I am recent graduate student, having just secured a good position in a financial services firm that I love. I happened to hear from a company that found my resume online and want me to come in for an interview. As I am currently employed, I declined. What struck me was the tone of the company recruiter, particularly its informality. The financial services sector has always been characterized by professionalism and tradition and strict adherence to procedure is prized from what I experienced. Interviews are designed to be formal / procedural, with the aim to strictly assess the qualifications of the candidate with deviation from basic business being frowned upon. This was a Fortune 100 company. From the tone of the recruiter, it seemed an informational interview was been requested, in line with a question - answer session. Are such informal, informational interviews the norm in the financial services industry?

  • do you mean "informal" informational has a different meaning and does not make sense in the context of the question.
    – Pepone
    Jan 5, 2015 at 23:53
  • @Pepone The style of interview seems to be at odds with accepted industry culture / practice
    – Anthony
    Jan 5, 2015 at 23:55
  • interviewing styles vary I have had a very structured competence based interviews that were conducted in an informal manner. And at the higher end it a lot about culture fit and the candidate having a hinterland the airport test spiderstrategies.com/blog/…
    – Pepone
    Jan 6, 2015 at 0:02
  • Are you sure the recruiter was an employee of the company, rather than an independent or contractor trying to place you with the company? Cold calls are more often the latter... and in my experience some of them offer jobs that they know you aren't going to get in order to get you to sign on with them so they can get the commission for placing you elsewhere. At this point my policy is pretty much to ignore cold calls unless they are willing to immediately tell me who recommended they me and why they believe I might be a good fit -- which, in most cases, they have been unable to do.
    – keshlam
    Jan 6, 2015 at 2:31
  • 2
    They're still only the first "are you interested/are we interested" stage of filtering, when they're mostly confirming that you seem to have what they're looking for and selling you on the idea of interviewing with them. Formality comes later. Also remember that "serious" and "solemn" are very different things; companies (or portions of them) may not have the style you would expect for the industry.
    – keshlam
    Jan 6, 2015 at 2:44

1 Answer 1


What appears professional and procedural on the surface of the actual business, isn't what happens in all of the other departments that are really not part of the financial business part of the company. HR is one of them.

Maybe when they recruit college grads they can follow all the nice protocols because they know all the students are looking for jobs and some universities may have over-site on the process, but this recruiter is trying to poach you from another firm. They're probably a little more sneaky about it. They'll try to get you to put your guard down by telling you there's no reason to follow the rules. It's dog eat eat dog.

Unfortunately, they're rewarded for hiring people and they will be willing to be a little less professional if they feel it is necessary.

  • You'll also find that the higher up the ladder you go (in many sectors), the more "informal" these sorts of things will become.
    – phoebus
    Jan 7, 2015 at 19:35

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