by Brian DeChesare Comments (109)

Why Did a Bank Just Rescind Your Job Offer, and What Can You Do About It?

Investment Bank Rescind OfferIt’s four days before you start your new full-time gig, and you just received a short email from HR:

“After further consideration, we have decided not to proceed with an offer of employment at Goldman Stanley, LLC. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you.”

What?!!

Yes, that’s right: your offer was just rescinded.

You planned your entire life around this job, signed a year-long apartment lease, and told everyone about it.

And now it’s gone.

So what happened, and what can you do about it?

Why Banks Rescind Offers

A bank might rescind your internship or job offer for one of four reasons:

  1. You did something stupid.
  2. You did something silly.
  3. You have legal troubles that may never go away.
  4. Circumstances at the firm have changed massively, or something else outside of your control happened.

Let’s go through each reason and look at a few examples:

You Did Something Stupid

Your offer could be rescinded if you outright lied on your resume, sent in a fake transcript, listed a false GPA, or made up something that’s easy to disprove with a bit of research.

A long time ago, banks were not especially stringent with background checks: as long as you passed the drug test and didn’t have any crimes on your record, you were good to go.

They also verified the employment dates for past jobs/internships, but that was about it.

But banks, especially large banks, have become significantly stricter over the years.

They are now going well beyond rudimentary checks and are also verifying what you did in each internship/job.

In the past year alone, I’ve heard multiple stories of offers getting rescinded because someone exaggerated too much on their resume (e.g., pretending back-office experience was client-facing work).

If you’re unsure whether you’re spinning too much, ask us first.

Negotiating too much or making absurd requests also falls into this category.

For example, some people win internship or job offers and then ask to “defer” them for a year.

But banks are not universities.

They spend a lot of time and money recruiting you – sometimes around $5,000 per entry-level candidate – and they may not have the same hiring needs the next year.

So you accept the offer and start when they want you to start, or you lose the offer.

You Did Something Silly

A long time ago, I interviewed with a boutique bank as a “Plan C” option.

I was also interviewing with bigger banks, hedge funds, and prop trading firms at the same time.

I won an offer from the boutique bank but then proved “unresponsive” to their follow-up emails and calls.

For example, I took more than 24 hours to respond to emails, sometimes I let messages go to voicemail, and I didn’t call everyone back.

They correctly interpreted this behavior as me not being interested in the firm… and a week later, they rescinded my offer.

Banks, just like outside recruiters, focus on the highest-probability hires.

An MD’s time might be worth between $350 and $1,000 per hour, so he/she cannot afford to take time away from deals and chase a student who is uninterested in the firm.

The firm decided to cut its losses by rescinding my offer and focusing on more interested candidates.

I put this one in the “silly” category because no one should ever interview with so many different types of companies at the same time.

Other Examples of Silliness

I’ve also seen offers get rescinded when candidates try to negotiate too much, especially at smaller firms that appear to be open to negotiations.

For example, you push for a 5% salary increase and a month off before you start, but they give you only two weeks.

They agree to the salary increase, but not the month off, so you ask again – and they rescind the offer.

That won’t happen everywhere, but if the firm is very conservative, don’t push your luck.

Exaggerating your accomplishments can also fall into this category.

Sometimes, bankers at different firms who worked on the same deal say they accomplished the same things… when interviewing at the same PE firm.

Interviewers might call you on this if they notice it during the interview, but they might not realize until much later on.

If you went too far or “copied” someone else’s experience, they could rescind your offer.

You Have Legal Troubles That May Never Go Away

Banks can rescind your job offer for almost any reason, including:

These issues can result in a rescinded job offer even if you disclose everything, and the bank says you’re “OK” at first.

Nope, life is not fair.

These legal issues are much bigger risks at the bulge-bracket banks because of their regulation and compliance requirements.

In the interview I linked to above, the student overcame a rescinded offer at a big bank by going to smaller CRE (commercial real estate) firms instead.

Circumstances Have Changed

Finally, your offer could be rescinded for reasons that have nothing to do with you.

For example:

  • The firm’s deal flow slows to a trickle, and they no longer need interns or new hires.
  • The firm is collapsing or is financially distressed. Bear Stearns rescinded job offers when it was acquired by JPM in 2008 as the financial crisis began.
  • The manager who hired you has been reassigned or forced out in a restructuring.
  • There was a simple misunderstanding or mistake in the paperwork or hiring process.

The good news is that you have the most options in this case; the bad news is that you still need to find another internship or job.

What to Do When Your Offer Gets Rescinded

Let’s start with what not to do: do NOT sue anyone or take legal action, even if your parents are wealthy, or you have a trust fund and can afford expensive lawyers.

