Private Equity Recruitment Guide: The Full Process (2024)

Private Equity Recruitment Guide: The Full Process (1)

Assuming you have the right background, there are a number of strategies and resources you can leverage to help secure a private equity job.

Private Equity Resumes

Just like any other professional role, your resume is your main “first impression” document. PE hiring managers are insanely busy and if they don’t see what they’re looking for within 30 seconds, your resume will be overlooked. The ideal PE resume should:

  • Primarily focus on relevant investment banking and deal experience.
  • Mention previous internships and jobs briefly and only if relevant
  • Briefly include educational credentials (University, GPA, SAT scores)
  • Very briefly mention Skills / Activities / Interests – don’t overdo it.

Refer to our full article on Private Equity Resumes (with Downloadable Templates and Examples) for more information.

Private Equity Interviews and What To Expect

In most cases, getting into the interview is actually harder than the interview itself. And the process will be somewhat different depending if it’s an on-cycle or off-cycle process.

That being said, almost all PE interviews have the following characteristics in common:

  • Multiple Rounds: 2-3 rounds minimum (and sometimes many more!) where you speak with professionals at different levels of the firm.
  • Topics Tested:
    • Fit/background questions
    • Technical questions
    • Deal/client experience questions
    • Questions about the firm’s strategies and portfolio
    • Market/industry questions
    • Plus undergo case study and modeling tests

Interviews will naturally include common questions, such as Why Private Equity? and Can you walk me through your resume?. You can also expect questions about your strengths and weaknesses.

For a deeper coverage of this topic, see our article on Private Equity Interviews 101: How To Win Offers.

Starting As A Private Equity Analyst

Up until relatively recently, Private Equity Analyst positions did not exist.

Banks hired the top students out of undergrad for Investment Banking Analyst roles, then the big PE firms swooped in to hire away trained bankers after a couple of years.

But then someone in private equity wondered why PE firms don’t just hire their own analysts and groom them themselves.

And just like that, Private Equity Analyst positions were born.

So, should you start as an Investment Banking Analyst and transition over to PE, or should you go straight into Private Equity? This article on Investment Banking vs Private Equity will help answer that question.

Private Equity Recruitment Guide: The Full Process (2024)


Is the WSO PE guide worth it? ›

WSO's PE study guide is your best bet and definitely worth it. The vault guide is also an OK source though has some errors scattered throughout. Beyond that googling different topics as needed is helpful.

Is PE recruiting hard? ›

PE hiring managers are insanely busy and if they don't see what they're looking for within 30 seconds, your resume will be overlooked. The ideal PE resume should: Primarily focus on relevant investment banking and deal experience. Mention previous internships and jobs briefly and only if relevant.

How to pass a private equity interview? ›

Technical and transaction questions require you to have solid financial modeling and valuation experience, with a strong understanding of how to make good investments. Firm and fit questions are more soft skills type questions and require being prepared to speak in detail about the firm and about yourself.

Why is it so hard to get a job in private equity? ›

Landing a career in private equity is very difficult because there are few jobs on the market in this profession and so it can be very competitive. Coming into private equity with no experience is impossible, so finding an internship or having previous experience in a related field is highly recommended.

Is it hard to become a WSO? ›

In order to earn the title of WSO, Airmen go through approximately two years of training to become fully operational. “The first step is going through either Officer Training School, ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) or the Air Force Academy to earn your commission,” said Capt.

Are PE hours better than IB? ›

As for hours, both private equity and investment banking can be demanding careers. However, investment bankers tend to work longer hours, often working late into the night and on weekends. Private equity firms also tend to have a more relaxed work environment and offer more flexible hours.

Do PE firms look at GPA? ›

The standard profile that private equity firms will look for is a candidate with a top undergrad degree, high GPA, and investment banking experience. With few exceptions, this is the only way in to the largest firms. There is some opportunity available for candidates with an MBB consulting background.

Does PE pay well? ›

For the vast majority of first-year private equity associates, the base salary is around $135k to $155k. Then, based on fund performance, bonuses tend to range from 100% to 150% of the base salary.

How hard are PE interviews? ›

Private equity interviews can be challenging, but for most candidates, winning interviews is much tougher than succeeding in those interviews. You do not need to be a math genius or a gifted speaker; you just need to understand the recruiting process and basic arithmetic.

Is private equity a stressful job? ›

but nowhere near as much as in management consulting. While the travel will be less, the work in private equity is very stressful and demanding, so the hours you actually spend working may be more stressful or mentally demanding.

What are the 3 P's of a successful interview? ›

In order to succeed in any interview, you should focus on the 3 Ps essential to an interview- preparation, practice, and positivity. Preparing extensively around the 3 Ps will help you give an edge over other candidates and increase your chances of getting hired.

Why blackstone answer? ›

Informal Tone:- I want to work at because it is a leading investment and advisory firm. Good luck with your Interview at Blackstone.

Can you do PE without IB? ›

While investment banking is by far the most common training ground for private equity, it is also possible to recruit for private equity roles after doing entry-level consulting, especially if you are a top performer at a top management consulting firm.

How do you land a job in private equity? ›

Getting a job in private equity typically requires a strong educational background in finance or a related field, relevant experience in areas like investment banking, and proficiency in financial modeling and investment analysis.

Does PE outperform S&P 500? ›

2 Furthermore, the S&P 500 slightly edged out private equity, with performance of 13.99% per year compared to 13.77% for private equity in the 10 years ending on June 30, 2020. 1 On the other hand, that was still better than the 10.50% average annual return of the Russell 2000 during that time.

Is PE less stressful than IB? ›

The corporate culture of private equity firms is usually more relaxed and less stressful when compared to investment banking. PE specialists usually work 40–70 hours per week and have a more flexible schedule.

How long do you have to wait to follow up on a WSO? ›

You can reach out about a week after the follow-up date if you haven't heard anything. This ensures that you aren't pestering them but are still in the know. If you did not receive any follow-up date then wait about 2 or 3 weeks after your interview to reach out.

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