SG Cowen: New Recruits Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Theories and Concepts

Contamination Error

Contaminated error could be defined as those unwanted errors that can have a negative impact on decision making or the entire business process. It is referred to as an influence which affects a decision (Martin, 2010). The time pressure for selecting candidates and bringing the element of biased decisions while conducting first round interviews can be considered as contamination error. However, the company has done well to mitigate those risks through the use of making decisions based on consensus. The management has also addressed the particular issues through making clear that bankers would not select candidates with a perception that they are good for the company or good for the bankers’ group.

The Measures of Reliability and Validity

In order to determine the company’s hiring process, it is better to understand functions related to reliability and validity. The process of reliability is defined as evaluation consistency of hiring a candidate. It refers to the evaluation in which all criteria remains the same for each employee (Price, 2011). Validity refers to as perfect consensus of the decision making groups. However, it is difficult to achieve perfect validity because the element of contamination error is present throughout the recruitment process. SG Cowen has a stance for selecting candidates with the same procedure and there is no bias approach in the recruitment process that could lead to process unreliability.

Content Validity and Predictive Validity

Content validity is referred to as a tool in identifying or selecting candidates, which perfectly resembles the job content as highlighted by the company. Content Validity is a set of process which is applied by the company to attain a perfect match between the job candidate and the job content (Price, 2011). Highly interactive and high pressure interviews provide a suitable environment for candidates to understand the challenges that they might face while joining SG Cowen. This particular strategy reflects a perfect content validity as the company aims to hire those candidates which reflects their job content.

Predictive validity is referred as a measuring process in which the company evaluates and compares between the particular applying method applied previously by the company and the results it obtained in accordance with the job performance (Martin, 2010). The company has good employee retention rate which provides an evidence that SG Cowen recruitment process has found to be irreplaceable and unique which has resulted in overall better performance. However, the company does not provide the employee turnover rate, but a further correlation could be achieved when the company performs research for predictive validity.

Structured Interview

Due to the consistency of the questions asked by each banker, evaluates that the interviews were structured and well planned. This also proves a greater advantage of providing a standard interview evaluation process for every candidate. The structured interview can help in determining a preferred candidate with unique qualities as required by the company.


Alternative 1: Natalya Godlewska


  • She has the highest grade point average (GPA) in her college
  • A hard working and a committed individual
  • A tough negotiator, as assessed by her previous employer
  • Four years of experience in developing M&A modeling, which is used by Wall Street firms
  • Speaks many languages, including Russian, Polish, German, and French


  • She is not a good cultural fit as she speaks less than perfect English and can have problems with impatient bankers
  • Uncomfortable and did not interact much during the initial stage of the interview
  • Low loyalty due to lack of cultural fit

Alternative 2: Martin Street


  • He has leadership skills and can carry out orders
  • Full agreement on his dynamic personality and his confident approach
  • He has a good ability to express and articulate


  • He does not have any business experience or working in a corporate world
  • His grades are unknown
  • Involved in many recruiting events offered by other firms
  • Employee loyalty is low and can shift to other firms

Alternative 3: Ken Goldstein


  • He has five years of working experience
  • He has the ability to manage audit teams at one time
  • He is exceptionally well in resolving technical accounting issues
  • Mutual agreements amongst bankers about his ability to resolve major issues
  • Loyal with his job


  • Ken is married and have two children, which may entice low willingness to work 24/7
  • He is too mature
  • Too much maturity can lead to disliking of taking orders from seniors

Low willingness to work may also lead to dissatisfaction amongst other hired associate managers.

Alternative 4: Andy Sanchez


  • Has experience in running his own entrepreneurial firm
  • Has scored highest SAT and GMAT scores
  • Very interactive and enthusiast
  • Has a personality that culturally fits
  • Highly ambitious and great previous achievements


  • GPA is 2.8 which is just about average
  • His firm may work as a hindrance to his growth and commitment.

Highly ambitious and great previous achievements................................................

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