Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein explains the kind of people he wants to hire

Lloyd Blankfein
Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein attends the Clinton Global Initiative), on September 24, 2014 John Moore/Getty Images

Goldman Sachs’ reputation of exclusivity and high-salaries has made it the holy grail of bankers the world over.

But landing a job at the firm is no easy feat. In fact, getting hired by Goldman Sachs is more difficult than getting into Harvard. In 2015 the firm hired just 9,700 out of a pool of 313,000 applicants.

Lloyd Blankfein, the 150-year old investment bank’s CEO, shed some light on the type of workers the firm is looking for.

In a wide-ranging interview with Jeff Cunningham, a professor of global leadership at Thunderbird School of Management at Arizona State University, Blankfein discussed a number of topics including the 2008 financial crisis and the company’s image in an anti-business environment.

Blankfein also explained the skills and expertise he looks for in people on his team. “We look for wise people who are very successful and who have lived through stressful moments and came out the other side,” Blankfein said.

“Specific things: we try to make sure that we get diversity so that it reflects the diversity of our businesses and our people. And, frankly, we try to reflect the areas in the world in which our business is growing,” he added.

It’s not surprising that the firm is looking to diversify its ranks. As reported by Business Insider’s Portia Crowe and Andy Kiersz, more than 84% of the firm’s executives are white and only 21% are women.

But the firm appears to be committed to changing the makeup of its employees. The bank requires each employee to complete an online diversity and inclusion training workshop every year. It also has a “Returnship” program to help women and others who’ve left the workforce return.

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