Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

How Does a Big 4 Vet Go About Finding the Right Recruiter?

Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected]

Dear GC,

As I’m sure anyone with their resume on LinkedIn can attest to, I get a plethora of emails from recruiters. I’m currently not looking for another job, but I’ve always heard it is a good idea to find a recruiter to get to know so they’ll have a good feel for the opportunities that are right when that time comes.

I have friends who have used recruiters to obtain positions post-Big 4 but none of them were especially impressed. Do you have any advice for finding the right fit? In my case, I’m interested in getting my MBA and going the IB/PE route and would want to work with someone who has good relationships with local boutiques.


Advanced apologies – I normally don’t write posts before my afternoon whiskey…

Many people hold recruiters in the same light as real estate brokers: sure, they can be forceful, demanding, short with their time, and generally annoying, but they hold the metaphorical (and sometimes, literal) keys to your future. Ideally, you’d like to find one that you can trust. The firm at which the recruiter works at is more important than the recruiter themselves. Why? Because the firm represents clients, and clients means interviews, and interviews mean getting the hell out of your current sitch.

Your recruiter might have two clients (firms, companies, etc.) that are his/her responsibility, but as one of their candidates, you are eligible to receive an interview at any client represented by the firm. Do your homework – try to work with an industry-specific firm that matches up with your background. Ask about their recent placements. Anyone from your firm? Follow up with those people to see what their experience was like.

Sometimes, you will build a great relationship with your recruiter, recommend them to your friends, and invite them to your birthday party. Other times, they are simply a means to an end.

One more thing – start off the conversation by telling the recruiter that you’re interested in the MBA to IB/PE track. Why? Because this is not 2007 when a widget auditor could get a job at Goldman. The recruiter won’t be able to help you, at least not in the way that you think they can. They can’t just snap their fingers and land you on the emerging markets desk trading Brazilian bonds.

Why doesn’t it work that way? Ummm, do you READ the news? Unemployed bankers might as well be the new currency. Recruiters are beating disgruntled/underpaid/unemployed bankers away with sticks right now, all of whom (whom?) are more qualified than your undergraduate degree and 3 parts of a passed CPA exam.

Whiskey, stat.