Whereas hedge funds continue to strive to do more work with less personnel, hedge fund recruiter Kyle J. Ramkissoon of IJC Partners LLC sees some clear pockets of opportunity for both senior and junior professionals with the right skill sets and the appropriate attitude. Ramkissoon, a principle and founding member of the New York-based firm, shared the following insights with EFC News in a recent interview:
EFC: What new trends impact the hiring of senior hedge fund people?
Ramkissoon: Non-competes are coming into play more and more. The agreements may be enforced for 12, 18, or 24 months. Any knowledge that could help another firm get into the space is very carefully guarded.
EFC: Sounds like competition is pretty fierce. So, what hedge fund specialties are in demand in this buyers' market for talent?
Ramkissoon: Global macro research analysts and portfolio management people and candidates with high-frequency strategies, in particular. There's not so much talent out there in this arena right now-often. Candidates come to us with 60% of the skills required at a time when they need 110%.
EFC: What's missing?
Ramkissoon: A key skill that's lacking is modeling. There are a lot of non-systematic, non-automated macro guys out there. They're lacking the computer science skills to implement and code what they've researched.
EFC: Can you discuss the market for junior hedge fund pros; what do hedge fund partners want from this less-seasoned group?
Ramkisoon: It's best if they've graduated from an outstanding school-one of the top 10 schools. They'll need a high GPA-3.7 or above, and an SAT score of 2,000-plus. The most sought-after candidates will usually be computer science, math, or physics majors. It's a lot of fun working with junior candidates actually-they're the new, freshly minted masters in financial engineering.
EFC: Do you recruit from the MBA schools as well?
Ramkissoon: Only if it's related to fundamental equity research. The MBA coupled with a CFA is highly desirable.
EFC: What other advice do you have for hedge fund newbies?
Ramkisoon: They should be very receptive to every type of position applicable to their skill set.
EFC: So, you're saying its important not to come across as a prima donna during an interview with a recruiter or hedge fund partner?
Ramkissoon: Exactly. Junior candidates tend not to be that way to begin with. Its not, "I want to be a trader," or "I want to be a P.M." You've got to forget the Holy Grail role; be open to different positions and be ready to pay your dues.
EFC: What sorts of questions do you ask junior hedge fund candidates to feel them out?
Ramkissoon: I always try to learn what they know about finance and how much it truly interests them. What kinds of finance books are they reading, for instance? What are they doing to further the [educational] process on their own? No one says anymore they want to enter the business because "It's where the money is." They're too smart for that.