Getting your first job in private equity

ByHanover Team
Posting date: 27 November 2019

Conducting a job search can be a full-time job with plenty of time and effort required to secure the job that’s right for you. One of the first steps is getting your CV up to date. You could be the greatest person ever at your job but if you don’t manage to convey your strengths, qualities, accomplishments well enough in your CV then you won’t get an interview.

If you are lucky enough to get an interview be sure to fully understand the company and job you are interviewing for including some background information on the interviewers and the culture of the company. This is where a good Recruiter can help lend support and prepare you for that initial meeting.>

During the interview where possible try to align your experience, expertise and career aspirations with the role you are interviewing for. Engage with the interviewer and build on what they are saying, interviews are 2-way conversations.

PE is a very attractive industry and positions are coveted. As an industry it also compensates well too. So, there are many, many applicants that apply for open positions. With such a huge supply of prospective candidates, clients can be as selective as they like with most hiring known variables such as education or academics, work experience or language abilities to limit risk.

If you think you have what it takes, it’s good practise to have a think about some answers for typical interview questions the client might ask such as –

  • Tell me a little bit about yourself and your skills OR could you run me through your CV
  • How much do you know about us and what we do?
  • What can you offer (bring or add) to the job?
  • Why do you want this job OR why do you want to join our fund?
  • What are your career aspirations OR where do you see yourself going?

A common part of the interview process will include some form of case study or assessment of some description. Sometimes the key isn’t necessarily about getting the right answer. Clients will often want to see how you talk through or arrive at your workings or assumptions. For example, it’s a bit like buying a house where the buyer and the seller will often have different views of what price is right. From a Funds perspective the important thing here would be to run through the process and articulate how you came to your price and validating it with appropriate assumptions and caveats as to what a fair price would be. 


There are many types of Finance and Investment roles within PE that don’t require much human contact, but if human interaction is what you’re after then another alternative route to consider is Investor Relations (IR) which effectively manage relationships between investors and market funds to other prospective investors. It’s not just coffees and cocktails though, IR combines finance, communication, and marketing to effectively control the flow of information between the limited partners (investors) and the PE fund. 

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