The recruitment processes in M&A

The recruitment processes in M&A

The recruitment processes in M&A are not a piece of cake; they require a lot of preparation and vary from one boutique/cabinet to another.


What we call screenings is the analysis of the CV and cover letter. It can be done by artificial intelligence or HR. A good cover letter should be concise, to the point, while highlighting your past experiences. The CV should also be clear and straightforward.

Some screenings may include psychometric assessments, which are small tests of logic, mental calculations, and responsiveness that are mostly done online. For example, the Big Four firms are particularly fond of this kind of tests.

Online tests

An online test, often in the form of multiple-choice questions, is used to assess your skills in accounting and corporate finance. This type of test is not automatic but allows the boutiques/cabinets to make an initial selection of candidates.

Read also: M&A intern: missions, recruitment and perspectives

In-person assessments

An in-person assessment does not happen every time, but it's important to prepare for it. In-person assessments primarily consist of technical questions (accounting/corporate finance), but you may also encounter general knowledge questions related to current economic affairs. It is important to have a calculator for this assessment as you may need to perform calculations (e.g., calculating an exit multiple or creating a balance sheet). Additionally, these assessments are often conducted in English, even in French boutiques and cabinets, due to the international dimension of cross-border deals that most firms deal with.


You will be asked to create a PowerPoint presentation on a topic chosen by the recruiter. This exercise aims to evaluate your ability to deliver within deadlines (which are frequent in M&A) and your proficiency in PowerPoint. The key for this type of deliverable is to have abundant figures and graphs, without unnecessary elaboration. If you are asked for a market study, the focus should be primarily on numbers, illustrated by graphs. Explanations and interpretations should be kept minimal as it is not the main focus at this stage.


An interview with one or more analysts. This interview will mainly focus on technical aspects. Review your technical knowledge and practice mental calculations since recruiters are looking for sharp minds. For example, an analyst may ask you to calculate an exit multiple on the spot (using simple numbers) to assess your understanding of the process and your quick thinking. It is essential to be comfortable with numbers to excel in such an interview and potential internship.

Don't panic if the recruiters seem a bit cold and strict. They also want to assess your ability to handle pressure and think critically. They don't expect you to have all the answers, but they want to see that you think carefully (and that you have the basics of accounting and corporate finance, of course).

Read also : Discover a list of typical questions that recruiters ask in M&A interviews!

An interview with one or more associates. If you pass the analyst stage, you will likely meet associates. Similarly, there will be a technical part as well as a fit part. The team members want to know who they will be working with and spending most of their time with! Be honest and be yourself during the fit part. You will likely be asked to discuss your past experiences. Maximize the relevance of those experiences to your desire to work in M&A and only talk about experiences that are meaningful. For example, there is no need to mention a student job if it is unrelated to finance.

An interview with one or more partners. This interview is much less formal. The partner assumes that you have already demonstrated your technical skills in the previous interviews. The purpose of this final interview is to get to know you and ensure that you will be a valuable member of the boutique/cabinet.

Note: It is possible that the three previous interviews will be conducted one after another. So, make sure to reserve at least two hours on the day of your interview.

BONUS: Discussion with current interns. Do not underestimate this moment. Although the interns may not have a direct impact on the final decision, they can answer all your questions. Remember that interviews also serve to determine if you will fit well in the boutique/cabinet. You will be spending at least six months with the team, so be confident in your decision.