 2020 recruiting will pick up? You could be waiting a while. I have no UK specific context.    

Given this job market, please stay flexible. You may have to consider roles tangential to direct investing. Even if you left on great terms, recruiting for pre-MBA PE seats without a job isn't the norm and will be very tough. I can't confirm, but my intuition tells me that you will be a lower priority for most people you speak with. Hopefully I'm wrong. Good luck.                 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Aug 30, 2020 - 8:47am

Thanks a lot for your reply!

Essentially what happened was that when Covid hit my team head to make some cuts as there was no headcount for me. Although I have full support from my team, was organisational issue.

I have no idea what to do now as everywhere where I am recruiting they will verify these things...




  • Analyst 3+ in HF - Event
Aug 30, 2020 - 11:53am

From what I have seen from friends who've recently been laid off - as in entire group let go due to covid - they've been perfectly fine when recruiting and telling their story. There's not much you can do about your whole group being let go, so it has zero reflection on you personally. There are so many analysts looking for jobs right now with this exact story, funds sort of feel like they have the pick of the litter at the moment. So I wouldn't worry about it if that's the case. I suppose the story might need to be managed if only a portion of the group was let go and you were included because they'll want to know why you specifically were chosen. But if its the whole group gone, I wouldn't worry about any questions like why didnt the bank try to slot you into another group elsewhere or anything like that. Key here will be for you to leverage great references from your superiors. If you haven't already, try to get them on the phone and ask for advice telling the story / permission to use them as a reference. It'll go a long way if you can assure your interviewer that your MD or whoever has zero problems giving you a great recommendation. 

Sep 4, 2020 - 12:52pm

I'd recommend a straightforward approach with both the headhunters and firms that you interview with.  As "I Invest" mentioned that your story can easily be checked out prior to any offers being made.  

There have been layoffs at several banks over the last few weeks, so no one will automatically assume that it's performance related, but it would be helpful to have prior ranking, performance reviews and/or references that will be supportive of your abilities.  Each summer there is some unexpected attrition at banks, particularly those that pay bonus during July/August -- there may be a good lateral banking opportunity for you at one of these.  And you'll be attractive as a seasoned analyst that is available to start immediately. 

It's often difficult to recruit directly to the buyside from the "position" of unemployed Investment Banking analyst.  

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