Taking legal action or threatening to do so is a terrible idea because:

  1. You’ll never be able to work in the finance industry again;
  2. Even if you win, you’ll recover very little money; and
  3. Most employment contracts with banks are “at will,” meaning you can be dismissed for any reason and without warning.

With that disclaimer out of the way, you need to figure out why your offer was rescinded first:

  • Did you lie about something?
  • Do you have a criminal record?
  • Did you do something to indicate that you weren’t super-interested in the firm?
  • Have you heard about financial problems at the company?

Categories #1 and #2: You Did Something Stupid/Silly

You cannot do much in these scenarios, other than apply for new internships/jobs and avoid the mistakes you made the first time around.

A bank will not reverse its decision or help you with the job search if your offer was rescinded because of your actions, so don’t even bother asking them.

Category #3: Legal Troubles

If you’ve had legal issues, but you never disclosed them on background check forms and you never mentioned them to HR after receiving your offer, you can’t do much.

You shouldn’t disclose these issues too early – i.e. in a first-round interview – but you also need to let the bank know at some point, usually right after you get the offer.

If you never did this, the bank will question your judgment and conclude that you might not be fit for the job.

If you did disclose these issues, HR said they were fine, but then someone suddenly changed their mind, you have more options.

You should go to the most-senior banker who interviewed you, explain what happened, and ask if he/she can provide referrals to other banks or groups that might be looking for people.

You could say or write the following:

[Banker Name],

I hope all is well. I am contacting you because I just received the unfortunate news that my offer at the firm has been rescinded due to the legal issues I previously disclosed, namely [Describe].

When I first mentioned these items, [Name] from HR indicated there would not be any problems. However, something changed over the past [X weeks/months], and now the firm views them as unacceptable.

Do you know of any other banks looking to hire for [Position Name] roles? No worries if you do not, but I would really appreciate any referrals or tips you could provide.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

If these issues sank your chances at a large bank, you should focus on boutiques, middle-market firms, and smaller buy-side funds that lack the resources for comprehensive background checks.

Category #4: The Deus Ex Machina

If you can’t find anything suspicious about the company in the news, you have no legal issues, and you were honest about everything, your rescinded offer might be in Category #4: the deus ex machina.

If you get a mysterious “job rescinded” email or letter, you should go to the highest-level person (the Group Head or MD) and find out what happened.

Send this person a note requesting a written explanation for why your offer was rescinded:

[Banker Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing because I recently received news that my offer at [Firm Name] in the [Group Name] group was rescinded, and I am a bit confused because I was given no reason for this sudden decision.

Can you please let me know why the firm made the decision to rescind my offer? I would appreciate knowing so that I could plan out my next steps.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

If they do not respond, or they provide a vague explanation like “The firm changed directions” or “It was due to internal restructuring,” call and see if you can get the real story.

And if it was something that had nothing to do with you, use a template similar to the one in Category #3 above and see if you can get referrals or interviews elsewhere.

On the off chance that someone made a mistake and that your offer has not been rescinded, you’ll be glad you followed up to check first.

Rescinded Offers 101

In short, banks rescind offers because you are replaceable.

Senior bankers have key relationships that make them difficult to replace, but you don’t have such protection as a junior person.

Sure, it’s always hard to find good people, but your skill set isn’t unique.

Banks are also incredibly risk-averse with hiring, so they would prefer someone who is “pretty good,” with no major flaws, to someone who is exceptional in some areas but problematic in others.

This logic is why a bank could rescind your offer for almost any reason, ranging from silly mistakes to legal troubles from 10 years ago to internal politics.

If it was your fault, you can’t do much aside from fixing your mistakes and re-applying to other firms.

If you lost your offer because of legal troubles, you might have some options depending on how much you disclosed.

And if you lost the offer for reasons outside your control, you might be able to get referrals and interviews at other places if you impressed the right people during recruiting.

If you’ve had a job or internship offer rescinded, leave a comment below and describe your story, and we can give you some hints on what to do next.

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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Comments

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  1. Please, does anyone have info on how head hunters and buyside firms do background checks? Is it this extensive?

    They ask for references, and my current firm does not allow recruiting so it wouldn’t be ideal if my manager is contacted.

  2. I was recently offered a great internship after 3 interviews at a REIT. I have a dismissed narcotics charge from 5 years ago. I am worried that my offer will be rescinded if they see it. How likely are they to take the offer back?

    1. Less likely than a bank, but probably still some risk.

  3. A very informative article. Thank you! I am a recent graduate from a small not target private university in the USA. I was able to lend an internship at a BB in the UK last summer and then get a FT offer there. However, due to some immigration problems, 3 weeks after graduation I found out that I didn’t get a work visa and my offer got withdrawn. Bank said that they couldn’t help with anything at the moment ( I got accepted into a graduate program) since programs in other counties were filled up by then.

