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S.G. Cowen: New Recruits

Introduction

Conducting job interviews is not an easy task since this is a complete stranger whom the interviewer is trying to draw conclusions about in one or so hours. The success of any company is dependent on the choice of employees it hires. The process of hiring in an organization determines the quality of recruits that will join the staff and fill vacant positions in the organization. It can be a hard process to find the right candidate for the job and for this, the organization will need to have proper strategies in the recruitment and selection process. Many companies use application forms that give a certain kind of information to their potential employers, and in following the organizations legal and ethical practices, when it comes to the process of recruiting and help to sort out from the hopefuls the right person who fits the job description.

The process will see the candidates sell their ideas and skills which they believe will greatly benefit the company. They need to portray the right signals of loyalty, commitment, hard work and willingness to take orders from senior staff. Such are the trends many companies are looking for and when the potential candidate is shown to have negative signals then they are disqualified.

When the sorting process is complete, they will engage the selected candidates in formal interviews. This type of process has been flawed seeing as it is biased to the candidates. What may appear on paper may not be the same in person. SG Cowen is a prestigious banking firm that has developed a rigorous recruiting process. It involves recruiting the very best MBAs from the top B rate schools in the country into their associate programs. The process is designed on recruiting the very best who have high academic achievements and have exceptional job accomplishments. For a long time, many investment banks used the strategy of consolidating which saw them buy up smaller businesses and this earned them their income through these mergers.

Over the years, this trend seemed to work out since the banks were assured of a stable income at a lowered expense, but after a while, their profits began to show a decline in spite the fact that their businesses were doing quite well. This decline was shown as a result of high expenditure gong to their staff. The banks were spending almost 50% of their revenue for paying their staff attractive wages so as to keep them within the business and not have them going out and starting up ventures that would be competitive to the bank. SG Cowen then came up with a recruiting strategy that sought to curb the entry of students who looked to large investment banks as a means to start their careers.

The process involves several stages from the recruiting team at the company. They begin making their presentations to the schools in which they participate in recruitment programs, but even with the concentration on these core business schools they also accept applications from other schools whose students meet the high academic standards and have quality job applications. The recruiting process begins in the fall when about 30 bankers who are members of the recruiting team choose from the schools the best students who qualify for their recruitment program. Unlike other firms which concentrate on the top 10 schools, they extend their reach and recruit form the top 25 schools in the country, thus, giving other top students a chance at joining the firm. The selected students are then invited to join the team leaders for another interaction process at the firm's offices for a final round dubbed the "Super Saturday".

The choice of schools for the recruiting process was very important for SG Cowen. They focused on the top 25 schools instead of the top 10 schools. The firm requires top achievers and specifically, they looked for loyal and committed candidates, who had a strong cultural fit with the organization. Their decision to look up the other top 15 schools was made due to the fact that even students from these B rated schools were also taught the same values of loyalty and commitment as the top schools in the country. Focusing on top schools would see them only garner the attention of lower performers in the schools since many other top firms showed attention to the same students. B rated schools also had high performing students, who showed the same zeal and dedication as their counterparts for the top schools. The firm is not limited to only these schools, but also opens its doors to other non-core students from other schools, but they had to travel to the corporate headquarters for those who had the commitment and met the qualifications.

SG Cowen also recruits interns and former associates and this serves to maintain a loyal and dedicated workforce adding to the fact that these former employees of the company have had training and are familiar with the workings of the company. This will lessen the task of the employers who do not have to undergo the process of training the new staff on the responsibilities and expectations in the work place. SG Cowen uses on-campus rounds and an event dubbed the "Super Saturday" to make their decisions on the best candidates for the programs. The on-campus rounds involve rough assessments and interviews conducted by the firm representatives. This process although viable is bound to be biased towards to the candidates. Some flaws may emerge for this type of selection.The recruitment team is made strictly of bankers and although aware of the corporate workings, a team from the Human Resource Department would be better suited to conduct the interviews. The bankers are not trained to conduct interviews and this factor can be the reason for them making biased decisions based on personal matters, and in this case, a fit candidate might not be offered a position in the firm for a variety of reasons such as marital status, personal beliefs and so forth.

The final process could see some of the candidates and company teams exhausted and this can affect the recruiting process. The Super Sunday event is made at the convenience of the company and the team members are under immense pressure to deliver the best from the selected group. It is difficult to reach an agreement on whether the candidate will be a good fit not only as a potential employee but as a potential co-manager. The fact that they are well equipped to handle such interviews may see them pick the wrong candidates based on personal attributes. It is up to the candidate in this do or die moment, where they must impress the interviewers or risk losing out on the opportunity. While this period is not sufficient to have adequate information on the candidates, they run on a clock and it may not give equal opportunity to all candidates to showcase their talents, at times the biased nature of the interviewers will hamper any chances of the candidates redeeming themselves.

Several suggestions have been made to improve the recruitment process at SG Cowen and ensure that they pick the very best candidates who are dedicated, loyal, and committed to the organization. One of these ways is participating in job fairs. These fairs attract students form all sectors, not only those taking MBAs for top schools. While many may not have specialization in the financial sectors, they have knowledge of the business sector and have potential to grow in the business as loyal and committed members of the firm. The firm should not restrict its students to the United States geographical location; it should look towards the European and Asian markets where they will include a diverse cultural experience to their company. Not only do they have the advantage of being multi lingual but they will attract a diverse clientele, many of these students would appreciate the chance to work in the United States.

The company should look to have more personnel from the human resource department involved in the recruiting process. This department in entrusted with the task of hiring and firing the staff and they have the necessary skills to conduct interviews based on the company requirements as opposed to the bankers who are more inclined to make biased decisions based on personal traits and other preferences, and this could see candidates who are qualified lose out on the positions. While upholding the strategy recruiting, it is important for the recruitment team to devise other ways of obtaining information from the candidates before they can have a meeting with them. One of the more common specific trends is online data selection. Using this method, they are able to pre-select candidates and file this information for when they need would need to recruit more staff to their firm in the future.

There are also online tests, which the candidates are given to check their analytical prowess and other mathematical and financial skills needed for the given job opportunities. These tests will enable the company executives to make a decision from those who show the most competence and this will narrow down the list of potential candidates for the specific set of skills. The interviews conducted in the Super Sunday event leave little time for the candidates and the company teams to properly interact. The candidates are under pressure and so are the interviewers and this pressure will lead to a frustrated lot, who will not be in the best position to give the process 100% concentration. The company could start the selection process through online tests and phone interviews which allow them to gather the candidates' thoughts on the company and how well they can relate if given an opportunity; these interviews can be in various phases, which culminate in a Super Sunday like event where they meet at the company headquarters and they are introduced to the managers and other relevant heads and from here the recruitment for the best candidate is done while making reference to previously gathered information.

The success of a company is dependent on the life of its workers, if the workers do not feel that they are benefiting or realizing any growth from their workplace, it is likely that they will seek alternative opportunities and this will result in a loss for the company, since the process of recruiting is not only time consuming but also financially draining. It is for this reason that companies should invest in a people centered strategy that is not just mere words but is accompanied by actions. It is not the largest companies that have the most success, even small companies attract a large clientele. When the management and their subordinates have the right attitude then success is inevitable. Some of these skills include: ensuring that employees have job security, upgrade the benchmarks for the recruitment process, and involve self-management among the staff, emphasis on training for the staff to keep them relevant in the business among other factors.

While making all these decisions it is important for the company to ensure that the candidate they are pursuing has an interest in the company. It will be of little use to pursue a candidate who is not available or who does not have the zeal to work in the company, this will be a waste of resources and time for the recruitment team.