Editor's take: Conservatively does it

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Sarah Butcher, editor of eFinancialCareers, on why over-egging your attributes in the recruitment game will do more harm than good.

There are few things less appealing than a man with generously gelled hair perspiring heavily. One is the same man subjecting you to a seven-minute monologue about how exceptional he is.

Both points appear to have escaped the attention of Aleksy Vayner. The 23-year-old has become a laughing stock ever since his self-promotional video slipped through the clutches of banking recruiters and made a successful global debut on YouTube that looks like a textbook example of viral marketing run amok.

Vayner has subsequently expressed: a) his horror at becoming an international laughing stock; b) his acceptance that, as an international laughing stock, he will probably never become a banker; and c) his genuinely held belief that a video of himself performing sporting feats (with immaculate hair) would go down well with banking recruiters.

"I felt demonstrating competency in athletics is a good way to stand out, because the same characteristics are the same in business," (sic) Vayner reportedly told the New York Times' Dealbook.

Really Aleksy? If you didn't know already, you will by now that, for all its emphasis on personal performance, banking is also about keeping a low profile and (if not possessing then at least feigning) a degree of modesty. Until you reach Studzinksi-style or Wasserstein-ian proportions, banking is about serving clients as a team, rather than serving self.

Vayner doesn't appear the only person oblivious to this point. His new found fame is in danger of being eclipsed by another 23-year- old, 'AJ the analyst,' whose two minutes of fame with "models and the bottle" and "hot girls, hot guys, together just having a good time," also looks like giving his career a nudge in exactly the wrong direction.

Banking may be a competitive industry, but is also a conservative industry, despite the impression given by some recruiting websites. If you want to stand out, do so in a conservative fashion - wear a pink tie and pick up that client call at 2am. Otherwise you are liable to go down in the annals of idiocy.

"I had one guy apply who turned up to interview with images of himself superimposed on photographs he'd acquired of the rest of the team," the head of capital markets recruitment at one US bank told me. Did he get hired? "No way," says the recruiter. "The guy was a weirdo."

You have been warned.

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