    I can’t start working in the USA until mid-September ( waiting for some paperwork, i am an international student). What should I focus on at this moment? Local boutiques? I already have your guide with all Fit/ Technical questions and plan to purchase the Networking kit as well.

    Do you believe that getting an MS ( I believe I’m too young for MBA with less than 1 year of experience) might help in the future?

    Thank you for all the work you do.

    1. You could go for unpaid internships at boutique banks, but they may or may not accept the idea since you’ve already graduated. An MBA wouldn’t be worth it at this point. A Master’s degree might help, especially since you went to a non-target university, but it really depends on what your previous work experience looks like. If you already have a sequence of finance internships, you can probably wait for your paperwork and then just start applying to off-cycle roles at banks.

      1. Thank you for your reply. Is there a way to find out which banks offer off-cycle roles in the US? Would it be mainly small banks and local boutiques?

        1. Yes, mostly smaller banks and boutiques. There’s no list I know of, but many of them are open to it because turnover is high and they often need quick replacements.

  4. Hi Brian, I recently got an FT associate offer from a top MM IB. For one of my previous jobs, I put down one month earlier than the starting date on the employment contract as I was working on a project for two weeks in the prior month (part of the recruitment process though). Now I am going through the background check process, I contacted the HR from the previous company and she says she will only confirm according to the contract. I regret it so much and wonder what I should do now. For the background check form, should I put down the same month as that on the resume or the one on the employment contract? Does the one-month discrepancy matter? If HR brings it up, how should I explain, remembered the date wrong or something else? I would really appreciate your feedback!

    1. Just put the date on the employment contract. If HR brings it up, just say that was your official start date, but you were working part-time in the month before that.

  5. Hello,

    I have a quick question. I’m an older student who was in community college for several years part and full-time just kinda farting around without a clear direction.

    I eventually went to another community college full-time, got my act together, and transferred.

    So my questions are:

    1. Am I obligated to list every college I’ve attended in the past & send in all previous transcripts? Or just the ones that’re pertaining to my degree?

    2. My GPA at my current institution is 3.83, but by cumulative GPA including my years of farting around at community college is 3.6… My transcript lists both GPA’s as Institutional and cumulative respectively.

    Is it suitable for me to just list my institutional GPA?

    Thanks!

    1. You should probably list every college you were at, but I don’t know that you need to submit all previous transcripts. You should ask the company about that one. I think you should list both GPAs to be on the safe side, and there isn’t really a huge difference between 3.6 and 3.8 anyway. If your cumulative GPA were, say, 3.1, then you might have a reason not to list it.

  6. Brian,

    I’m a second bachelors student that received a S&T SA position for this year. I was just accepted into a top tier masters in computational finance program which if completed, puts me 4 months behind the normal timeline for summer analysts to start full-time in summer ’19.

    I go to a non-target school right now and since there is a year wait to start FT anyway, I could finish 2/3 of the MS program instead of finishing the second bachelors. If I tell the bank my situation do you think they’ll rescind my offer or work with my timeline if I pursue the masters?

    1. I would just explain the situation and ask what they recommend, and cancel the Master’s program or second degree if necessary.

  7. Hi Brian,

    I recently got a conditional offer at an investment bank (in a large technology hub, not the investment banking part), and one of the conditions was that my GPA was a 3.0.

    First of all, I initially applied for the position in a kind of round-about way – not through the actual application portal, but through my University’s CO-OP program. I also contacted them through email with my resume to let them know I had applied through the school.

    They contacted me outside of the CO-OP program for a first round interview and asked me to send them some info, including my GPA. I told them that my university does not use the 4 point scale, but that my GPA is about a 3/4, or in the B to B+ range.

    For the second round interview they asked for an updated resume with my GPA on it. I put my my GPA out of 10 as it is calculated at my school. I also sent in a transcript. I also had to apply through the online portal in order to put my name in the system, and I put my GPA as 3/4. (The 10 point option was not available)

    I am concerned about the GPA being a condition to the offer because my GPA falls either slightly above or below a 3.0 depending on what conversion charts are used. I also received an email that my transcripts have to be submitted before the start date of my internship (literally a week before). Should I be concerned for the background checks? And should I be concerned about having my offer pulled days before I start?

    1. As with most “background check” questions, the answer is: “You can’t do anything at this point, and if you try to fix it or let them know about it, you will just draw unwanted attention to the matter and make yourself worse off.”

  8. Hi,

    I started out my master with ME major but later on doubled major with a MBA. Will both of my degrees show up on background check or just the MS.ME that I started out with?

