Why is Resume Screening so Random?

I applied to all the big consulting summer internships in London with an identical resume. Didnt get an interview at a single Tier2 firm (S&, OW, LEK, RB, OC&C) but got multiple rounds of interviews at both Mck/BCG. But I ultimately got no offers. This is frustrating because given how far I made it with MBB, I assume I could've interviewed well enough with at least one of the T2 firms. 

My point is, looking at where I got interviews and where I didn't, the CV screening seems to absolutely be luck. This is extremely demoralizing as it means there is nothing I can do to improve my chances much to apply to full time. Or is there?

Comments (8)

  • Investment Analyst in CorpFin
Feb 21, 2021 - 4:58am

London is very competitive with many many more qualified candidates than there are places - it is impossible for HR to pick the exact 'best' candidates for interview. At UG level, most people who get an interview will only get invited by 1 or 2 MBB/T2 firms with rejections from the rest - it is not the case that if you get an MBB interview you will definitely get a T2 interview. There are plenty of people who hold MBB offers without a T2 offer and vice versa. There is a lot of luck in the process.

Focus hard on getting something else for this summer, attend events, network and you'll have a strong shot at securing a FT consulting offer. Consulting internship classes in London are fairly small compared to FT so you'll still be in a good place.

Feb 21, 2021 - 5:21am

That's because a lot aspects go into CV screening, among them: technology that screen documents, keywords on your CV, personal relationships, OCR, legibility of your CV, brand of your school / experiences, and so much more.

It is sad that most recruiters don't have a lot of time to look at a single candidate, but at the same time we expect them to look at as many candidates as possible. The logic "if I can interview at an MBB, I should also be able to interview at T2" doesn't work.

The current economic situation won't allow many chances as it is, as stated above, luck plays a bigger role than ever. All you can do is make your document as legible as possible, include all keywords, with the right school(s) and interview well if you get a shot.


  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Feb 21, 2021 - 9:25am

as someone who did a MBB internship but decided to do IB FT, only thing I can say is recruitment is bullshit. As others have mentioned above LUCK is extremely important. Most firms have started adopting bullshit games (pymetrics etc.) as well as Hirevues (one-way video interviews) that are assessed by AI -- not even a real person. It is almost counter-intuitive since human capital is a consulting firm's greatest asset, thus they should make the extra effort (hire more HR staff to screen CVs not AI algorithms) to attract top talent, not repel. Don't get upset and demoralized (I know easier said than done), but hopefully things will work out for you in FT!

Feb 21, 2021 - 2:15pm

If luck is such a big factor, then does it follow that incoming classes at T2 and MBB firms are relatively equal in terms of talent? If so, why is there such a huge difference in perception by future employers? Is it because the training ad experience at an MBB is so much better (seems unlikely) or is the difference in exits overstated?

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Feb 21, 2021 - 2:28pm

There is a negligible difference between students at Ivy+ schools and those at state schools, but they get treated completely differently. Similar story here, perceived prestige and an established connection matters. If a firm is mostly comprised of alum from elite schools/firms they'll naturally prioritize kids from a similar background so we get this feedback loop of the rich get richer.

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