The small things millennial bankers do to annoy hiring managers

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The process of searching for a new job in banking has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Looking to cast a much wider net, human resources departments at big banks have fully embraced technology – from resume-tracking software to social networking sites to video interviews.

One byproduct of this evolution is that hiring managers and recruiters now need to look at candidates through a different lens. At the same time, prospective and junior bankers find themselves open to more scrutiny than they faced a decade ago. There’s a laundry list of small things millennials are prone to do during their job search that are drawing the ire of hiring managers. Here are a few that we’ve heard.

Full voicemails

A trend that is occurring more and more these days, said Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. No explanation is really needed to see how a full voicemail can hurt your chances of landing a job.

Social media miscues

The first thing one hiring manager does is to mine a candidate’s social media profiles for clues about who they really are. First, the obvious (for most people): don’t litter Facebook or Twitter with pictures of drunken partying and steer clear of aggressive political debates, she said. When it comes to LinkedIn, far too many people in financial services fail to keep their profile updated, Cohen says. This can not only be misleading for recruiters, but it also shows a lack of care and diligence, he said.

Video interview failures

Goldman Sachs’ recruiters recently posted a clip with their own advice for video interviews, suggesting candidates likely don’t always treat the process as if it were a normal interview. Dress business casual at a minimum, make eye contact with the camera as if it were a person sitting across the desk and don’t act like a robot by reading from notes that are off-camera, even if it’s a recorded interview rather than a live chat, they said.

No post-interview thank-you notes

A hiring manager at a New York advisory firm said candidates always sent thank-you emails following an interview – until recently. He said it’s happened twice this month alone, including with one junior candidate they were interested in “but were really thrown off” by the lack of following up. “It made us question her pretty hard,” he said. “It’s a red flag not to send one, especially if you want the job.” He and his colleagues will forward thank you notes to each other to compare candidates and to see if someone copy-and-pasted the same message sent separately to different managers.

One managing director at an investment bank said you should snail-mail a written note, but others we interviewed believe it would create too large a time gap.

Casual language

Using “yeah” instead of "yes" particularly annoys one veteran private wealth manager. He said he’s even read emails where candidates shorten words like “because” to “bc.” And don’t use acronyms. “LOL makes me see red,” he said.

Double submitting your resume

This one drives recruiters especially crazy. Sending your resume through multiple sources – LinkedIn, headhunters, job portals – will always make a candidate look bad, said Lisa Mogilner, a senior recruiter at financial headhunter Clear Point Group. “They look desperate and disorganized.” In fairness, this is more of a universal complaint rather than one aimed at millennials.


“I can fully vouch that millennials work half as hard as non-millennials,” said the private wealth manager. “It’s infuriating.” Clearly, he isn't a fan of the generation, if you couldn't tell.

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