    Thanks

    1. Probably just the degrees you completed.

  9. Hi Brian,

    I got an offer and am about to start the background process. I listed my senior capstone project on my resume as an experience, as it was a year-long project and we also worked with a client the whole time. It’s like a co-op (but technically it isn’t) that we did to receive credits towards major. I don’t think I made it clear on my resume that it is not an actual employment but a capstone project. I’ve done all the things I listed on the resume and I can also find multiple references (like my professors and people from the client’s side). I also mentioned during the interview that it is my capstone project. Is there anything I ca to do correct this at this moment. I only listed it because it was beyond a school project and the people at my career center suggested that it’s beneficial to include capstone experience too. Thank you for your advice!

    1. No. Just leave it. It’s fine.

  10. Hi Brian,

    On the superday for a bank, I forgot to submit an updated version of my resume with a lower GPA so my interviewers had my old resume with a higher GPA. I then received and accepted an offer from the bank but I am worried that my offer might be rescinded for this.

    Additionally. the banks’ HR system doesn’t seem to have me in the system because I know dozens of people who got e-mails about group placement and events, but I didn’t receive anything until I e-mailed my contacts to manually send the e-mail to me. Now I probably need to ask my contacts at the bank to manually send me airfare information for sell-day and I am wondering if this has to do with my GPA because I didn’t receive any notice of a background check yet.

    I would love to hear your opinions about my situation with GPA background check and HR’s unresponsiveness. Thanks!!!

    1. I really doubt that a slightly mismatched GPA has anything to do with that. The bank just sounds disorganized, so you should follow up.

  11. I’ve accepted an offer to go to a BB bank in London as an off-cycle intern.

    I have a “caution” for assault from a few years ago, due to a drunken fight at university. Will that lead to my offer being rescinded?

    I am voluntarily disclosing it as it will show up on the enhanced background check, and the Financial Conduct Authority has told me it wouldn’t be a problem from their point of view.

    1. Honestly, I’d recommend speaking with a lawyer rather than asking random, unqualified people on the Internet (such as myself). I don’t know the laws/regulations of the U.K. for this kind of incident, so you should speak with a legal expert.

  12. Incoming Analyst

    Hello! I am a college senior and received an offer from an elite boutique in September – signed the offer letter and fully committed. In November, I was arrested by an overly aggressive police officer for a shouting match with my GF, and was charged with a felony offense. By the morning, before I was even arraigned by the judge, the charges were dropped for lack of evidence (I really was innocent and petrified by the whole process); however, the the arrest itself remains on my record. This happened two months after my offer. Now that it’s January and I graduate in a few months, the bank is running a background check. On the application, they ask if I’ve been convicted or have a pending case – neither apply to me, as the charges were dropped within 12 hours of the incident. So, now that I am worried about getting my offer rescinded during the background check – what should I do? Do I contact HR now and disclose the arrest – although they never explicitly asked if I were ‘arrested’? Should I stay quiet unless they ask following the background check? Thanks for your help!

    1. Honestly, I don’t know, and you should probably seek advice from a lawyer instead of asking people on the Internet. I would probably stay quiet and consult a lawyer to confirm. But I am not a legal professional, and I do not have firsthand knowledge of how thorough a check this bank will conduct.

  13. When entering my employment history for a background check, do I have to include an unpaid internship position (I had it on my resume)?

    1. If you listed it on your resume, yes.

  14. scared intern

    I got an offer recently, but for my unofficial transcript I put in my expected GPA instead of my actual – as I plan on retaking those courses. During the phone interview, I stated my current GPA. I’m afraid I would come off as dishonest during the background check, and I plan on telling HR this before I accept my offer. Thoughts?

    The GPA cutoff for this job isn’t very stringent either.

    1. Not sure why you would say anything if you already told them about your lower, current GPA.

      1. scared intern

        I wanted to clarify because well I wasn’t supposed to put in my expected grades, and I didn’t want it to be a red flag for background check. As I know if there’s any discrepancy between the official and unofficial transcript, I can get my offer rescinded.

        If I clarified, would they possible rescind my offer or?

        1. I would just not say anything at this point. The chances of getting in trouble or losing the offer are almost always higher when you say something than when you remain silent.

  15. Is it practice for IBs give out e-mail/verbal offers to multiple candidates and delay sending the actual offer documents until their preferred candidate confirms/rejects the offer? Curious to see how firm verbal/e-mail offers are as compared to the actual written documents.

    1. I wouldn’t say it’s “common practice,” but I’m sure this does happen. However, banks would be more likely to put non-ideal candidates on the waitlist instead of giving them offers and then withdrawing or rescinding the offers. News about that type of practice spreads quickly.

