Private Equity Recruiting Guide

'Tis the season...

Key tips:
1. Making a good early impression within your banking group is key (better staffings, recommendations to firms, & help with headhunters)
2. Talk to older analysts who have been through the process
3. Ask for old modeling templates and tests (PE firms recycle modeling tests)
4. Practice modeling before your interviews -- tough to catch up at the end
5. Prepare for the soft questions (tell me about yourself, etc.).
6. If you have multiple options, pay attention to the firm culture signals.

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What else you got? Know there are a lot of recruiting threads on here, but monkeys, add your tips below.

Comments (32)

 
Oct 31,2017
  1. If you're able to network with current associates at firms you're interested in, I've heard that can increase your odds of first round interview if you make a good impression
  2. Super important to make a good impression on headhunters. Think I shot myself in the foot with a couple early meetings, but got my act together now.
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9 LBO Modeling Tests, 10+ hours of PE Cases and 2,447+ interview insights across 203 private equity funds. The WSO Private Equity Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to break into the competitive PE industry. Learn more.

 
Oct 31,2017

re: networking; say I've networked with some middle or upper level folks at some funds I'd like to interview at, but they aren't represented by the head hunters I'm using. With them, how do I initiate the interviewing process? Ask them if they have any opportunities when the interviews start around January?

 
Oct 31,2017

Yeah especially if they're not represented by headhunters, they're probably not constrained by the typical process timelines - you can reach out with something along the lines of:

"Hey, I'm in the process of interviewing for PE associate positions at several other firms, and would love the opportunity to interview with your firm... really enjoyed our conversations earlier..."

You get the idea.

 
Oct 31,2017

Think this is the right approach - if you can interview with any funds through your own connections (like you're describing), you'll probably have a leg up.

 
Best Response
Oct 31,2017

The most underrated thing by far is doing well in your current job from my experience while also not sacrificing prep time. The analysts in my group who are going to megafunds were doing PE prep and busting their asses to get the best staffings / best recs simultaneously. They did well in interviews, but what was more important was that everyone else in the group was on board with them recruiting out.

 
Oct 31,2017

Agree with this. Being a top performer within your group is key.

 
Oct 31,2017

How many people do the megafunds typically interview? Even if I'm not in the top-of-the-top (but still decent product group at MS / JPM), will I get a shot?

Some older analysts were saying everyone in the group got a shot with at least one last year.

 
Oct 31,2017

This sounds about right. My year almost everyone in my group interviewed with a couple of the megafunds.

The ones that go earliest typically fill their seats first and stop interviewing, but for some of the others it was like a revolving door until they'd filled their seats. I'd bet they wound up interviewing a material percentage of bulge bracket analysts interviewing that year (>5%)... the vast majority never made it past the first round, but they still had a shot.

 
Nov 30,2017

What is a "decent product group"? If you are in M&A or industry coverage at a reputable bank and you can articulate yourself well to headhunters you should get at least some MF looks during recruitment.

Learn More

9 LBO Modeling Tests, 10+ hours of PE Cases and 2,447+ interview insights across 203 private equity funds. The WSO Private Equity Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to break into the competitive PE industry. Learn more.

 
Oct 31,2017

Someone asked me today, so reiterating here: everyone has their own approach to preparing for PE modeling tests. There is no "one way." The important part is to be prepared.

That being said, the way described in the article above (weekly practice LBO leading up to recruiting) is thorough and pretty similar to what I did - probably a little overkill. The MultipleExpansion template is good. You don't want to lose an interview because of a dumb LBO mistake.

 
 
Nov 30,2017

Don't use the generic contact us page. If anything, reach out to associates to see if they're open to a phone chat or if their firm is recruiting

 
 
Nov 30,2017

very interested as well

I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things. Read Sun-tzu, The Art of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought- GG

 
Nov 30,2017

From what I'm reading here, a Summer 2015 start date would let you complete three years at your bank (one in S&T and two in IB). If that's the case, then you should absolutely recruit in March 2014. Waiting until January (unless the PE cycle is pushed back this year) will severely limit your options with very little benefit to you. It's very easy to recruit without letting your group know, if that's what you're worried about. Headhunters and buyside shops realize that not all groups are supportive of interviewing and will not contact your group without your OK. However, if your group is supportive of the other first years recruiting, I seriously doubt they would treat you any differently. I think you're overestimating how much they care about what you do, quite frankly.

"For all the tribulations in our lives, for all the troubles that remain in the world, the decline of violence is an accomplishment we can savor, and an impetus to cherish the forces of civilization and enlightenment that made it possible."

 
 
Nov 30,2017

you'll be fine, just focus on talking about what you have learned so far.

dollas

 
Nov 30,2017

I'm in exactly the same boat. I'm more concerned with the modeling tests though. Not to hijack your thread but how are you prepping for these? I'm comfortable building models, but I'm more concerned with various types of debt and and management ownership stipulations in the assumptions I'm seeing in old modeling tests. These are things I've never come across and I'm not really sure how to prep for that... Any thoughts?

Edit: an example would be PIK interest. Had I not seen it while practicing, I wouldn't have known how to model it.

 
Nov 30,2017

Someone else just started a thread about this you may find helpful: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/pe-associate...

If you're not familiar with something, then simplify it, skip it, and move on. Sometimes you'll have opportunities to ask questions while you model, sometimes not, but you'll always have an opportunity to explain what you did afterward.

 
Nov 30,2017

1. Deal exp doesn't actually matter that much in PE recruiting for first years. You've only been there half a year, how much could you have realistically done? There's a good reason why PE firms hire you for a job 18ish months out and not for an immediate start (usually) - they know that you'll get enough experience over your whole analyst tenure.

2. That sell-side deal - no one has to know it died. Just talk about what you did and learn to spin it.

3. I am always hesitant to suggest someone go ask their staffer for additional work because you have capacity (because that is how you get fucked) but maybe think about this. 2-3 months is more than enough time to get some meaningful experience in a deal. Maybe also go to some older analysts too and ask if they need some help. Beginning of the new year is always busy with new stuff in the pipeline.

Side note: You've been on one live deal (for one month) - what exactly have you been doing with your time? Pitching a ton? Then talk about that. If you've just been sitting around browsing ESPN though... You need to be proactive about getting experience. No one in your group is there to help you succeed in your career; they have their own to worry about.

 
Nov 30,2017

Also, OP: I do not know if your username is your real name or not, but if it is, I would suggest changing it.

 
 
Nov 30,2017

this is dated, but I'm interested on how it went, so how'd it go?

 
 
Nov 30,2017

Plenty of non mega funds that will recruit probably in a month or so is my guess

 
Nov 30,2017

Well it depends - are you open to different fund sizes, or do you HAVE to be at a mega/upper MM fund?

 
Nov 30,2017

What if I am targeting medium to lower MM?

 
Nov 30,2017

Then you should be fine. These guys typically go after the bigger firms, and for many, there are year-round opportunities since they recruit more on an as-needed basis rather than a strict schedule.

Note: I'm talking about firms with

 
 
Nov 30,2017