Financial services recruiters can be a troublesome breed. Overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated, under-stimulated, over-excited and living in eternal hope that recruitment market conditions will revert to something similar to 2006, they are easily misunderstood.
Nevertheless, most finance recruiters are good people in the same way as most bankers. They just want a little appreciation. If you’re pleasant to them, they’ll be pleasant to you. Here’s how to get finance recruiters on your side without buying them chocolates and flowers.
So you’ve been to an interview. How did it go? Recruiters want to know – especially if they set the interview up for you. Give them a call and reinsert them into your loop. “If someone phones after an interview it’s always an indication that they’re committed and interested in the process,” says Jonathan Nicholson, managing director of recruitment firm Astbury Marsden.
Do you only call you recruiter when you want him/her to produce a job? They don’t like that. “Candidates need to keep in touch,” said the head of one fixed income search firm. “A lot of people only contact me when they want something. It suggests they don’t really value the relationship. People should behave to headhunters as they do to friends.”
Hot tip: headhunters will like you if you call with information that’s of use to them (eg. market moves, covert hiring, gossip concerning rival recruiters.)
Most of all, more than anything else in the world, recruiters want you to be honest with them. “Honesty is the key thing,” said the managing director of another search firm (speaking on condition of total anonymity). “Honesty and openness – we need candidates to be open with us.”
“If candidates want a fruitful and fulfilling relationship with their recruiter, they need to be transparent and open with us,” says Nicholson. “Evidently, the recruiter needs to be transparent and open in return. Candidates and recruiters need to be truthful in equal measure.”
In which ways are candidates not honest and upfront with recruiters? Nicholson says they’re sometimes economical with the truth when it comes to why they’re leaving an existing employer, where else they’re interviewing and how far they are with recruitment processes elsewhere. “There seems to be an inherent mistrust of recruiters. The quality of recruiters can be variable, but don’t tar the good guys with the same brush as the bad guys,” he said.
At worst, candidates can be “over-expecting and unrealistic,” says Oliver Rolfe at search firm The Spartan Partnership. Be humble and realistic in your approach as well as aware of who you are and what you want. “You get people coming to you who expect to walk into jobs in another industry where they have no experience,” says Rolfe. “People are stabbing in the dark. The way you get a job now is by being extremely good at what you do and being recognized for that work." It also helps to referred by clients and colleagues, adds Rolfe.