Headquartered in Baltimore, Md., T. Rowe Price is a publicly owned investment firm that offers mutual funds, sub-advisory services, and separate account management for individuals, institutions, retirement plans, and financial intermediaries, as well as investment planning and guidance tools.
The company employs over 5,900 associates across the globe; approximately 1,200 of those staffers work in some tech-related capacity. In addition to Baltimore, the U.S. offices are located in Owings Mills, Md., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Tampa, Fla., with an IT team integrated into each of these locations.
Although the firm prefers candidates with some background in the financial services industry, which can reduce the time needed to get a new employee up to speed, it’s not an absolute requirement. The firm’s teams use .NET, C#, and VB.NET for both front and middle components and Oracle on the backend; management is currently looking for more senior candidates with .NET, Java and C# development experience. As the firm is moving toward an Agile environment, experienced business analysts and QA pros are needed, as well.
How to Interpret Job Listings
When T. Rowe Price uses terms such as “collaborative” and “team player” in its job descriptions, it’s actually very serious about a candidate’s ability to illustrate those skills.
“I personally work with more senior candidates,” said Jason Rundell, a vice president of HR who focuses on talent acquisition. “The descriptions are a 50/50 split between soft skills/culture fit and tech skills, and with the positions that focus on individual tech contributions, the pendulum swings more toward hard skills and away from soft skills.”
T. Rowe Price recruiters are not turned off by the usual application faux pas. “We try to have an open mind to every application and cover sheet,” added Senior IT Recruiter Brock Hall. “I think it’s a mistake to overanalyze resumes that tech folks put together for positions in a tech capacity. Oftentimes English may not be a candidate’s first language. If we start trash-canning resumes that have a misspelling or incorrect punctuation, we could be overlooking a highly technical skilled individual.”
The Interview Process
The hiring process, of course, is more than just the resume. “We like to have individual conversations with each of the candidates that fit within that wide net,” Hall said, “as opposed to 86ing them before even giving them the opportunity to speak.”
The first post-application step is a phone screen with a recruiter. He or she will make an assessment and validate the resume, before sending it to a team-hiring manager along with detailed notes of the conversation with the candidate. If the package passes muster, the manager also conducts a phone screen. (According to Rundell, this process may vary from manager to manager and group to group.)
The last piece of the process is an invite for an onsite interview and a meeting with the team. That’s followed by a second visit with members outside the immediate team with whom the candidate may collaborate.
What Makes a Good Fit?
As a rule, financial companies lean toward traditional and methodical. “The first word that really comes to mind is ‘integrity,’” said Rundell, who stressed that candidates must understand that T. Rowe Price’s cultural environment is reflected in the interview process. Candidates who are comfortable with its intensity are usually a good fit.
Rundell also stressed that the value of person’s character holds as much weight as professional competence: “We approach our hiring strategies much like we approach our business. We take our time and review what everyone brings to the table, both the reward and the risk. It’s really a very thorough assessment.”
Hall added: “There have been a lot of candidates within the Millennial group who want an offer right after a phone interview and there are many startups that operate like that, which is great, but it’s not who we are.”
Having good communication skills within applicable team settings is highly valued. After a year of employment, qualified team members can transfer to other areas within T. Rowe Price. This is why the second onsite meeting is so critical. Managers need to observe how potential employees may interact and collaborate across teams.
The firm has a generous tuition reimbursement program. Outside of the formal reimbursements for matriculating students attaining a master’s or bachelor’s degree, the company may also pay for certain certifications.
Advice for Experienced Professionals
Senior-level candidates should have a solid work history with good tenure, great feedback from previous employers, and signs of progressive upward mobility. Anything that they can show in the form of a publication or award is always helpful, too.
Advice for New Graduates
A dedicated group of recruiters visit campuses throughout the year, often to target schools near T. Rowe Price’s primary locations.
The company’s internship program for rising juniors and seniors is the single best way to land a job at the firm. Rundell noted that they’ve hired upwards of 65 summer interns for 2015, with about 25 of them in tech—and that’s just in the U.S. offices. “We really want to see the program as a feeder pool to our employee population,” he said. “Our interns commit with the caveat that if their performance dictates, we will be in a position to convert them to full-time employees upon graduation.”
Candidates who’ve successfully completed a similar internship elsewhere, worked on special tech or research projects on campus, and been active in industry and technology related groups would also seriously be considered for a role in the company.