Tips from a private equity recruitment specialist for successful screenings
In this article, we have the pleasure of hosting Thibaut Roussey, the CEO of Alvedis Conseil – a recruitment company that specializes in Private Equity. Thibaut has conducted almost 30,000 interviews over the course of his 22-year career, predominantly in private equity. In this interview, Thibaut shares his expertise on private equity recruitment and offers advice on how to secure a position at an investment fund.
Hello Thibaut, and thank you for accepting our invitation. Could you please introduce yourself?
After working in financial audit for three years, I transitioned to private equity recruitment at Michel Page. For three years, I was responsible for the Private Equity and Investment Banking recruitment unit.
Following this, I founded Alvedis Conseil 19 years ago, which is a recruitment company that specializes in Private Equity.
Can you provide further details about Alvedis Conseil and the areas it specializes in?
At Alvedis Conseil, we have a team of four employees who specialize in recruiting investors for various entities, ranging from family offices to mezzanine funds, funds of funds, venture capital, and development capital players in Small, Mid, and Large Cap, both in Paris and the regions. We also take on several assignments for international Private Equity firms.
Additionally, we provide support to investment funds during their recruitment processes, with a primary focus on hiring for CFO positions.
Private equity and fund recruitment accounts for approximately 90 to 95% of our activity. However, we also recruit on a selective basis in related fields such as M&A, Leverage Finance, and financial consulting.
How has private equity recruitment evolved over the past 20 years?
When I first founded Alvedis Conseil, Private Equity was not as well-known or developed as it is today. As investors have become more interested in this asset class, there has been an increase in market liquidity, greater exposure for Private Equity, and therefore a stronger need for recruitment.
In the 2000s, we typically received around 50 candidates per job opening, whereas today, that number has increased to 300 candidates.
As a result, the number of applicants has grown at a faster rate than the number of available positions. Due to the large volume of applications, investment funds have become increasingly selective.
Out of the 300 candidates we identify for each position, we select approximately 150 candidates. After conducting phone interviews, we set up between 20 and 25 in-person interviews. Ultimately, we only present 4 to 5 of the top profiles to our client.
How do you screen through the high volume of applicants for a position?
To filter through the high number of candidates, we evaluate each profile based on the following criteria:
- Academic background, specifically the school attended.
- Work experience, with a preference for those with backgrounds in M&A, Leverage Finance, or Transaction Services. For some of our clients, international experience and foreign language skills are also valued.
- Personality and human qualities, which are essential to the hiring process. Before presenting a profile to our clients, we consider if the candidate shares the same values. We also check if they will fit in well with the team that has hired us.
As we have a large pool of identified candidates, the name of the school or nature of the previous experience often allows us to quickly assess a profile. This is how we sort and eliminate a significant portion of resumes.
What advice would you give to candidates to strengthen their resumes and increase their chances of entering the Private Equity industry?
From an academic standpoint, candidates could consider obtaining certifications such as the CFA. We also value applications from MBA graduates, as these courses allow candidates to strengthen their theoretical knowledge, complete their academic curriculum, and send a positive message to recruiters.
Read our article: How to get into a private equity fund if you come from a non-target school?
Candidates could also consider regional Private Equity funds, as these firms can be more open to specific academic backgrounds.
If a candidate is having trouble finding a position in private equity, we would recommend gaining experience in an investment bank or corporate finance firm before returning to Private Equity with a stronger background.
Lastly, it is important to make a good impression during interviews. With 150 candidates contacted and only 4 to 5 profiles offered per position, it is essential to present oneself well. Pay attention to the human aspect, and answer fit-related questions clearly.