  16. Hey Brian,

    I recently interviewed for an internship at a BB, and during one of the interviews I was asked if I received a return offer from my previous internship at a EB. I did not but I panicked during the interview so I said yes. I highly regret saying this but there is no way I can change the past. Now the BB had given me an offer, but I am hesitating about whether I should take it, because I am afraid that the truth might came back and haunt me and I might lose the offer. What do you suggest I do?

    Many thanks.

    1. Accept the offer and worry about the consequences later.

  17. Josh Dogan

    Hi Brian,
    So I heavily exaggerated on my resume (basically made up an unpaid internship position that I didn’t actually do), I got some first round interviews, and now I realized how stupid I was so I sent an updated resume to the firms without that position on there. Will the position on my original resume be a problem for the background check, or will they only look at the new resume?

    1. They should only look at your new resume, but you never know. You also cannot do anything about it at this point, so it is not worth worrying about.

  18. Hi Brian,

    Im going to a british uni, and Credit Suisse in London asks on their online app if I took the ACT.
    I have done it, but I don’t want to give them my ACT score, so can I just say I haven’t taken it????

    Will they check?

    thanks!

    1. Just say you haven’t taken it.

  19. I have a question about discussing not getting a return offer from an internship.

    I did not receive a return offer. My group had 4 interns total. 2 of the interns focused on 1 industry, and 2 of the interns (one of which was me) focused on 2 industries.

    The 2 interns focused on 1 industry received offers; the 2 focused on 2 industries did not.

    When asked about my offer, is it OK if I say “No, I did not get an offer, but neither did the other intern focused on my 2 industries?”

    This is telling the truth, but I’m not referencing the 2 interns who did receive offers, who were arguably in my group.

    I guess my larger question is, do banks make these reference calls to internship employers, and how strict are they?

    1. You could probably get away with saying something like that, yes. Banks occasionally check your references, but more just to verify that you worked at the place you stated in between the dates you stated.

  20. Hi Brian,
    I go to a university in the UK and am applying for IBD summer internships at BBs. I meet all the application requirements and go to a target university so Ive been getting interviews.
    But I have a big problem:
    At my uni your overall grade is the average of 4 courses you take. I did really badly in 2 courses (failed and had tor take one, really low grade for another one). But after the resits, I managed to get an overall First (which is the highest grade you can get). Because the banks didnt ask for a breakdown of all my grades, I just gave my overall grade, which is not a lie. But I am afraid that they will do a background check, see my transcript and all my grades, and then terminate my application? Will they even ask for my transcript?

    1. Sorry I forgot to add something else:
      The reason I had really bad grades was because extenuating circumstances/health problems. If the banks question me about the omitted grades, is this an acceptable explanation?

      Thanks for your help

      1. There is never a great explanation for bad grades, but yes, if it’s just 1-2 courses, “medical problems” is the least-bad explanation.

    2. I would not worry about this because you have 0 control over it and cannot do anything at this stage.

  21. Hi Brian,

    My GS offer was rescinded due to a discrepancy in my salary history.

    I saw similar jobs in different divisions at GS. Would I be able apply for those, or am I forever blacklisted at GS?

    Thank you very much,
    J

    1. I doubt you’re blacklisted forever. Besides, you have nothing to lose by applying to other jobs.

      1. I accidentally put vacation pay for one pay slip as bonus it didn’t make much of a difference. I clarified this once they called me do you think it they would rescind my offer?

  22. Brian,
    Do you happen to know asset management firms’ attitude on requesting a delayed start date (2-3 weeks later) for the summer internship? Will this be grounds for rescinding the offer if it is due to unforeseeable international student visa issues?

    1. I don’t know for sure as it depends on the firm size and their policies. If it’s due to a visa issue or something beyond your control, they might be OK with it.

  23. After receiving and accepting an offer, I was informed my offer was rescinded after I left the office on my last day in my prior role. I filled out an online employment form and listed the title and pay I would receive from my current role if I converted from an intern to employee (I was doing a 3 month trial period post-grad, so no time gap), when I should have listed intern and my hourly wage. I had already told the people I interviewed with my intern status, so I had no motive to lie on the online form, it was a careless mistake.

    Should I tell the truth about this in future interviews, as I am sure it will come up because of the gap in employment? Thanks

    1. Yes, you basically have to tell the truth in that situation.

      1. Could I say the internship was a temp role to help the firm during a busy period? Or should I stick with the truth?
        Thanks Brian

        1. I was also thinking of saying the internship was nearing its end and I had scheduled a few IB interviews and I wouldnt have been able to miss work to attend all of them if I continued there

        2. If you’re just explaining the work experience gap, not why the offer was rescinded, yes, you can just say that it was a temp role and you left so you could focus on recruiting (as your schedule would not have permitted you to recruit).

