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How to deal with needy ex-colleagues

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.

Comments (15)

  1. This article is a nice way of saying that unemployed people are finding it difficult to re-enter the market.

  2. I`ve ditched all of my ex-colleagues whos gone. finito! :)

  3. Most recruiters will only meet people who tick every box of a stringent job spec at present. This is because most companies are not using recruiters in this market as they do not have to.
    Therefore discouraging people from helping by networking simply closes off the only remaining viable avenue for job-seekers. Who by the way are not ‘needy ex-colleauges’ but executives just like those still in work who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    Those who are out of work and finding those in work unhelpful (and this is true in the current market) should vow never to help those people in the future – whether it be with deals, contacts or job leads.
    This attitude of putting down job seekers who are already in an unenviable position has to stop.
    Just remember, nobody is immune !

  4. Come on angry, chill out man

  5. Is angry the new relaxed?

  6. If you are still employed and you are contacted by ex-colleagues that have face value, do not ignore them. Do tell them there are no opportunities at this time but, you will keep an eye and ear to it. Suggest them to contact you in a month or so.

    As many times happens, one day the wheel will turn and then you will realize your mistake. They will be employed at some point in time and you may end up looking to work for them. Guess what? You will be last on the list.

    It’s a small world. Make the best of it.

    Global_Citizen Reply
  7. Have to say that Linkedin is an unbelievably useful tool for networking ( and no i am not unemoluyed or a Linkedin employee..easy to set up..easy to link with people , keeps you updated on peoples movements..and plenty of job offers on the various groups/forums

    Downsides..can be a little addictive and if you do want to stay incognito you.ve blown it also it is far more popular amongst continental europeans and americans and as a brit you can sometimes feel a little lonely !

  8. i am still employed at an i-bank and grateful for this. i don’t think people quite realise how bad it is at the moment. i agree with ‘angry’ on this…there is alot of ‘brush-off” mentality going around at the moment with regard to recently departed colleagues…some would call it bravado at having not been cut. remember who you go out on the beers with in this job as in the future you may not be able to sweet talk your way into another managers pocket….you won’t always be ‘chosen’ to stay. next time it could be you…

  9. Lots of great jobs are found through networking, especially when recruiters can’t help you. Why would anyone not make the effort to help out an ex-colleague? I know I would do everything I could.

  10. The most annoying are colleagues you’ve never socialised with before phoning you for “a beer or two one evening” as if you used to be friends. It’s as annoying as a cold caller asking “Are you having a good day?”…

  11. I’d try to help who I can quite naturally. If I can’t I’ll let them know straight up…or suggest other avenues What goes around comes around. Karma I think is the appropriate word to express this concept….
    Whatever works out positively will make me feel good…

  12. “Just remember, nobody is immune !”

    Well, actually………

  13. Careful Henry, you might be setting yourself up for one almighty fall….

  14. Perhaps Henry is immune because secretly he has been sacked long ago, explaining the vast time he spends on efc.

  15. All this talk of “karma, “what goes around comes around” and “almighty falls” makes me want to go and spend six months at a Buddhist retreat……
    Come to think about it , it feels like I’m at one right now……
    piece and tranquility

    Desperate headhunter Reply

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