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Staring into the sign-off abyss

It’s not that banks don’t want to hire, it’s just they’re a lot less willing to sign off new hires than they used to be.

This is the message from recruiters, who say European businesses still have the appetite to hire, but bosses at some US banks are becoming increasingly coy when it comes to giving the authorisation.

“I’ve got one vacancy that I’ve been trying to fill since June,” says a senior recruiter. “I found a candidate in the summer, but the authorisation was withdrawn due to the credit crunch. It was then back on in December and further interviews were conducted, but authorisation’s now been withdrawn again.”

Gail Connolly, managing consultant at recruitment firm PSD Group, says positions that previously took a few weeks to get authorisation are now taking a few months to get the go-ahead: “Houses that took big hits in the credit crunch are having to get approval at a very senior level. In the past local business heads had sign-off, now it’s going to global business heads.”

Not everyone agrees the sign-off issue is a big problem, however. Paula Maiden, director of financial services recruitment at Robert Walters, says there are still offers coming through: “It’s just that the process is slightly longer.

“At the end of the day, essential roles are still essential,” she says. “If it used to take a few weeks it now just takes a few more weeks.”

Headhunters’ money-making ruse

Spurred on, perhaps, by the fact that it can now take many, many months to get clearance for a single hire, The Times reports that some headhunters are resorting to desperate measures.

According to the paper, unscrupulous and unnamed search consultants are bombarding banks with CVs in a particular area (eg. Venezuelan bond salesmen) and demanding a fee when and if a name on the list is hired. Beats hanging around waiting for senior level approval.

Comments (5)

  1. i couldnt agree more. have been a victim of this myself.
    in my personal opinion, this will persist for some time to come, as not all the write-offs have been recoginised. In addition, have a look on bbg, SUBPRIME IS SET TO WORSEN!!

  2. I have never had any trouble placing a good candidate. It’s the mediocre ones who don’t get sign-off without a lot of work on my part. And that means doing my job, rather than waiting for the client to pull his finger out. This isn’t brain surgery, folks.

  3. you mean you sign up mediocre candidates in the first place! what a shabby little outfit you must be !!

  4. In my experience, Americans are poor managers, they manage from a cultural and geographical distance and then, they manage only by “the numbers”, excluding other essential elements of the business decision. Surely the best person to make the hiring decision is the hiring manager?
    I for one have made it clear to agents that I would prefer not to be put forward for US dominated organisations – their style of management is just too flaky. In the event that I am put forward for a US dominated house, I would only consider a premium offer. For the more stable European houses, I would consider a smaller package. For the flaky, micro managing Yanks, one has to build in an insurance policy.

    When you start pulling jobs from the market or introduce a “headcount freeze”, it sends very negative messages to the market that “good” as well as “mediocre” candidates receive, not to mention that clients will also get the message and reach their own conclusions.

  5. There are many shabby institutions out there…perfect fit…you may cover some yourself…hope you know it.

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