  24. Incoming SA

    Hi Brian, I have accepted a SA offer from a BB in UK. They’re about to run the background checks, and I think that one months of one of previous work experience are off (e.g. I put Aug instead of Sep on my resume, since I was supposed to start in Aug but the on-boarding process got delayed due to technical issues). Do you think that will affect my offer? I’ve heard so many horror stories of people getting their offer withdrawn for minor mistakes like this. What’s your take. Thank you for a great post anyway.

    1. I would not worry about it as there is nothing you can do to fix it at this stage

  25. Anonomys

    I was invited to a networking event and met with many recruiters at a BB and spent about a few weeks interviewing with them for an analyst role. During that time I was never asked about my GPA but it is on the lower end. Nonetheless, I was extended an offer and accepted it. In the background check they do require transcripts, can a weak GPA cause me to lose this offer?

    1. They may request transcripts, but a weak GPA won’t cause you to lose you offer (especially if you disclosed it on your resume from the start).

      1. Anonomys

        I did not disclose it on my resume at all because I knew it was on the weaker side.

  26. Hi Brian,

    I am in my final year at a top UK university and have an offer at a BB bank in London.
    This year I had medical problems which caused me to miss out on and do poorly on certain assignments meaning I might not achieve the required 2:1 from my contract.
    Naturally they have the ability to rescind an offer here but my question is would they do so? After having invested lots in my recruitment and also having spent ten weeks last summer with me they should know me better than a degree classification would.

    1. If you already have an offer, it’s exceptionally unlikely they would rescind it because your grades have declined a bit.

    2. Hey Anon

      How was your outcome? I am in a similar situation too and worried to death over this clause in my contract.

  27. Hi Brian,

    In my resume submitted during online application back in September, I put ‘Business Minor (Expected)’ along with my degree name under education. However, this semester, I failed to register a key and popular business course. It seems that I will not be able to finish the minor since I am already a final year student. Will it bite me during background checks? Or it doesn’t matter since I put ‘Expected’?
    Thanks.

    1. It won’t matter.

  28. Hi,
    So I got an offer from a BB investment bank for a IB summer internship, and my resume is almost 100 percent honest.
    All my internship tasks and dates are accurate as well as my GPA. However, I have written down “BS in Science: Finance and Economics” on my resume. Finance is my major on my transcripts and when I applied I had planned to double major in econ. During my interviews, I said that econ was a minor because I had no room for 2 majors -36 credits ( in the application I just have finance without a 2nd major, only on my resume does is have two concentrations… didn’t write the word major). Although my transcript doesn’t even have the econ minor on it, I am half way done the minor with 1.5 years left to college. Will they think I am lying and rescind my offer? They really like me as I as I have networked a lot, am hard working and from a non-target school. This hick is honestly in what you call good faith and should have specified projected minor. Thank you for your opinion.

    1. Apologies for the bad grammar, it is 2am and I am freaking out. Not sure why now, since I got the offer over a month ago. Also how long does the background check take? When am I in the clear?

      1. Stop freaking out. No one cares. Just say you changed plans and dropped the minor. Background checks are usually done just before you start working.

  29. I got a job offer at Goldman Sachs, operations. I am going thru the background check process. Now that Trump won the election, will they likely rescind my offer??

  30. Hi Brian,

    I am currently a junior at a target school starting the recruitment process for summer internships. I worked at two different places my freshmen summer, however they internships where I did very little significant work. I have them on my resume but I’m not sure what I can describe about those experiences, considering I can’t exactly say I did much. My question to you is, is it better to leave those experiences off my resume or “exaggerate” my work there? I’m kind of worried about a background check leading to a rescinded offer.

    1. You can still include them, but if you didn’t do much, don’t pretend like you did. As long as your 2nd year internship is solid, the first 2 internships won’t matter much.

  31. I go to a school with grading system 0-100, and on some BB’s career websites there are only 4 options for grades;(<50,50-60,60-80,80+). mine falls between 60-80, but the lower end with couple of fails. if i were to translate it to gpa (no one asked me to translate to gpa), i think it's like 2.2. I have pretty good experience (s&t internship, hf) so that occupies most of conversation in interviews. Thus i've done recruiting up to superday at BBs where they never asked my grade. Just wondering if it will be an issue during background check, providing i'd not lie about grade if they ask.

    1. ??? I don’t think so, why would this be an issue at all? Just enter the appropriate range and leave it at that.

  32. Thanks! So, they do contact to verify with past employers and institutions.

    1. M&I - Nicole

      Yes, most do.

