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No jerks at BarCap?

According to Investment Dealers Digest (via DealBook), Bob Diamond plans to maintain Barclays Capital’s jerk-free status in its latest bout of global expansion. He’s seeking “a bigger presence in the US, the Mid-East and Asia”, and will be sticking to his ‘No Jerk’ policy throughout.

Jerk exclusion is nothing new. BarCap chief operating officer Rich Ricci mentioned it in an interview with BusinessWeek back in 2006. But what does it mean exactly?

Unfortunately, Barclays didn’t return calls asking for elucidation. Fortunately, BusinessWeek offers an inkling of what might be involved: “Job candidates are grilled in four-hour sessions and probed for flaws, especially any possible resistance to the team approach.”

Headhunters working for the bank confirm that BarCap is a fussy hirer: “They interview people on a whole load of different aspects of their personality and go into the minutest detail of their CV.”

Does this mean there are fewer jerks at BarCap than elsewhere? Maybe so: “It’s my impression that people are nicer here,” says a director at the bank.

Headhunters are less convinced that BarCap is a jerk-free zone, however. “Of course there are jerks at Barclays Capital. Jerks are endemic in investment banking,” says one.

“The real place to avoid jerks is Wachovia,” says another. “It’s the only place where I’ve had a candidate meet 20-30 people on either side of the Atlantic and every single one has been pleasant.”

Comments (11)

  1. This article is nonsense. Due to the pace at which BarCap has grown, their screening process has become extremely lax compared to their rivals. The norm is for offers to be thrown out after two hours of vaguely disinterested probing by junior managers.

    If you’re looking for a fussy hirer try Goldmans or Marshall Wace!

  2. Everyone I’ve met at Barclays Capital has been unusually pleasant. Why, only last week someone there opened the door for me and offered to assist me across the road. Those people are saints.

  3. BarCap grads are horrendously low quality – people with 2.2s who got in through back-door schemes like SEO.

  4. A ropey old comment Henry. Others have done so well? Lenham? I think not. Get over yourself. I suggest you remove your pinky ring as it is obviously restricting bloodflow to your brain.

  5. Henry – what r u talking about? Barcap is one of the top firms and their grad are not ‘low quality’. To take 1 (of many) examples, in the US grads from all the top schools (Princeton, berkeley etc) go there. Actually i think the firm is very near the top of most students lists esp for anything to do with FI
    Really it cannot be true there are no ‘jerks’ at the company out of how many 1000s of employees, but as i have now heard such comments about niceness several times, it is likely there is some truth in it

  6. A lot of people are very nice at Barcap, but there’s at least one head of desk trader who definitely violates the “no jerks” rule. Hell, I think he violates the “no nutters/nobody detained for their own safety” rule. I’ll never forget the stand-up row he had with the world’s most mild-mannered IT director, who promptly walked out of the building and didn’t return.

  7. Barcap has “lovely” ppl…They can’t get enough of the dodgy structures we keep creating and selling to them..haha!!!

  8. My hedge fund has a jerk only rule

  9. Hello,

    I don’t know much about banking but are they simply buying market share by putting assets onto the balance sheet (or off balance sheet), and thus increasing their league table rankings?

    Seems that if you do that you can be quite nice to other people and no-one will say anything bad ?

  10. In the grads class I’ve met, there where only idiots, except for the French.

  11. Worked at barcap for nearly 2 years , lots of young jerks trying to impress senior managers , backstabbing is rife . Few bullys and bigots that love to put the knife in . Barcap has grown very quickly in the last few years so lots of people jockeying for position . Dont agree with Jean Marc lots of non french grads with excellent profiles. Politics is the name of the game for the unskilled , incompetent managers that have not clue about mapping IT to business requirements .

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