Recruiters all chasing the perfect candidate: someone who has recently been made redundant

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The nature of perfection is changing. Once, the perfect candidate may have been a big bringer of business or a specialist in recondite products. Now he or she is those things and more. Today’s highly desirable financial services jobseeker must tick all the usual boxes, and be unemployed.

“If you want to get hired in this market, you first need to get made redundant,” advises one headhunter. “It makes you much cheaper to hire and therefore much more appealing.”

“The ideal candidate is one with a strong skillset who can move as quickly as possible, with as little buyout as possible,” says Russell Clarke, director at search firm Figtree. “Redundant individuals will often fall into that category.”

Needless to say, there are some situations in which redundancy will detract rather than contribute to employability. These are those in which a candidate has been let go for reasons of (poor) performance, in which a candidate has been out of the market for anything more than six months, or in which a candidate’s skillset has been superannuated by technology or events (CDO structurers).

“If you’ve been out of the market for 1 or 2 months and were let go because a previous employer was cutting back on your business area for lifecycle reasons (Eg. You may have helped build a mature business from scratch, which needs fewer business development staff now that it’s established), you may be very desirable to another bank which is still building its business,” says Clarke as an example.

These days, recruiters say it’s normal for redundant candidates to keep all their deferred stock from previous employers, and for this to vest according to the established schedule.

“I haven’t come across any bank that hasn’t allowed people to keep their deferred,” says one. “Up until three years ago, when you were made redundant you would have been paid your deferral there and then – but now banks will maintain redundant staff on the same vesting schedule.”

In some cases, banks will attempt to stipulate that redundant staff who retain deferred stock can’t work for rival firms for a period of six months. However, this is difficult to enforce legally.