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Goldman Sachs’ global recruitment head answers your questions

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As promised, Michael Desmarais, Goldman Sachs’ global head of talent acquisition, has responded to your career-related inquiries. Check out his answers below. You can also click here for his answers to our questions.

Do all levels of employees experience action like the senior levels?

We pride ourselves on being a relatively flat organization and giving all employees a great deal of responsibility.  Junior and mid-level employees often work right alongside senior leaders of their division.  These employees also have the opportunity to work on client projects and, depending on the project and team, may interact with the clients on a regular basis or present certain aspects of a presentation at client meetings. These interactions are important learning opportunities.

In your opinion, what kind of investments should hopeful candidates make in themselves?

From a campus perspective, we are looking for candidates who are well rounded.  Candidates should show dedication to their academics but also be involved in extracurricular activities that will help them develop leadership and teamwork skills and a diverse perspective.  Also invest in your personal brand – and how you want a prospective employer to view you.  Those who wish to work at Goldman Sachs should dedicate time to learning more about our industry and our firm, and be able to speak to why they’d like to work here.  On the lateral hire front, we are interested in candidates who have excelled at the job they currently hold, and who also exhibit leadership and teamwork skills.

What ways do you welcome new hires and make them feel a part of the team? Any resource groups?

All new employees attend an orientation that allows them to learn about the culture of the firm and meet senior leaders.  New hires from campus are given several weeks of training on subjects ranging from accounting to financial modeling to presentation skills.  We also have extensive continuing education from our GS University team, which provides in-person and online seminars on a variety of technical and firm culture skills.  Additionally, the firm has affinity networks for groups of people to come together to share experiences and junior hires are assigned mentors and buddies to help them with their transition.

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What is the best, most efficient way to change one’s career path toward banking without current applicable experience? 

On campus, we aren’t solely looking for finance or economics majors.  We believe that those who have excelled in a variety of areas of study can have successful careers at the firm as long as they have an interest and passion for what we do.  At the experienced level, we hire people across a wide variety of professional backgrounds – from legal and HR to high tech and engineering.  Again, we are looking for people who have excelled in their careers, but they should be able to articulate why they are looking to make the move into financial services and the skills they have developed that would be transferable to our industry.

I read on eFinancialCareers that Goldman intends to hire 40 additional analysts for 2014. Could you please elaborate on which segment (front/middle/back office) and/or business areas (trading/M&A etc.) will the hiring be most focused on? Also, do you intend to hire more graduates directly or more interns and give more offers via that route?

The article referenced here refers to additional hiring into our investment banking division.  However, we hire analysts into all of the divisions at the firm, with a higher concentration joining Investment Banking, Investment Management, Securities, Operations and Technology divisions.  We do get the majority of our full time analyst hires from our internship programs but depending on the environment we could ramp up hiring of graduates who did not go through the intern program.

What’s the point earning all that money if you never get the time to enjoy it? 

We’re looking for people who want to pursue opportunities for personal and professional growth. We encourage our people to define their top priorities in order to achieve the right balance.  Our employees work hard but they also make time to pursue personal interests as well as to contribute to their communities.

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