Reaching Out to Recruiters/Headhunters

I understand that it is still quite early to be considering this, but I was curious about the process of reaching out to headhunters early on. I'm a first year analyst at a BB in ER, and was wondering if it would be a good idea to reach out to/network with some recruiters just to touch base and get my name out there. Does this make sense at this point, or am I better off waiting until I am closer to finishing my first year?

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Comments (75)

Jul 31, 2016 - 5:40pm

My experience was less than positive, but maybe you'll have better luck. I started reaching out to them after being at my shop (BB ER) for ~18-24 months. Most of them didn't give me the time of day and quite a few said that if I didn't have a buyside job that they couldn't help me (kind of a catch-22 there). Having said that, if you're coming from a better BB than I did, you may have better luck. Based solely on my experience, my guess is they won't give you the time of day, but it probably doesn't hurt to ask if you have any friends in the recruiting business or specific connections you can use.

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Aug 1, 2016 - 8:48am

I recently reached out to a headhunter just to cover my bases for when I graduate next spring. She said that she should be my last resort and that hopefully I won't have to use her, for what it's worth.

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Aug 1, 2016 - 1:40pm

if you want to bounce from a BB to the buyside...the typical route is

IB 1-2 years and then bounce
ER - 4-5+ years and then bounce, but only if you have a good track record.
Trader - 2-5+ years, but again, only if you have a good track record.

ER takes more time because the buyside gets to read your research reports / watch your recommendation track record over time (which is what you are advertising)....vs in IB, you are just crunching numbers / modeling but not making investment decisions. Most ER analysts are actually not very good...so just because you have this job does not guarantee a move to the buyside.

The ER career path is into making investment decisions as a PM. If you just want to be a support analyst for somebody else's investment decisions, then you should have gone the classic IB route.

Both Research and Trading are implicitly a longer/slower path to the buyside. However, once you get to the buyside, the comp potential is much greater...because you are going straight for the PM role, vs just being an analyst.

In research, your immediate goal should be to
1) get published so that buyside clients can read your individual views, and be aware that you exist
2) build a shadow book track record...essentially, you are paper trading on a longer time horizon than average "traders" because you can only publish trade ideas every so often.

This track record is essentially your interview...buyside funds will read and track your trade ideas and your performance history over time (you should publish your trade ideas over time with a model PnL, based on a 100mm portfolio)...and after 2-4 years of good performance / track record, then you will be in a position to reach out to funds / headhunters with that track record / body of research work in hand.

So, at the end of every research report, you should have a table with all your trade recommendations over time
(entry date & price - exit date & price - assumed PnL on 100mm portfolio)
For open positions, list the securities closing price for that day, and the mark-to-market PnL.

You are interviewing for a PM position...so you have to act like a PM...if you want to eventually be offered a position as a PM.

Aug 1, 2016 - 1:56pm

Thanks for the input. I was thinking more of an investment analyst role vs. PM, but the way you put it definitely makes sense to me. I assumed a couple years in ER and then move to a shop focused on fundamentals since the work is presumably (somewhat) similar, especially when compared to what I would be doing in IB.

Aug 1, 2016 - 2:52pm

unfortunately, since you are in a position where the results of your work (your research and analysis) are published, the buyside gets to choose to read your work output over time, and then decide if they want you or not. If you were just an IB analyst/associate, your work product would not have the same visibility, but it is assumed that most IB analysts/associates have similar experience (until the actual interview).

The typical recruiting process for Research to the buyside is to actually publish unique research with good results, the go visit and talk to clients (after you publish a number of great reports, sales will start asking you to visit clients). This takes both time, and actual performance.

So, the question is...have you actually had any good performance yet? Have you been publishing both your analysis and your trade recommendations? If not, then you need to start doing that. Come up with a model portfolio (assume 100mm), with clearly defined investment thesis for both positions as well as trade entry / exit.

There really is no other alternative...just espousing on risks and potential surprises is not good enough...at the end of the day, in any security, you either, buy, sell, or are flat.

To be considered a "rockstar research analyst" you need to do more than publish an opinion and price targets. You need to publish TRADES, with both STOP levels and EXIT price targets if you want to be taken seriously by the buyside. Not all research analysts do this...but then most of them also don't get to go to the buyside.

If you just want to analyze companies, then you should go into IB. Research is a much "easier" job than IB in terms of pressure and day-to-day work product (which i'm sure you know)...but then the output is very different...because Research is really more closely aligned with Trading than it is to IB, but without the actual PnL pressure of a trader. If you think and publish like a trader, you will find a much more receptive audience.

Best Response
Aug 1, 2016 - 3:05pm

PE headhunter here.

It doesn't hurt to reach out to recruiters (most will accept connecting on LinkedIn even if you've never met, as long as you work for a BB or elite IB boutique). That being said, I'm asked almost daily by IB analysts whether they can have a coffee or jump on a call with me - while I'd love to, I usually have to decline. The reason is simple: what my clients require is extremely narrow and focused, and the odds that you have exactly what they're looking for are quite low. I need to make the best use of my time, and spending it with candidates unlikely to match my clients requirements is not the best strategy. Each executive search firm has established relationships with a comparatively small number of clients. To maximize your chances of success, you should be connected with as many headhunters focused on your interests as possible. My best advice: be on headhunters radar (i.e. connect on LinkedIn or send them an email) and let them come to you. While touching base with headhunters once a year or so is probably a sound strategy, shaking the tree constantly will ultimately annoy them and possibly lessen your odds of them reaching out.

