If you’re in need of a new job and your needs are not being met, it may have something to do with the state of the job market. London financial services recruiters insist things are finally looking up. However, this may simply be because they are averting their eyes from the redundancies still going on below.
In these circumstances, you need to work with your headhunter to find new employment. Gone are the days when one could ping off a CV and wait for the magic. Nowadays, it’s a joint effort.
We asked several financial services headhunters/recruiters what they wished candidates would do to help. This is what they said.
Headhunters are like love-interests: they don’t like to be cuckolded.
“There’s a lot to be said for loyalty in this game,” says one. “If I talk to a candidate about a role and then I hear that he or she has gone through someone else, I’ll be mightily peed off.”
“I wouldn’t want to work with someone who’d spoken to three headhunters,” says another. “One is fine. Two is the maximum. Three is too many. If you have three or four people sending your CV to the same place, it can look (mightily) unprofessional.”
If you want to be placed, it will help if you can point to a large number of clients who rate you. This is particularly so if you work in sales.
“Be clear who your top ten clients are,” says Oliver Rolfe at Spartan Partnership. “Try to get at least five very strong references. It will be a huge advantage if you can.”
Rolfe says he recently placed an equity salesperson who had a business plan for the next three years and a clear idea of the revenues he would be able to generate. “You need to prepare a plan as if you are a business,” he says.
“You need to be very clear about what you have achieved in the past, about your production, your compensation, where you fitted into the team, and what you want to do next,” confirms Simon Head at search firm Correlate.
“Some people can be very vague both about their past performance and their aspirations,” Head adds. “For example, you might get an FX sales person who says he’s covered French corporates in the past but that he’d be open to covering Spanish or German corporates in future. That’s too broad – it’s better to be very clear about your core competencies and intentions.”
Don’t be shy. Many candidates are. Or: inhibited.
“The better we understand a candidate’s position, the better we are able to present them to our clients,” says Christian Robbins at Nicholas Scott Executive Search. “Some candidates need to get over their inhibitions,” says Robbins. “They can be unwilling to talk about their place in the team, about the people around them, who they report to. The more they allow a headhunter to understand themselves and their business, the better we can represent them.”
Most of all, remember that headhunters and recruiters want you to be nice to them. If you are, they will be nice to you.
“Sometimes, when someone has been made redundant, they will try playing Billy-Big-Time to boost their ego,” says one search consultant. “The best people are generally the most accommodating and friendly,” he reflects.