"I joined Goldman Sachs as a VP. This is what they really look for"

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Goldman Sachs is hiring "outsiders." Both COO Harvey Schwartz and CFO Marty Chavez keep reiterating how the firm has doubled lateral hiring so far this year.  As we noted in October, a lot of these new lateral hires are arriving at vice president or executive level.  This does not mean, however, that getting a job at Goldman Sachs should be considered easy. 

We spoke to one very recent Goldman joiner who arrived as a VP from a European investment bank. He says Goldman Sachs isn't like other banks: Goldman Sachs is lean. 

"When you join Goldman Sachs, they want to make sure you can do more than one job," he explains. "It's such a lean organization that you're expected to do more here."

He cites equities sales trading as an example. While many European banks still employ distinct electronic, high touch and portfolio traders, he says Goldman wants people who can work across all three areas: "At GS you need to be able to understand all the execution channels, not just one."

All banks are moving in this direction, but Goldman Sachs is seemingly ahead of the pack.

The high productivity of Goldman staff was flagged by research firm Tricumen in its analysis of revenues per head at different banks during the first nine months of this year. Tricumen found that employees in Goldman's equities sales and trading and investment banking divisions generate significantly more revenues than peers. Only in fixed income currencies and commodities, where Goldman's had a difficult year, is revenue per head on a par with the rivals.

Because of this emphasis on productivity, the VP we spoke to says Goldman looks both for people who can multi-task and who are prepared to work "very hard".

"My experience suggests Goldman has absolutely not become any easier to get into," he says. "They're incredibly selective. It's a completely different environment here to any other bank I've worked for. The interview process is very, very thorough."

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Photo credit: The Seven Gummy Sins: Pride by Ryan Wiedmaier is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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