Amirose PanacherryStaffing and Selection Case study 211/17/2011 SG Cowen’s biggest strength in their overall hiring process is how invested they are in the whole process. The amount of time, effort and money SG Cowen puts into finding the best candidates is a strength they play upon to retain their clients and to make sure they stay focused in their market. Another benefit I see in their hiring process is the fact that they are fairly specific in what they are looking for, it allows them to hone in on a particular group and narrow the field.
Their specificity also narrows down the selection pool but makes the recruitment process far more customized, which is what they want for their organization. Internally recruiting is fairly simple in terms of the guidelines they follow. The role of associates can be filled by analysts who are currently employed with SG Cowen, usually after 3 years of service they can apply for the position. Another way that SG Cowen hires associates is by hiring the interns that work for them between their first and second year of business school.
This is beneficial for the company because it allows them to really view if these employees would excel in the position for the most part. They are familiar with the culture of the organization, which is a major factor in determining whether a candidate is the right person for the position. External recruiting is where SG Cowen takes a variety steps to make sure they get the kind of candidate they’re looking for. SG Cowen only takes candidates that have an MBA and their recruiting starts at their specified core schools. Which due to Rae’s strategic planning evolved.
The core schools used to be the core schools of most top business and banking institutions. Eventually SG Cowen understood this may not be the best strategy to attract the top talent they were looking for. Although the organization was a well-respected international organization there were larger firms that attracted start students at these schools. So rather getting second tier mediocre students from these major universities, SG Cowen decided to go a different route and go to the next 15 schools and recruit from the very top of their class.
I felt this was an excellent strategy, the students at the following schools understand what a position at an organization like SG Cowen means, and may realize that these opportunities are few and far in between, allowing them to be motivated and enthusiastic in trying to get a position as an associate. The actual presentation that SG Cowen gives at these core schools I believe address key items that people entering in the work force look for. Recruiters look to address 4 major questions right away, who SG Cowen is, what they do, what makes them different from other banks, and what they’re looking to do as an organization.
A lot of the recruiting is based on the potential candidate’s ability to initiate. The potential candidates that take the time to reach out to their designated recruiter with questions and serious interest in SG Cowen are looked upon more favorably. Candidates who make time to come visit the actual firm are looked at in higher regard because it shows the great interest they have in the organization. Also another major positive aspect in their recruiting process is the ability to give a potential real life timeline as to where they should expect themselves to be if they stay with company and perform consistently.
After three and a half years as an associate they can expect to move up to Vice President and then eventually a managing director. One potential issue with the recruiting process of SG Cowen Certain items in recruitment and selection SG Cowen can look to improving could include the places they look do their core recruiting. They should possibly invest in looking at other schools to add to their core school list; maybe look to see what other schools are emerging as institutions that take great care in their business programs. This will allow them to widen their talent pool.
An item they should be looking to do is formalize their grading metric during Super Saturday. After reviewing some of the sheets used by the interviewers, it looks like there could be more consistency across the board. Also centralizing the grading system can perform some kind of uniform method that the interviewer could assign a more specific grade can help in the deliberation process for the people that fall in the “maybes”. Also considering that many of these individuals who are interviewing candidates on Super Saturday are not Human Resource professionals, training as to how to properly conduct an interview can prove to be beneficial.
Although it is valuable that the interviewers were all at one point in the same position as the candidate looking to become an Associate, it can also sometimes prevent interviewers to be objective while interviewing. An underutilized assessment method I feel that SG Cowen could benefit from is an in basket exercise. I believe this would a valuable tool in helping to assess whether or not the organization will benefit from this candidates skills.
SG Cowen emphasizes the importance of a culture fit and the ability to work in certain situations, and having the interviewers be actual associates and bankers they do have the opportunity to give the candidates a realistic job preview. Also they are looking for candidates that are more traditionally banking centric and are not looking to expand in technology and other fields that banking institutions. In using an in basket exercise, this will allow candidates to demonstrate how they would handle particular situations that often arise in an Associate’s first year.
