Deloitte is the biggest of the Big Four professional services firm, while it hires thousands of people every year, it's standards remain high.
“We’re always looking for the best talent, and we’re pretty selective in who we hire,” Heidi Soltis-Berner, managing director for talent evolving workforce at Deloitte in the U.S. “Overall, our applications were very similar to last year – we got around 500k, and in the fiscal year 2016 we hired approximately 18,000 individuals, about 50% to 60% were from a campus setting, which equates to about a 4% hiring rate, pretty close to what it was last year."
4% seems like good odds when you compare it to the 2% of applicants let through the door at the likes of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, or the less than 1% of people who manage to break into private equity. The best way to get in remains internships. At the junior level, Deloitte hired 3,800 interns for the fiscal year to 31 May 2016, and hired 77% of them. It also added 6,400 graduate hires.
Outside of campus recruitment, Deloitte hired 7,800 people last year. Again, it helps if you're a known-entity. “To gauge whether someone will fit into our company culture, we rely on referrals – we know our people are typically our best resource for helping us find the right people,” she said. “Looking at experienced hires specifically, about 40% are coming through referrals, from our current population of partners and MDs, who know what types of qualified candidates fit our needs."
Like most investment banks and buy-side firms, Deloitte has started embracing video interviews as an initial screening process, and whittled down 12,000 candidates through this method last year.
Soltis-Berner said that it's "real-time, on-demand and more flexible" and also tests potential candidates' analytical skills as well as cultural fit. “We seek cognitive diversity of our employees to solve problems for our clients, so we also ask candidates to do an analytical business case to demonstrate their skills and see how they approach it from a structure standpoint in a methodical way.”
Deloitte’s approach to employee performance management has underdone a shift, moving away from a traditional performance review process, either biannual or once a year, to more frequent check-ins, reviews and snapshots.
“We’re providing more frequent feedback, more frequent conversations with professionals, but when we think about adjusting someone’s compensation it’s still on an annual basis,” Soltis-Berner said. “We look at performance snapshots, we look at employees’ contributions throughout the year, depending on the level they’re at, the clients they serve and the work they’re doing, but also other things they’re doing to create the Deloitte culture and community, such as helping with recruiting, pro bono work.
“All of that is taken into account when looking at how we reward someone on the compensation side,” she said.
Promotions and raises are not lockstep.
“Those are looked at based on the skills that someone brings to us, either from a prior employer or even during their college experience,” Soltis-Berner said. “We overlay that with a base pay and annual incentive program, a type of bonus, they can receive in certain businesses and at certain levels.
“We pay for performance based on each individual, the skills they bring, their sustained level of performance and how the business is performing, and one size does not fit all,” she said. “We view candidates for promotion on an annual basis at the same time as we make annual comp adjustments.
“We’ve moved away from a one-time meeting letting you know how you’ve performed for the year – rather, it’s a culmination of snapshots and check-ins as we review who is eligible for promotion based on criteria to evaluate employees’ sustained performance.”