For every job opening on Wall Street, there can be hundreds of highly qualified candidates vying for the position.
Just last year, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said that more than 300,000 people applied for available full-time positions at the firm in 2010 and 2011. The bank hired fewer than four per cent of those applicants.
The CEO of job search site Monster, Salvatore Iannuzzi, said the average company with 100,000 employees receives about three million applications each year.
On Wall Street especially there are tons of highly qualified candidates with degrees from top schools and stellar GPAs competing for a limited number of openings.
And as Wall Street has contracted due to layoffs, there are more and more qualified people looking for those available jobs.
So how do you stand out and how does an employer sift through all the job seekers for the perfect candidate?
That’s exactly the problem former investment bankers/ hedge funders Adam Goldstein, 33, and Brett Adcock, 27, are aiming to solve with a new product called Street of Walls— a web site that tests and screens job seekers based on finance industry specific skills employers are looking for. With this service it doesn’t matter where you went to school if you can prove your abilities.
Coming From A Non-Target School
Goldstein and Adcock recognised a problem with hiring on the Street when they were working in the hedge fund space.
“I went to the University of Florida and they put Brett’s résumé on my desk because he went to Florida too and it was sort of a joke ‘Haha look at the Florida kid’ when we’re bringing on Wharton, Stanford, MIT. Haha another Florida guy,” Goldstein told Business Insider in an interview.
The hedge fund brought Adcock in for an interview and “he blew everyone away,” Goldstein said.
“So everyone was kind of like, ‘Wow, that was a big shocker. How did that happen? The reality is there are a lot of really smart people that go to a lot of different schools,” Goldstein explained.
Based on their experience, Goldstein and Adcock said they realised that trying to hire people is extremely difficult because there are too many people applying and that makes it hard for the employer to find the right person.
The ‘Big Data Problem’
Goldstein explained that 20 years ago or so, looking for job seekers was difficult because there was no centralized way to do this.
Then about 10 years ago, job boards started to pop online and it became really easy.
“Now today there are so many people that it’s really actually hard to sift through and find them. So the problem right now isn’t more of it, you need less. So that’s kind of the big data problem that everybody talks about.”
Speaking of the “big data problem,” Goldstein said almost everyone applying for Wall Street jobs went to a good school and have a good GPA. There really isn’t a way to differentiate anyone.
“So sort of with an old school search mentality, I type in for somebody with a 3.5 GPA from a top 20 school and I’ll literally get back an unlimited amount of applicants,” he said.
The Wall Street Admissions Test
Coming from the hedge fund world, the pair used a thesis of “follow the research.” So following the research, they started thinking about this problem of why is it so hard to find good people because there are just too many to choose from.
Overtime, they developed the site to help address this problem.
The pair said they came up with a concept of “taking more and turning it into less” by assessing the candidates.
They developed The Wall Street Admissions Test (WSAT), which assesses candidates on their skills in accounting, financial statement analysis, corporate valuation, maths, logic and economics.
They said employers can come to them and say here are the skills we are looking for and they can use this test to screen people based on these real skills sets instead of GPAs or schools.
“If I’m an investment bank or hedge fund or private equity firm trying to hire somebody, I want someone who is smart and I want someone who can hit the ground running too that has a very strong background in accounting because I don’t want to teach them accounting I want to teaching them modelling and all those other things. We screen for all those things. We test for those things,” Goldstein said.
The test also helps level the playing field for those who didn’t go to an Ivy League.
“It allows people like Brett and myself who didn’t come from top 20 school backgrounds, it gives us a chance,” Goldstein said.
“It gives you a chance based on what you know, not where you went to school,” Adcock added.
Goldstein and Adcock haven’t publicly said which employers are using their site to recruit people. They did say that they are recognisable investment banks, hedge funds and private equity firms.
They also have given out the number of job seekers using the service, but they told us there are “a lot.”
They believe there product will help “take this data and sift it down to something that is much more useful to find those needles in the haystack.”
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