No jerks at BarCap?

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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."