The fruit will fall when it's ripe.

Good luck!

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:06pm

When to reach out to HH's (Originally Posted: 03/25/2017)

I will be joining a lesser recognized but prestigious boutique for FT this summer (think HL/ROTH/GH). I have my sights set on recruiting for upper MM or MF private equity - essentially the biggest fund attainable for me. With the slight handicap mentioned above, I am planning on being very aggressive with recruiting to get looks that might not naturally come to me.

Having said that, I've been thinking about starting to reach out to headhunters throughout the spring before I start work to introduce myself, tell them my goals, etc. Would this be a good move or would I come off as being way too intense? I want to be on their radar but am scared that this to backfire and work against me. Would welcome any and all opinions and advice.

Thanks in advance.

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:08pm

Reach out to Recruiters (post-IB) (Originally Posted: 01/12/2012)

So I am interested to hear from anyone who has had experience reaching out to recruiters either during or after their time as an IB analyst. I know a lot of the analysts at the BB firms have the recruiters directly reach out to the, but what kind of stories does everyone have sending e-mails, cold-calling, etc. the recruiting firms?

If you were to reach out to them, what would be the best way to do it? How would you structure an e-mail or message? I know some of them have resume submittal links on their sites, do those work or do you have to still reach out in person?

Also does anyone have advice one way or another on firms that have been more or less helpful to them?

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:10pm

Contacting Recruiters (Originally Posted: 06/19/2012)

This may be a dumb question but is there any way to connect with old recruiters in hopes to get interviews for FT positions if you didn't get the offer from their firm?

I interviewed at an accelerated superday due to study abroad for a SA position last winter at a BB for IB.
Didn't get an offer. HR called to let me know, etc. Said I should contact them anyway and let them know what I'm doing for the summer and such. I figure it is a bunch of bs and that they don't care too much...but is there any way I can follow up with them and actually tell them now...or any way to try and gain another interview from this for FT?

I am still bamboozled on how I got that superday...I hadn't contacted any alumni and really had no contacts at the bank who could've helped. I applied to take a shot in the dark for accelerated and landed it.

Anyway, are there possibilities? I'd love another shot at it but I dont know how to land another interview without contacts, even though I managed to get one originally.

Thanks

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:12pm

Recruiters - Contact? (Originally Posted: 01/23/2013)

Anyone know a contact in recruiting at BMO Capital Markets? I spoke to a great person over the summer but she's not there now. Can't reach anyone in NYC or Chicago offices. Should I email a banker who visited my school?

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:17pm

Reach out to recruiters (Originally Posted: 08/23/2016)

I go to a non-target school. What is the best way to reach out for recruiters for full-time ib interviews? Already landed an interview with GS through an alumni connection, but I want to keep my options open in case that dose not work out. Aside from GS I am looking into MS, JPM, and Citi.

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:20pm

Contact alum recruiter? (Originally Posted: 07/03/2017)

Rising junior at a non-target- has anybody had success with contacting alumni working in HR, specifically recruiting? My school network, especially for IB, is very small and there are no alumni working in IB at quite a few MMs. Should I reach out to alumni in HR or try to find someone in IB through another connection?

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:22pm

Contacting a BB Recruiter (Originally Posted: 06/10/2009)

My friend gave me the contact information for a BB Head of IB Recruiting. I plan on e-mailing first then calling him if I don't get a response? Should I just introduce myself and let him know what I can do to better position myself for an IB SA interview for next summer. Any questions in particular I should ask? Thanks.

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:30pm

Contacting Headhunters (Originally Posted: 07/26/2016)

Can college kids contact headhunters for IB internships? A friend of mine used one to find insurance internship/job. Will the banking head hunters even waste their time with a college kid?

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:33pm

Good group, worth reaching out to headhunters? (Originally Posted: 08/30/2016)

So I'm a 1Y at a pretty good boutique (MoCo/Laz/Evercore/Gugg) that traditionally has had gotten good upper-MM/even MF looks over the years. Headhunter love is usually present even if at BX ("PJT") RR levels, and the older guys at the firms have been getting inbounds for a few weeks asking for my class' contact info.

I figured the conventional wisdom in this spot was to sit tight for now, but I listened to a webinar where a guy at a similarly solid group claimed that his adding recruiters on LinkedIn (rather extremely, right after his summer offer came through) paid dividends the next winter when it came to getting looks, hearing about things earlier than the rest of his class, etc.

Where do people stand on whether this is actually effective? Could it be perceived as over-eager, and will people even respond beyond perhaps accepting a LI connection? If it could work, who among the dozens of recruiters even at a firm would be best to target?

As quick background, I have a dece (~3.7) GPA from a top target. Didn't intern at my current group, so though I'm getting progressively better assignments, they're not quite the caliber some of the superstar returners have been on since we started.

