What these Wall Street executives look for while hiring

Leon Cooperman OneWire Interview

Every company is looking for qualified applicants with a top-tier education, and these Wall Street executives are no exception. After narrowing down the candidate pool by competence for the job, what are the intangible factors that these leaders look for in potential employees? Check out some snippets from our exclusive Open Door interview series to hear which traits Wall Street executives prioritize while hiring.

Culture Fit

Lyon Polk, Managing Director of The Polk Wealth Management Group, considers culture fit to be one of the most important factors during the hiring process. “We are all here long hours,” Lyon answers in his interview. “I want to make sure that everybody gets along, wants to be here, and fits into my culture.”

Lyon isn’t the only one considering company culture while making hiring decisions. Gordon DuGan, CEO of Gramercy Property Trust, also weighs in with the same argument. “We try very hard at Gramercy to try to have that culture. Work hard, have fun and find like-minded people.”

Diverse Background

Every finance career can take a different path, but it’s still typical to get experience through a two year analyst program first. But Bob Nolan, Managing Partner of Halyard Capital, doesn’t want typical. Instead, he contends that his law degree gave him a different perspective rather than the traditional analyst program plus an MBA.

“Had I only been an investment banker, had I only been exposed to business school, I don’t know that that would have been enough. It certainly is in many instances but I also think undergrad degrees should be as broad as possible. The more skills you can bring in terms of analytical ability, the better served you are as an investor.”

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Communication Skills

In finance, it’s not only important that you know the numbers, it’s important that you can communicate them well. Leon Cooperman, Founder & CEO of Omega Advisors, outlines exactly what he expects from each of his employees before he hires them. “My analysts here, I have fifteen of them, they can’t get anything in the portfolio without writing up a report. So can you write a report? Do numbers speak to you? Because you have to communicate your thoughts in writing to someone like myself.”


Wall Street is an environment where even the most intelligent are pushed to their limits. Art Samberg of Hawkes Financial says that the number one quality he looks for while hiring is perseverance.

“There are times when you just feel you’re the stupidest person in the world and you’ve got to persevere through that. I like to sense whether a person is that kind of person,” he goes on to say. “Whether they’re just going to shrink and fold when they’re on a cold streak or if they’re going to rise to the occasion, work harder, maintain their composure and overcome.

Hates to Lose

Seán McCarthy, CEO of Build America Mutual, has one thing on his mind when interviewing candidates. Do you like wining or do you really just hate to lose? “The first thing, especially on Wall Street,” he says in his interview, “is the concept of distinguishing between liking to win and hating to lose. What I’ve learned over a long period of time is people who hate to lose are much more effective. Everybody likes to win. But if you hate to lose, you do everything in your power to make sure that experience doesn’t happen.”

As veterans of the industry, these Wall Street executives have tried and true methods of hiring the right talent for their firm. If your firm is looking for qualified candidates, make sure to check out OneWire’s innovative recruiting solutions and check back on our blog for more recruiting tips.