Next cohort (Fall'24) start date: September 28, 2024

Top Mistakes When Hiring for Entry-level Roles in Finance

There is little dispute about the essential role attracting high quality talent to your company plays in the firm’s performance and growth.

The most competitive companies today find themselves in a tough labor market for employers, in which historically low unemployment and a disconnect between skills and market needs often makes identifying, hiring and retaining top talent a complicated mission. 

Firms in the investment finance space are no exception to that, and, despite offering attractive compensation, many struggle to recruit exceptional talent, or have a hard time with retention. One of the key elements to building a robust talent pipeline is to attract the best candidates early in their careers.

Be the First to Find Them

With the exception of some of the big investment banks, which have generally well-run summer associate programs, most investment firms ignore the entry-level space and either have poorly set up campus-based recruitment or skip entry-level hiring altogether. While there is nothing wrong per se about campus recruiting, the system does not work too well when it comes to identifying the best candidates. Firms take significant risks when they hire candidates with no previous experience, based purely on academic metrics or short interviews. Even candidates who may have interned at an investment firm during the summer may not work out well because they were likely tasked with repetitive low-level grunt work that did little to showcase their skills and ability, or lack thereof.  This often sadly results in mediocre hires which stunt the firm’s performance in the long run, not to mention the added cost of holding these campus hiring events.

The typical alternative, skipping direct entry-level hiring altogether and waiting to hire somewhat more experienced later on is somewhat safer, but much more expensive in the long run. This is because everyone tends to be looking for the same candidates, driving up compensation packages often beyond reason. It’s also hard to convince top talent to leave a role in which they have gained experience to move to a junior position elsewhere. This reduces the talent pool available and drives up the cost.

Finally, using recruiters is usually a good solution for mid or senior roles, but it tends to expensive and inefficient for entry-level hires. You may also find that there tends to be little appetite among good recruiters for these entry-level placements.

The ideal combination would be to hire candidates who are looking for entry level roles but have already been trained, vetted, and given experience. In a perfect world, universities would be in charge of giving graduates just that, but we all know that is not the case.  In fact, short of starting your own summer associate program, a good alternative is to directly hire within our pool of TrendUp Now candidates.

Our TrendUp Now candidates:

✔️ Have the right academic background for entry-level roles in investment finance. Our candidates hold degrees in Finance, Business or Economics from well-respected universities across the United States and Europe, with the rest holding degrees in quantitative fields such as Engineering or Computer Science. Many also hold professional certifications, such as the CFA.

✔️ Are given selective training from top professionals in all major areas of investment finance, such as investment analysis, modeling, valuation, trade management, and investment strategy.

✔️ All have relevant professional experience in the field, through our network of internships in buy-side finance firms. This allows us to identify their strengths and vet their performance in real-life settings, so you avoid expensive hiring mistakes.

✔️ Have the ambition and passion to break into this field, as they are the top performers in a program where they undergo extensive selective training for 3-4 months. This sets them apart from most of their peers and is a testament to their talent and hard-working ethos.

✔️ Are a diverse talent pool. Being a purely meritocratic program we identify and train the best candidates wherever they are. This allows us to have top candidates from varied backgrounds and experiences. Research consistently shows that hiring all candidates from different places (different schools, varied geographical areas, different life experiences etc) tends to contribute to combat groupthink and increase the skillsets and potential for diversity of ideas. In this regard, we are bringing Tech’s meritocratic recruiting style to Finance.

✔️ Best of all, all of this has no cost to the employer whatsoever.


If you’re a Finance firm looking for high quality, vetted, and experienced talent for entry-level and junior roles, check out our Employers page.

If you’re someone looking to break into Investment Finance, and believe you have what it takes, check out Our Program and apply for our next available cohort.

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