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Getting hired in investment banking: what does the process actually look like?

Team Prosple

Don't get discouraged by the deceptively simple graduate recruitment process – here are the four key parts of recruitment for investment banking graduates.

Alright, you’ve finally made it to the juicy part – how do you actually go about entering the world of investment banking? Applying for an investment banking job is a similar process to a range of other structured graduate programs. Let’s take a glance at the high-level process before deep-diving into the specifics of each stage.

The standard recruitment process for graduates

1. Submit your application

Investment banks will begin advertising graduate positions in March each year for roles beginning the following calendar year. Generally, you’ll fill in an online application that will include your CV and cover letter.

Okay, don’t freak out but the reality is that banks will receive hundreds, if not thousands of applications from students across the country. One way they manage and sort through the sheer number of applications is to use screening software that will look out for keywords and phrases in your application.

We talk later about how you can nail your application to put yourself in prime position to coast through to the second stage…

2. Online testing

Another key part of the screening process is online tests administered by the banks. These will generally be about getting a sense of your numerical capabilities, so they’ll be testing things like your arithmetic skills and confidence with fractions and decimals.

Tests generally only last about 20 minutes, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, this is a totally manageable commitment. But the challenge can often be not making it through all the questions in the time you have available.

Our hottest tip: make sure you read the questions through properly. You might be tasked with interpreting a graph or a data set, and given the time pressure, it’s easy to make small mistakes. Prove you’ve got great attention to detail and read everything through fully.

3. Assessment Centres

For some of you, this will be the part of the process that most excites you, for others, the step that most daunts you.

Assessment centres are a chance for recruiters to understand how you work in teams, how you solve problems, and how you might fit into the culture of the organisation. We’ll give you some in-depth tips about what to expect and how you can prepare for assessment centres.

4. Interview

Generally, the final stage of a recruitment process will be a classic individual interview in front of a panel. This might happen as part of the assessment centre, or in the aftermath. Interviewers will be looking to better get to know you, and test your technical skills and fit within the company.

Interviews are tough, but the reality is that practice makes perfect. The more prep you force your friends or family to sit through, the more you make sure you’re in the right headspace and as relaxed as possible, the better position you’ll be in to smash the interview!

Next up, check out how you can make sure your investment banking application stands out.