How to deal with needy ex-colleagues

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Many people who lose their jobs in the City have the good fortune to attend outplacement sessions designed to ease their passage into something new. And most of those outplacement sessions tell participants to 'leverage their network' by getting in touch with everyone they know - particularly if those people are still employed.

Logic suggests, therefore, that anyone still in work in this market must be receiving multitudes of quick coffee requests from people previously dispensed with.

Surprisingly, this doesn't seem to be happening. Even ex-ABS bankers now installed in hedge funds say ex-colleagues are mostly leaving them alone.

"Once you're out of the market everyone turns their back on you," says one. "I get a handful of approaches, but that's about it."

Instead, the newly laid off appear to be congregating on the networking site LinkedIn, which says it's experienced a 43% rise in banking users since big banking layoffs began.

"There are a lot more people bouncing around on LinkedIn and trying to increase their number of links," says one former CDO structurer. The head of recruitment at one US bank says he's removed his name from the service as it seems mostly pointless.

If you're out of the market, do you really want to join the throng on LinkedIn? Alternatively, you could encourage former colleagues to recommend you to headhunters.

One happily employed hedge fund employee told us he suggests unhappily unemployed ex-colleagues when headhunters phone to offer him a job. And Richard Valentine of asset management headhunter Valentine Thomas said at a recent CFA event that he will only meet unemployed asset managers if they come with personal recommendations from his clients.

Getting recruiters/headhunters to console needy ex-colleagues has advantages. It saves time that would otherwise be spent on conciliatory coffee sessions. It also gives recruiters something to do while they wait for hiring to resume.

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