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Sending Emails to Quant Recruiters

Jan. 21, 2020 4-minute read

The best way, by far, to land a quant job quickly is to use your existing network and ask for referrals. Worst case scenario is you get an informational call with (1) someone on the team, (2) the hiring manager or (3) an in-house recruiter working on placing someone on that team. Best case scenario is you get an actual interview with one of those three people. And if you have an AMAZING connection to a company, team or hiring manager, then you are already basically hired before whatever "interview" you may actually have. However, some of us are not so blessed to have such a powerful quant finance network that we need to reach out to recruiters (headhunters) directly.

Internal vs. External Recruiters

There are 2 types of recruiters that you will likely encounter on your quant job quest: in-house recruiters and external recruiters employed at headhunting firms. I would argue that neither is better to work with as both will, in the end, have the connection to the hiring manager. If the hiring manager is new at firm, he or she a may prefer to use his or her existing relationships with external quant finance headhunters rather than in-house recruiting resources.

Maximizing your chances

If you apply online through the company's website, via LinkedIn or Indeed, from your school's job board or with the firms careers email address, there is no guarantee that anyone will look at your application. This is especially true if the job posting has been up for a while. At that point, hiring may not be a priority perhaps. So applications will just pile up in the job application software or email inbox, day after day, without anyone bothering to check. This leads us to another fact that you should realize. Resumes that are submitted shortly after the job is posted have a much higher probability of getting seen than those submitted after the job listing has been open for a while. It's like that HFT maxim "better to be faster than smarter".

The process will look as such. The job posting goes up on say Monday. The hiring manager will wait a period of time for the applications to accumulate. Say on Friday, they do their filtering of the applications and pick say a handful of people to interview based on who they see fit. They interview those people, if one candidate works from that group then that candidate will likely be hired and all applications that come in after that Friday will never be considered. If no candidate fits the bill, then after that first wave, they will look at all applications that have come in since then and repeat the process. This can be a tedious process for the hiring manager so he or she may instead opt to get a headhunter to effectively outsource this sourcing and filtering process.

Working with recruiters

Recruiters are in many ways the gatekeepers between you the candidate and the quant role that you seek. If you have LinkedIn or if recruiters have your email address, they will contact you randomly about roles that they are trying to fill. However, you do not need to passively wait for them to contact you and you can contact them directly! If you are a good candidate, then you are doing them a favor by reaching out as you will be place easily and thus getting them their commission. Remember, headhunters are paid by the hiring manager and will likely be 10% to 25% of you first year base salary provided you stay there at least 6 months to a year. So don't feel like you are bothering them by contacting them, this is their business after all.

There are many headhunting firms out there. Some covering all types of industries, some covering all finance roles and some specializing in certain sub-sectors of finance. And within each firm, each headhunter has his or her own speciality that they focus on, be that level of seniority or candidate skillset. If you sign up for our site, you can filter for different headhunters by their geographic coverage, industry coverage and other specialties.

Contacting the recruiter

Once you have narrowed the list down to a few recruiters that would be a good fit for you, you just need to email them. Recruiters are busy people and are not going to read some long email. So keep it short. Include the following:

  • Tell them your name
  • Where you are currently working (how long, what division & position) or what you are currently studying at school (major, year)
  • what kind of firm (asset management, banks, hedge funds, etc.) you are looking for
  • what kind of role you want (risk, quant research, trading, structuring, etc.)
  • a brief description of your skill set
  • and possibly some salary expectations
  • Attach your resume and tell them you would love to chat if they have any suitable opportunities for you and then you are done.

    Don't hesitate to work with a few headhunters. They each have their own network so given the immediate needs of the hiring managers they have relationships with and what you want, there may or may not be a match. I would just stay clear of working with 2 headhunters at the same firm. That will make for some unpleasant conversations. Also, generally be kind with the headhunters as you do not want to get blacklisted at that firm. They likely will take notes on their firms internal software about you to see if they will ever want to work with you in the future! But also, if you don't enjoy working with a particular recruiter after your initial interactions, then just feel free to move on to any other one as there are plenty of them out there.

    Be prepared for your interviews

    Hopefully the headhunters help you land a few interviews. Be prepared. Quant interview can be quite difficult and that is why we built this site: to help you prepare for those quant interview questions. If you do well at your interviews, the headhunter will be more excited to work with you as you will be easier to place. Initially in your career they are taking 15% of your $100k base salary. But if you impress them with your performance in those quant interviews, in a few years they can then try to place you again for 15% of your $300k salary. So again, be prepared and all will go well. It's just a numbers game, and your life, after all.