They are able to demonstrate their business and banking savvy. The cost of implementing this assessment method would be mainly the time invested in allowing candidates to execute it, there may not be actual real costs involved since the majority of the exercise would be theoretical, so there would be no actual items to purchase for and would mainly be used to measure the way the candidate would approach the given situation, hopefully a real life situation that may have occurred in the.
The utility of this is also apparent, in using and in basket exercise, you are presenting the candidates with situations similar to what they will come against as an associate, this can be considered a direct correlation as to how successful a candidate would be in the position. A potential adverse impact of the mixed basket could be that finding situations that are appropriate to use. Also the time constraints in trying to perform these in basket exercises can prove to be detrimental.
Although there can be a variety of issues in executing this assessment method, the potential gain from doing an in basket exercise I believe can be very valuable in predicting the success of a hire. The idea of Super Saturday can be daunting not only those who are being interviewed, but the interviewers also, to help prevent decisions being made in haste so they can make sure they make the right decision. This is quite important considering the great emphasis put on the talent SG Cowen looks for in their associates. Every candidate needs to go through the same deliberation process.
Clearly some of the candidates instantly have the approval of all the managers on hand, this is why it is important to make sure the assessment is explicit in what it is measuring, so it can be clear as to why the candidates who were instantly chosen. Then when debating candidates that may not be an instant choice, the areas in where they lack or are strong can be clearly identified. Chip should also look for a way to streamline the interview process, the fact the candidates have to sit through multiple one on one interviews. It might be more beneficial to utilize the panel interview process during Super Saturday.
Perhaps have the senior most managers on a panel and also individual interviews with managers below them. The panel interview will allow Rae to be able to include all the senior most members of the organization he wants but also allowing Super Saturday to be more efficient. The Super Saturday issue always falls My top candidate would be Natalya Godlewska, the reason being I believe her credentials are impeccable, her background is beyond impressive and her knowledge of the banking industry both domestically and internationally could be extremely helpful, considering SG Cowen is also a French bank. She received glowing recommendations.
Her initiative in getting in touch with the Cornell Business School recruiter and setting up an informational interview where she attended on her own accord, speaks volumes as to the fact that she has a clear interest in working for SG Cowen and feels that she can benefit from what the organization has to offer her. The second candidate I would choose would be Andy Sanchez. Andy Sanchez is a self-starter and an entrepreneur, running a highly successful company while still in school. The only real hesitation is his less than stellar GPA. This I can overlook due to the stresses of running a company and all the experience he gained in doing so.
His interest in SG Cowen did not wane and he did make it a point to come to the office whenever he was in town and was conscientious enough to follow up consistently. It appears that he is committed in being up to date in the current banking industry and SG Cowen themselves With that being said I think he would benefit the most with the built in succession plan at SG Cowen. The third choice I would pick would be Ken Goldstein. Ken’s experience speaks volumes as what he can offer SG Cowen; in fact he interviewed well with everyone and would normally be an automatic yes.
The major issue here is more of a cultural fit; it is almost as though Ken is overqualified for the position. He’s already accomplished so much in the banking industry, at a higher level than what he is currently being considered for. This may pose as an issue that he may become unhappy in his position feeling underwhelmed and it can affect the work he puts out. His personal commitments may affect his work, the hours are demanding and based on the desires Ken has in maintaining his personal commitments come in direct conflict at what might be expected from him as a first year associate.
I turn this may not be a good organizational culture fit The final choice I would pick would be Martin Street. Of all the candidates, Martin’s background did not impress as much as the others. His background does not have a lot in the financial industry, although his personality may come through as dynamic and that is something SG Cowen can appreciate, Martin’s desire to be at SG Cowen is questionable at the same time. He is vocal about having his options open, and it was even difficult to schedule his interviews for Super Saturday due to his other recruiting events.
A major cultural requirement for potential SG Cowen employees is to be invested in SG Cowen, before SG Cowen can be invested in them in whole. All in all SG Cowen’s hiring process is quite impressive. The care they put into picking their employees speaks to the care they put into their work. They understand the caliber of employee needed in their market is important to be successful as an organization, and their practices demonstrate that.