Revealed: The inside secrets of getting a job at a top firm straight out of uni

Apparently they really care about how fit you are


It’s been a long three years and now you want a job where you’ll enjoy raking in loads of money. 

Luckily, Lauren Rivera of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management has spent ten years researching how to get hired by the best firms in the world.

Now in her book, “Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs”, she reveals the best advice for getting the top job you want and joining the global elite.


don’t bore the person who is going to give you the job

Flatter them

The most important thing you can do is look at who’s recruiting you. It’s easy for recruiters to get bored following their set script – boring ice-breaker routines, asking you about yourself, setting you a work-related problem – and according to Rivera, you can excel by making yourself the relief to their desperate tedium.

Flatter them and their self image without being a brown-nose. Hold on to their every word. Be vivacious. Be unique. Be bold.

When it comes to the person conducting your interview, make them see the similarities between the both of you. If the interviewer can see parts of themselves in you, they’re more likely to want to champion you for the job. Aim for pointing out their amazing work ethic, rather than both having the same haircut.

Be fit

According to Rivera, one of the most important things employers are looking for is that you’re fit. Meeting important clients is the norm in most lines of work, so if you don’t look good you’re not going to get very far. Go to the gym, get those extra few reps in and make some gains. Always look on point to be in with the best chance of getting the job.

Tamsin manages to make a plastic bag look professional

Tamsin manages to make a plastic bag look professional

Be laid back and fun

Unsurprisingly, Oxford and Cambridge grads will find it easier than everyone else to get a job at the top. But Rivera points out she found companies actually rejected the vast majority of Oxbridge candidates who managed to get their foot in the door for an interview. So you’re not out of luck just yet.

In fact, many recruiters said they would rather hire someone who is “laid back with a second class mind” than someone super intelligent and likely to get on everyone’s nerves. They said it was key for someone they hire to be their friend as well as their colleague. But don’t fall into the trap and be overfriendly in the interviews, be professional but give out good vibes. Be warm and inviting but don’t talk about going out on the lash together just yet.

they might look the part but they wouldn't bring the lads to the interview

Hopefully this was after the successful interview and not before or during

Do your research

Make sure you know your stuff. Learn everything you can about the firm in advance and if you know someone on the inside, use them to your advantage. Find out how the company works from them and any info they can give you, like the normal types of people they employ, rather than the gossip of who’s sleeping with who in the office. Get them to put in a good word for you. If you don’t have any connections on the inside, network and make some.

If you’ve had a rough past and come from an underprivileged background, use this to your advantage. Employers love a good rag to riches story and it makes you seem like a really hard worker to defy all the odds and be the person you are today, just like someone out of a movie.

Even if you’re not confident your going to get the job, fake it. Rivera says “It’s all about style rather than substance”. Follow her advice and have your graduate employers eating out of the palm of your hand in no time.