1. Do you have prior experience with recruiting and hiring (as a candidate)? If so, based on your experience, what were signs that the process was going well or was not going well? Based on my experience, the most important signs that the process was going well were: – The interviewer acted interested, polite, listened carefully, asked good questions and the discussion went smoothly. – The job interview lasted more than the scheduled time. – I was introduced to the other team members.
– The interviewer spent time answering my questions. They told me many details about the job duties, responsibilities, company culture, workplace environment, etc. – The interviewer asked for my references.
– They did not answer phone calls during the interview. On the other hand, I felt that the process was not going well when: – The job interview lasted less than the scheduled time. – The interviewer was not interested in your talking: did not smile while talking to me, kept looking at his watch when I was not looking, looked bored.
– The interviewer did not ask detailed questions.
– He or she did not look friendly.
– They shake my hand coldly with no eye contact.
– He or she did not mention the next interview stage – wanting you to call the secretary.
– The interviewer mentions that he already has other good candidates.
2. What are the key decision points and the decision process used by the company to make its hiring decisions? Cowen looks for loyal candidates with a strong cultural fit as well as people who are fast learners since “Wall Street doesn’t have the patience to allow someone to develop slowly”. Cowen has three different methods to recruit its candidates. People who had employed as analysts could be promoted to associates at the end of their third year with the firm; people who started as interns and have gained experience with the firm could be promoted to associates. And finally, new people associates could come from hiring processes. It starts in the “core business schools” that participate in the on-campus recruiting programs. Firstly, the company makes company presentations in these business schools.
However, students from other schools can also participate in the recruitment by assisting in these meetings. The selection process starts with “informal interviews” conducted by Cowen’s professionals, which are a chance for SG Cowen to evaluate how serious and enthusiastic the candidates are and a chance for candidates to learn more about the firm and the industry. Rae (recruitment director) assigns a team captain to each school, who makes informal interviews and takes notes to evaluate each candidate. Some team captains tell students to get in touch with them; it is a way to self-select students who really want to be prepared for the official interviews.
Then team captains choose the candidates who could assist to Super Saturday. Super Saturday, which is considered the final round of the process, begins on Friday afternoon when candidates convene with many of the interviewers for dinner. On Saturday morning, interviews begin and each candidate and interviewer have five half-hour sessions to convince Cowen’s bankers. At the end of the day occurs the final decision, all the Cowen’s bankers take the decision together about which candidates would be hired. Successful candidates receive offers to join investment banking. By the time training program starts, each new associate is assigned to a group.