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:39pm

Is It Okay to Contact Recruiters Who Didn't Give You Their Info? (Originally Posted: 12/14/2009)

So I've met some recruiters whose business cards I don't have because I made the mistake of not asking them for their cards after the events. I figured it might be considered strange for a freshman to be following up after an informational session anyway, but I decided that I might want to demonstrate my interest early and enthusiastically so they're more likely to remember me later.

Is it appropriate etiquette to research the emails of people who with whom you want to follow-up?

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:44pm

I was given the recruiter's contact info - now what? (Originally Posted: 11/08/2010)

After networking with alumni and family friends I was given names/emails for recruiters at a few BB's. My question is this - What is the most effective way to reach out to these people to ensure that they will review my resume and consider me for the interview process for SA's? Would a phone call be appropriate? If it's an email do I attach my resume? Is applying online still a must before any contact is made?

I have a general idea of how to best proceed, but any advice on proven ways to reach out to HR to improve the chances your resume gets a look is always appreciated.

Thanks everyone

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:46pm

ill send you a pm in a bit

looking for that pick-me-up to power through an all-nighter?
Aug 1, 2016 - 3:48pm

How to connect my friend with headhunter (Originally Posted: 05/29/2012)

My friend just quit and is searching for a new job in IR or general finance role (have rich experience in both). I have a few finance headhunter contacts that used to contact me for some job opportunities (turned them down but got their emails or connected on linkedin).

How do I go about helping my friend? Should I just email these headhunters out of blue introducing my friend (copy his linkedin profile and roughly mention he is looking for A,B,C field and please keep an eye if there are any matches?)

Don't want to be too abrut or rude as I don't know these headhunters well, also don't want to hard sell my friend (might look too desperate)

Anyone has experience in this?

Thanks a lot!

Aug 1, 2016 - 3:58pm

Good group, worth reaching out to HH's? (Originally Posted: 08/27/2016)

So I'm a 1Y at a pretty good boutique (MoCo/Laz/Evercore/Gugg) that traditionally has had gotten good upper-MM/even MF looks over the years. Headhunter love is usually present even if at BX ("PJT") RR levels, and the older guys at the firms have been getting inbounds for a few weeks asking for my class' contact info.

I figured the conventional wisdom in this spot was to sit tight for now, but I listened to a webinar where a guy at a similarly solid group claimed that his adding recruiters on LinkedIn (rather extremely, right after his summer offer came through) paid dividends the next winter when it came to getting looks, hearing about things earlier than the rest of his class, etc.

Where do people stand on whether this is actually effective? Could it be perceived as over-eager, and will people even respond beyond perhaps accepting a LI connection? If it could work, who among the dozens of recruiters even at a firm would be best to target?

As quick background, I have a dece (~3.7) GPA from a top target. Didn't intern at my current group, so though I'm getting progressively better assignments, they're not quite the caliber some of the superstar returners have been on since we started.

Aug 1, 2016 - 4:00pm

How to retain recruiters (Originally Posted: 02/24/2018)

Hi,

I am a 3rd year event driven analyst focused on special situations (catalystic long/short and distressed debt) and merger arbitrage. I work in Canada and would like to transition to the US at this point. Looking for some strategy/insights from the folks at WSO. I am thinking of using recruiters. Can anyone recommend a list of good ones that I should introduce myself to? More importantly, how do I deal/retain recruiters? Should I call to introduce myself or just email with my resume? What should I say in my emails? Love anyone who have experience with this share some tips here.

Thank You,

Aug 1, 2016 - 4:02pm

Working with Recruiters in Finance (Originally Posted: 06/05/2012)

We're curious to get feedback... what has your experience been working with recruiters in Finance?

From over 25 years of experience recruiting project based consultants we have learned ALOT and want to keep improving the experience for our candidates in the recruiting, application, and selection process. Your insights are MUCH appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Aug 1, 2016 - 4:04pm

Best Way to Find a Recruiter in the South (Originally Posted: 12/02/2015)

Hey WSO,

What would be the best method to engage a headhunter in the South? I'm looking specifically at New Orleans, Houston and Dallas, and really looking for either an equity analyst role, foundation/ fund of funds, or FP&A.

Thanks,

Aug 1, 2016 - 4:08pm

What do recruiters want ?? (Originally Posted: 02/22/2018)

What are the incentives of IB (and other finance) recruiters in general?

Do they have an incentive to find more qualified candidates? Are they compensated based on the quality of candidates they source, etc.?

I always thought that recruiters have no power at all, but today I had an informational interview on campus with a BB recruiter. I told her I'll be interning at another BB after sophomore summer (I didn't put it on my resume), and then she suddenly got super enthusiastic, and asked me how my application process is going with her bank.
I said I applied for diversity program, but haven't heard back, and she was able to check the status of my application on her computer.
Then an hour later I received an invite for a 1st round interview.

So do recruiters have any power to chose ppl to interview? And why did she get so enthusiastic after hearing about my other internship? Why does that matter to her specifically?

Aug 1, 2016 - 4:10pm

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