Rejected for a graduate job in an investment bank: how soon will you hear back?

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We're at the key stage of the year for investment bank's full time graduate recruitment processes. First interviews are happening or have already happened and assessment centres are in play, but you still haven't heard anything back after sending in your graduate application a month ago. Does this mean you've been rejected?

Not necessarily.

Investment banks' graduate recruiters aren't keen to publicly disclose how quickly they respond to graduate applicants for fear of being reprimanded by a student who's been waiting months for an answer. On the whole, however, graduate recruiters and careers services tell us the speed of response depends upon where you are in the graduate application process.

1. You complete the application form and undertake the numerical test

If you fail the test or fail to meet minimal academic requirements, you will hear back very promptly - probably within a few days. However, if you pass the numerical test and meet the academic requirements, banks may then sit deliberatively on your application and you will hear nothing for some time. "A month or so can easily elapse between the successful completion of the numerical test and the invitation for a first interview," says the head of graduate recruitment at a European bank. "We need to get out graduate recruitment targets confirmed by our business leaders and it's proving very difficult to do that this year," she adds.

Conclusion:  If you're an outright failure, you will hear back almost immediately. If you don't hear anything, no news may be good news.

2. You attend an interview or assessment centre 

Once you've attended a first interview or assessment centre, you should hear very quickly whether you've been successful or not, says the graduate recruiter. "After an interview, no bank will usually make students wait longer than a week to learn whether they've been successful," she tells us.

However, Polly Metcalf, a careers advisor at the Oxford University Careers Service, says it's not necessarily as clear cut as this. "It all depends upon whether the bank you're interviewing with is making offers on a rolling basis, or whether it's waiting to interview all candidates before it's making a decision," she says. "It really depends upon the process."

Are you waiting to hear back from an investment bank after making an offer or attending an interview? How long have you been in holding mode? Let us know in the comments box below. 

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