Private Equity Career Path Advice for Blackstone, KKR, and More
  • Private equity is often seen as the Holy Grail of finance jobs — but breaking in can be challenging.
  • Insider has interview tips from executives at Blackstone, KKR, and more.
  • We also have data on private equity pay and the industry’s top recruiters.

Private equity is often considered the Holy Grail of finance jobs. The pay is good, the work is challenging, and the culture tends to be gentler than the investment banks, despite some of the same long hours.  

But getting in the door at these firms, which use investors’ money to buy companies and take them private, can be fraught with complexities. From the headhunters to know to tips on nailing the grueling hiring process at firms like Blackstone and KKR, Insider has all the details on how to break into private equity.

Man putting cash into pocket

“Overtime avoidance” is more common at workplaces where workers have fewer bargaining rights, researchers said.

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To find out how much analysts, associates, vice presidents, and more make in base salaries at private equity funds like Blackstone, Apax Partners, KKR, Oaktree, and more, Insider analyzed data about six firms from several sources: the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s disclosure information for H1-B visa holders, job postings, and people who have been involved in recent recruiting efforts with these firms.

Here is what we found about pay at private equity firms, including Blackstone, Apollo, and Bain Capital. 

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Private equity recruiting has been starting earlier than ever

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Private equity firms like to recruit young talent from investment banks.

In the past, this meant asking recruiters to start pinging top investment banking analysts for interviews. The lucky ones would get offers to begin after their investment banking analyst programs ended, usually a year or so down the road. 

These days, the private equity recruiting process has started earlier than ever, resulting in middle-of-the-night interviews with offers being made — and blown up — all before Labor Day. 

headhunters and recruiters sourcing talent for wall street 2x1

Samantha Lee/Insider

Traditionally, a small group of headhunters held power over the private equity recruitment process. These gatekeepers can make or break candidates’ prospects before they can even interview with PE firms themselves.

Insider built a searchable database of top private-equity headhunters at leading firms, so you know exactly whom to contact to send your latest resumé. Access the database of more than 250 headhunters here.

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Drew Angerer/Getty; Skye Gould/Business Insider

We also spoke to Blackstone president Jon Gray, the firm’s global head of HR and two of its outside recruiters, to figure out precisely what it takes to land at the prestigious PE firm, which hired just 0.5% of applicants for 2020 analyst jobs.

They also outline what they’re looking for from standout candidates in job interviews.

Grace Koo is KKR's head of talent acquisition.

Grace Koo, KKR’s head of talent acquisition.


When interviewing a potential investing team candidate, KKR looks for two main attributes: exceptional intellect and strong cultural alignment. The few going through KKR’s hiring process could expect eight or more interviews to gauge that. 

Insider talked to Grace Koo, a top HR exec at the firm, about the hiring process for a junior investing role at the firm. Read more here.

Insider hosted an exclusive webinar featuring top private-equity recruiters to talk about landing a job at firms like Carlyle, Bain Capital, and Apollo. 

The experts talked through what kinds of modeling exams to expect, the quantitative skills job seekers need to demonstrate, and how to stand out as someone who could become a future star PE dealmaker and investor.

You can watch our entire webinar on private-equity recruiting here.

Alex Crisses of General Atlantic

General Atlantic managing director Alex Crisses walked Insider through the growth-equity investment firm’s elite summer souring internship.

Courtesy of General Atlantic

Insider spoke to General Atlantic managing director Alex Crisses about the firm’s first-ever undergraduate investment internship program, which he established.

Every summer, his team brings on about six to eight interns. Crisses walks readers through the process of choosing which candidates make the cut. 

Private-equity salaries revealed: Here’s how much top firms like Blackstone, KKR, and Oaktree are offering 2024 associates

Private-equity firms including KKR, Apollo, and Thoma Bravo have unleashed a stampede as recruiting for junior investment bankers seeking 2024 associate jobs begins

Private equity giants are still racing to fill 2024 associate seats. See 8 firms — from Carlyle to Bain Capital — that have been recruiting first-year investment bankers for jobs that won’t start for 18 months.

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Leaked data reveals the most popular ‘exit opportunities’ for PJT Partners’ junior bankers — from Blackstone to Centerbridge Partners

Inside the biggest themes set to define the job market on Wall Street, according to 6 top recruiters

Warburg Pincus is bumping pay by up to 30% for junior workers as private-equity firms and banks spend big to hang onto talent

These are the 8 Blackstone dealmakers who insiders say are the future of the firm

Carlyle’s credit crew: Meet 14 people leading the PE giant’s $53 billion lending division that’s been red-hot during the pandemic

How Wharton’s sold-out ‘data science for finance’ class is giving future bankers and hedge funders the tools they need to win on Wall Street

The University of Michigan has rolled out a new private-equity recruiting program as buy-side internships attract growing interest from undergrads

Disclosure: KKR is a large shareholder in Axel Springer, which owns Business Insider.