  33. Anon – a bit off topic, but care to mention a bit on background check? – a breakdown on what exactly were checked, and how it was conducted and whether the report was made available to you as a candidate. I am trying to gather the background check processes in different regions US vs. EU vs. Asia.
    Thanks

    1. Neil, I am a permanent resident of the UK so they just asked me questions that are typically asked during a credit check i.e. my last 5 year address history (with proof of address), passport and NI number, along with my previous employment history (dates and a contact person at each employer). Additionally, on the day of joining I am requested to bring my transcripts (originals).

      Finally, I had to do a long questionnaire for my character check, as required by Financial Conduct Authority – all questions such as any history of bankruptcy, criminal convictions, being fired or received disciplinary actions by previous employer etc.

    2. Just to add to my previous comment – I had to declare if I had any securities portfolio of mine.

      And I do recollect my classmate who is from Asia (also starting at the same bank) was asked to provide detailed employment history along with payslips for the last 5-6 years (!)

  34. Hi,

    I am an MBA student, just graduated and about to start my full time in a BB in London this August. I got my offer after successfully completing the summer at the same bank.

    Now with the UK population deciding (stupidly) to exit EU, I am obviously concerned about my offer. I have already passed the background checks etc.

    Media reports (Financial Times) are stating that all international banks in London are preparing to move some of their London staff to mainland Europe over the year(s) due to Brexit – while they can put a freeze on future hiring in London, can they actually rescind Associate offers in London?

    Note, there are less than 15 Associates joining across all the divisions of the bank including the back office, so my hope is that Associates who are about to start may not be the first set of people in the firing line in London. (sadly I don’t speak any of the European languages, else I would have been prepared to offer to work in Frankfurt/Paris office)

    Any thoughts on this?

      1. Thanks Brian

  35. Hi, I have a question regarding real estate PE firms. I know that this question if out of context of this topic but I’m very eager to know the answer to it.

    I’m working at a RE PE firm (largest among domestic, second largest overall in the country after Blackstone). I understand that MBA is not your domain but I would like to know if MBA adcom will treat it as equally reputed to traditional PE firm or lower than it?

    1. I think they will see it in about the same way. There are so many people applying from large PE/IB/HF firms that there isn’t a huge distinction between different focus industries.

  36. Olivia07

    Hi Brian,

    What a timing to have this land in my inbox this morning – as I am in the middle of a frustrating (to say the least) situation to try and keep my offer as it’s being pulled. I am interested to see what your thoughts are on my situation.

    I am 1st yr MBA set to start my i-banking summer first day of training this past Monday at a BB bank. I was contacted by a recruiter last Thursday (2 days prior to training), that my background check results came back unsatisfactory. I pressed for more information but she seemed clueless herself. Only this past Monday, she told me that the only piece of detail she was given was that my unsatisfactory results were related to the bank’s internal information in regards to my “past financial dealings with the Bank”. And as soon as she said that, I knew immediately what’s going on. And here the frustration goes –

    A few years ago I had a checking acct with the Bank (yup one of those universal banks), that was flagged and closed by the Bank through no fault of my own. What happened was that, my parents, Chinese nationals living in China at the time, were purchasing a vacation home here in the U.S. to be closer to me and I was managing the entire closing process for them. Long story short, after I deposited checks from them into my bank account that was in large amt (obviously, it was for a house), and I had no prior experience in handling checks/money this large either (for example, was told afterwards that should have deposited through a bank teller and not a branch ATM to not raise alerts, things like that. My parents, being from China, didn’t know better either and were prob flagged too due to some money-laundering concerns. Risk dept. at the Bank flagged the transaction and ultimately decided to close my account and checks were returned to my parents accounts weeks after. The whole thing itself was a nightmare, our home closing was pushed back by a month and my parents almost lost the house. Anyway, my acct with the Bank was then presumably flagged as suspicious/fraudulent activities. Those remarks on my history with the Bank is what is putting my career in jeopardy at the moment. I get that that information alone would make me unsatisfactory, but what actually happened involved no wrongdoing on my part whatsoever.

    Where we stand now is that I have provided a detailed letter of explanation describing circumstances surrounding that event, along with my past email records with Bank branch employees and everyone involved at the time documenting what was really happening. I sent it to the recruiter yesterday and she has passed it along to the background check team for further review. No further verdict thus far and I am about to miss Day 4 of training. I have also, through a contact of mine, escalated the situation to a vice chairman in the group (someone I’ve never met), but honestly do not expect him to be able to do anything, just thought it was worth a shot as I have a lot on the line here.

    Any last shot I can take here? I feel like I do not have much to lose but everything to gain at this point. I came back to b-school for this exact job and am watching it being taken away from me 2 days before training. I think this is rather ridiculous but understand the structure/bureaucracy of large institutions like this place, so am preparing for the worst.

