Recruiting is broken

Why don't companies communicate their comp package off the bat? or even after initial rounds of interviews? Pisses me off that they offer you a subpar comp that you know you are not going to take after 4 rounds of interviews, 2 case studies, and an on-site meeting with seniors. Total waste of time. 

If the point is to get you exhausted and exploit opportunities to hire quality talent at a lower cost, they are wasting their time because top performers are getting plenty of better offers elsewhere. I guess this is more relevant for smaller shops with little info out there, but is there anything I'm missing? Isn't it a waste of time on their end as well if comp expectations don't align and offer is revoked after investing that much time into the process? I genuinely think this hurts credibility of some firms and think that I would be a lot more inclined to work harder for select processes I know I'm going to take. 

For context, I'm lateralling from a buyside shop to another. 

Comments (16)

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Dec 6, 2021 - 7:32pm

It should be mandatory to post a comp package/range on a job posting. Right below the quals/role description. Would save everybody time.

Dec 6, 2021 - 7:56pm

Interesting thought and agree, feels like a waste for EVERYONE.  Would you have interviewed or selected out if they posted what they offered (say +/- 10% if range)?    I feel like most comp data is readily available by the big recruiting firms (based on size of fund or AUM).  How far off were they from publicly available estimates based on size of firm?

  • Associate 2 in PE - Growth
Dec 6, 2021 - 8:22pm

Would have selected out. It's in the MM tech PE scene (think $1bn - $5bn fund) so wasn't expecting MF type of comp but it's even below market in that sense. Painful process and outcome for everyone. No idea why this is the norm.

Dec 7, 2021 - 9:27am

This is kind of on you. If early in the process you state that you want transparency about comp and they are really interested in your candidacy, they will tell you.

But if you don't ask for color, they likely won't give it to you.

Also, the higher you rise the more they actually expect you to negotiate, so offers initially tend to skew low. Within my friend group, I don't know anyone VP and above who didn't negotiate something from their initial offer.

  • Associate 2 in PE - Growth
Dec 7, 2021 - 10:28am

Thanks! Def could have done a better job getting expectations aligned. I never hid anything during the process when asked about my comp level, so I assumed it would be in the ballpark. 

Any tips for negotiating comp? Don't want to throw them off with a crazy number but don't want to low ball it either. Would love to have some context on this as I move through other processes.

Most Helpful
  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Dec 7, 2021 - 9:48am

I agree with what smokefrog said about this being mostly on you. Whenever I speak to a firm or headhunter I'm pretty clear on rough expectations. It has saved me a lot of time, since job titles don't map well across the industry (I've had people reach out to me about jobs that were 20-30% of what I make with fancy titles). You don't have to tell them how much you make, but you clearly have an idea of what you are looking for, be up front about it, I'm sure the other side is also pissed since they wasted a bunch of time interviewing you. They aren't trying to get you tired to accept lower comp, that makes NO sense for anyone (you'll just leave if you accept the job) and trust me, they didn't enjoy wasting their time either. Be upfront, everyone will appreciate it. 

  • Associate 2 in PE - Growth
Dec 7, 2021 - 10:22am

I get where yall are coming from and I do think I could have done a better job getting my expectations across early on (lateralling for my second FT job out of college so I still had that mindset). This one did not come through a headhunter so they had little info about me as much as I had little info about them including comp expectations. Although I didn't put a dollar figure on what I was looking for (I do think I should have to some extent), I never hid anything when asked about my expectations and current comp level.

That being said, why don't firms do the same in getting their expectations communicated early on? No one wants to waste time like you said but why does that communication piece fall under the candidate? It's not like I was looking for $500k comp package that I would not take any offers under. If they are going to offer a significantly below market comp (to be fair, cash comp was very low but they tried making up for it with carry), shouldn't they be more incentivized to be upfront about it rather than the candidate? Would save them more time than me I would think. 

  • Research Analyst in HF - Other
Dec 8, 2021 - 6:26pm

To be fair a lot of headhunters when I try and ask about expected comp for roles they always say "competitive" or "market". And for the hedge fund landscape that literally means fuck all so it's just quite useless. This has happened with many top tier headhunters for roles from blue chip hedge funds to highly pedigreed startup funds. Only time I've gotten comp figures is when I get to the offer stage basically and they ask what I want or if the funds are more structured (like Sixth Street for instance) do have a hard cap and I mention my comp is X and then they'll be like, just to be clear the max they'll go is Y (which was $25k below my current comp) etc.

  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
Dec 9, 2021 - 2:45pm

Yes headhunters will try and play that game but I'm very upfront with them and it usually works. Mostly: I don't want to waste my time and I don't want to waste yours. I also don't want you to look like an idiot in front of your client (the HF) if you bring them a candidate they won't pay up for. I'm looking for competitive comp, that means minimum X, and that's just to get the convo going (since I'm happy in my role, company, etc). 

Many times they'll come back and thank me for the time and tell me they can't hit that number. Other times they say no problem and we keep chatting. 

Dec 9, 2021 - 1:55pm

Veritatis libero praesentium velit ut corporis. Tempore ex soluta rem asperiores aliquam at. Aut adipisci ut ad ut est eaque sunt. Aut quia nobis porro est voluptatem velit aut. Eos dolorum qui quia fuga.

Laborum deleniti sunt consequatur vero. Asperiores est et vero et qui. Et nisi hic id culpa nam tempore voluptatem reprehenderit.

Veniam necessitatibus culpa commodi sed. Eos esse aperiam alias dicta enim amet.

Officiis est in autem libero aut vel perferendis. Aut et voluptas unde voluptatibus nesciunt. Harum praesentium illo asperiores aperiam.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

January 2022 Private Equity

  • Principal (8) $676
  • Director/MD (18) $575
  • Vice President (73) $365
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (72) $271
  • 2nd Year Associate (148) $255
  • 1st Year Associate (299) $220
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (26) $159
  • 2nd Year Analyst (66) $134
  • 1st Year Analyst (196) $120
  • Intern/Summer Associate (21) $67
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (228) $59