Is it Really 10 Times Harder to Get Into Google Than Goldman Sachs?What to Make Of Job Acceptance Rates

An escalator which can be a metaphor to one for success in your career

In Goldman’s 2014 annual report, they make the claim that 270,000 applicants applied for 8,300 positions, and of those receiving offers, 90% accepted. Impressive stats that point to a stringent hiring criteria with an acceptance rate of just 3%.

At LinkedIn’s Talent Conference, Google’s Head of HR indicated that Google gets 3 million applicants a year, and hires 7,000, an acceptance rate of less than 0.25%, as reported by Quartz. Google is ranked #1 in LinkedIn’s employers in demand list. Goldman is 43. How should we explain such dramatic differences in hiring rates? Should candidates be dissuaded by these statistics? After all, the most prestigious colleges have acceptance rates of upwards of 6%.

These statistics can be unnerving but being statistics, they are subject to biases and interpretation:

  1. These companies tend to have structured multi-stage recruiting processes, but being big brand name companies get a fair share of blind “Hail-Mary” resumes for every job posting which significantly increases their applicant rate and lowers acceptance rates relative to lesser known companies in similar spaces

  2. It’s important to consider offer / acceptance rates for various positions separately. An investment banking job at Goldman Sachs has a meaningfully different acceptance rate than a operations job. Similarly, different roles at Google have different rates and that renders a blended average meaningless

  3. These statistics do reference differing supply scenarios. Meaningfully more graduates now look West with the tech boom whereas they previously focused on finance careers. In fact there is a well documented theory that Harvard Business School graduates’ proclivity to choose finance is an inverse economic indicator (or said more simply, if HBS grads overwhelmingly head to Wall Street, perhaps it’s time to sell shares)

How Should Candidates Factor This Into Their Job Search?

  1. For one, don’t let employers stress you out with these statistics. There are plenty of jobs for you.

  2. Big brand name companies are inundated with job applications. If you want to get into those companies, use your network as the first line of attack. As reported in the New York Times, companies are increasingly relying on referrals. Deloitte receives 400,000 applicants every year, but recommended employees are guided along by a 12-person team, and it now hires 49% of its experienced employees via referrals

  3. Make sure you are also applying to the other “less public” brands in the same space. Applying to Goldman? Maybe also apply to Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan. In fact, also consider applying to other financial organizations that are less public facing

  4. Recognize the hiring structure and hiring process involved. Especially if you are recruiting out of undergrad or business school, focus on the hiring process for the specific industry and company you want to work at, and optimize to be a part of the flow. Speak to alumni employees at these companies to get help navigating the process. E.g., if you are recruiting for a company that typically expects candidates to reach out to conduct informational interviews as many large banks do, then merely submitting your resume via the resume drop will probably not result in an interview

  5. Large companies often have their own vocabularies with their own connotations. So when trying to articulate your experience, you sometimes have to tailor your resume and interview spiel to be easily understood. E.g., if you are at a company as a product manager where the product manager is in charge of marketing strategy, and you are interviewing for senior role at another company where product managers have primarily technical responsibilities, then you need to tailor your resume and elevator pitch to make sure that the hiring managers understand your roles and responsibilities appropriately.

There is a significant shortage of quality talent in a wide range of sectors. So fine-tune your job search for maximum results. If you need help, contact us with your questions and we will point you in the right direction.

Did you find this helpful? Subscribe to our newsletter

Trendy Thomas is a team of Tapwage journalists who stay abreast of the latest news and gossip from the world of business and recruiting, so you always have the latest scoop.