    Thank you for your input!

    1. Olivia07

      And Brian – I realized that I mentioned a bank name in my post by mistake, if you are able to, will you please redact it? I am not seeing an edit option on my end. Thank you.

    2. That is a tough one. I think there might actually be a chance that the bank could reverse its decision in this case, but only if you get it to the most senior people there (the Vice Chairman of the group should work). In addition to the recruiter, you should also reach out to any senior bankers you interviewed with and see if you can get them to move along the background check process more quickly.

      Sometimes recruiters don’t care or have no idea what’s going on, so you need to get actual bankers to follow up with them and request faster turnaround. I would definitely NOT rely on the recruiter and background check team to respond quickly – you need to get the senior bankers to push them along.

      1. Olivia07

        Thanks Brian – I just spoke to someone from the background check investigation team. Like I expected, while they understand the situation and everything I explained in my letter, what it comes down to is the fact that Risk Dept overseeing checking accounts closed my acct and flagged it as fraud at the time, that decision alone 1) is never going to be overturned (Risk Dept. don’t overturn those decisions), 2) background check team isn’t able to pass anyone with that record, even though they understand the situation. I tried to ask her how is it fair that no one is able to look at the whole picture and make a decision, not based on a false fact that isn’t going to be overturned to begin with, she said unfortunately that’s how it is, that even though it was a misunderstanding, due to the enormity of the misunderstanding, this is the consequence we are looking at…

        I need a minute to process it all and doubt any senior bankers will be able to overrule this (even though I’m still trying). Will I even be able to recruit full-time not having done a summer internship given this very situation?

        1. I would immediately reach out to all the senior bankers you spoke with, explain what happened, and see if they can give you referrals.

          It is still possible to recruit for full-time roles, but without a summer internship it might be smarter to focus on smaller firms or non-IB roles first and then transition into a bigger bank once you start working.

  37. From the Himalayas

    After spinning off all those “creative” variables that factor into the offer equation, and BS-ing your way in, a bank rescinding an offer – I don’t see any proxy to that other than merely remaining pi**ed off for weeks. Anyway, good article to keep on the back of head.

    1. Yeah, it is quite annoying, but unfortunately you can’t do much other than taking out your anger in healthy ways and re-applying after you’ve calmed down.

  38. Would my bank rescind my offer if they find out I am starting my own start up? Will the people doing background check really check on this?

    1. It depends on how high-profile it is. If no one else knows about it and your name isn’t publicly associated with it, there’s no risk. But if they see your name on TechCrunch, yes, something could happen.

      1. What if I’ve already done that? Should I be worried about it? Is there anyway I can mitigate the risk?

        1. All you can really do is say you’re not working on it anymore or changed plans. But if it’s already out there, someone could always see it. The risk is still low unless it turns into a huge story, in which case you should leave banking to pursue it anyway.

  39. Hi Brian,

    I will start full time early August this year and I am looking for an internship from now to August in PE/VC. If my banks knows I am doing so, will they rescind my offer? Also, I am still interviewing for internship positions – do you think any firm will let me intern from now to early August (it’s really short)?

    Thank you,
    Sara

    1. Also, if I want to switch to growth equity after banking – would a start up idea be relevant? The start up I have been talking to is very small (3-5 people, just launched the product) but they recently got venture funding and I can work in the VC office if I decide to do so.

      1. Yes, a short internship at a startup might help with growth equity later on, and would probably be easier to arrange than a short VC/PE internship.

    2. Yes, it’s possible they may rescind your offer if they find out. I also think it’s doubtful that any firm will let you intern for only 1-2 months or less, so this is probably not the best idea.

      1. Hi Brian,

        Thank you for your response. Say I want to get into growth equity in 1-2 years time, what shall I do to prepare now? I want to network with founders at start ups but I don’t think I will have time to do so…any suggestions would be appreciated.

        1. I wouldn’t worry about preparing now, just focus on your upcoming role and then think about what you want to do after you start working. Your plans will probably change anyway.

          1. Thanks again Brian! Should I be worried about my situation if I have been searching for summer internships? Also, if I start working full time in August, would you suggest reaching out to bankers right now?

          2. I don’t understand why you’re doing any of that if you already have a full-time job lined up. Focus on preparing for the role and don’t worry about internships before you start.

  40. Student

    Great article on little known issue. Thank you!

  41. incoming banker

    do you get to keep your signing bonus if they already paid it out?

    1. Usually, you’re obligated to give it back if you leave early or never start. But if they’ve already paid it out, technically you could just keep it. In past cases of “mass rescinded offers,” banks have sometimes let people keep their signing bonuses.

    2. Just say you already spent it, even if false. I’ve known people who have done this.

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