How to get a job at Goldman Sachs, the inside track

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How to get a job at Goldman Sachs, the inside track

Start the race early

If you want a job at Goldman Sachs, you'll need to be a bit special. The 'firm' has a notoriously huge number of applicants (eg. think over 250,000 applications per year and a 4% acceptance rate for internships) and is notoriously fussy about who it hires. You won't get in just because you have exceptional exam grades (although these will be expected). Nor will you get a job at Goldman Sachs just because you ran your university finance club. Goldman looks for something else too.

Goldman wants interesting human beings 

As a former Goldman recruiter wrote here in 2016, Goldman looks for 'unusual profiles', people who are excellent and ambitious and high achievers, but also something more. - People who are interesting as humans.

A former Goldman employee summed it up for us the other day. "What I actually found at Goldman was an organization populated by some of the smartest and nicest people I have ever met," he said. "GS gets to choose the best, and the best are not the people who put themselves first. Instead, Goldman chooses people that it finds interesting (ie. they do interesting things before and during their time at GS) and who they want to work with."

Goldman's recruiters themselves say it's all about diversity: "We seek out people with a diverse range of skills, interests and experiences. Use your application to tell us more about you and what makes you stand out."

If you're applying to Goldman Sachs as a graduate, the first you'll see of this approach to hiring will be the Goldman application form. There, you'll be asked to submit a 300 word 'motivational statement' alongside your grades and work experience. 

The Goldman Sachs recruitment team says they use this statement to find out more about the person applying and that they want to know the following:

·        Why do you want to work at Goldman Sachs?

·        Why are you interested in the division(s) you have applied to?

·        What makes you different to other applicants?

If you're wondering how to complete it, we have some advice from a consultant who works with Goldman applicants here. Be aware that this is your chance to shine. - The recruiter who used to work for Goldman said the motivational statements can be zany, including "poetry and things," and that Goldman once invited a Cambridge literature graduate to interview on the back of their "off the wall" comments.

Goldman wants people who exhibit some characteristics similar to its existing top performers 

Next-up will be the Hirevue interview. Hirevue is a digital interviewing system used by most banks now. Goldman's recruiters say you can expect, 'a structured interview which includes competency and behavioural questions alongside a divisionally specific question.' We have a list of some of the questions that have been asked in the past here. 

It helps to think ahead as there are no second chances and you only get 30 seconds to prepare each answer and two minutes to speak to the camera. The thing you need to remember about Hirevue is that there is no right or wrong answer. - It's not just about what you say, but how you say it. Hirevue works by using artificial intelligence to monitor 15,000 traits, including your choice of language, the breadth of your vocabulary, your eye movements, the speed of your delivery, the level of stress in your voice, and your ability to retain information. It then maps your results onto those achieved in similar tests who already employees. 

Unlike JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs doesn't currently use Pymetrics psychometric games during its recruitment process. If you're applying for a technology job at the firm you can, however, expect an extra process in the form of a Hackerrank coding test. To pass, people say you'll need to be able to write simple, efficient and accurate code and algorithms. One graduate said that only 20% of people on his course at a top London university made it through. 

Goldman Sachs wants to hire people it likes

If you make it through these preliminary stages, you will start to meet people who already work for Goldman Sachs at interviews. Unlike other banks, Goldman doesn't run 'superdays' or assessment centres. Instead, it runs a second round of face-to-face interviews. 

Goldman's recruitment team say you can typically expect three 30 minute interviews, although there may be more as needed. Engineering candidates can expect two 45 minute interviews instead.

To make it through, you're going to need to both impress and get along with your interviewers, so make sure your answers are excellent, but that you're not an automaton either.

You need to get into the process early 

That's about it. The last thing, is that if you want to work for Goldman as for other banks when you leave university, you need to get into the recruitment process early. Goldman's recruitment team say summer internships are a "key pipeline" for "full-time graduate roles," meaning that if you get an internship in the second year of a university course, you could get an offer to come back full time when you graduate. The firm also runs two week spring internships for students two years away from graduation. 

You could apply for 'local' offices

One very, very last thing is that thanks to Brexit, Goldman Sachs now has offices all across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. You therefore don't have to apply in London. The recruitment team didn't say whether the acceptance rate is any higher locally, but there are now graduate recruitment processes in each of the following: Warsaw, Frankfurt, Paris, Dubai, Stockholm, Moscow, Istanbul, Zurich, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Milan, and Johannesburg.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.

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Photo by Cortney White on Unsplash

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