Activities for the purpose of turning on recruiters in tough markets

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A much underused tool

A much underused tool

You want a new job. As we noted on this morning, the first and hardest step nowadays appears to be putting yourself out there. The dynamic has changed. It's not like it used to be: you won’t get a guarantee; you may be leaving a lot of stock.

Assuming you do apply for a job and you do get invited for interview, what next? By all accounts, a lot of interviews now are all about testing the water. How do you turn an ambivalent recruiter into someone who really wants to hire you? Three investment banking career specialists volunteer their insights below. By, ‘recruiter’, we mean both recruiter and we mean, ‘hiring manager;’ recruiter just sounds simpler.


If you get in front of someone who might hire you, let them speak. Listen properly to what they say they’re problems are; address their concerns. Don’t just hit them with your favourite spiel.

“It’s a consultative selling technique and you’re the product,” says Julian Rye, head of consulting services at Lee Hecht Harrison DBM. “You need to do the hard work here. You need to listen to what their needs are and present your skills to fit those needs. You are not interviewing with an organization, you are interviewing with a person and you need to know the problems that person is facing and present yourself as the ideal solution.”


Build rapport. Be likeable.

“We hire people we like,” says Michael Moran, chief executive of career consultants 10 Eighty.  “Find things you can bounce off of and that you have in common. Do you have mutual acquaintances? People in common can make all the difference.”

2. ASK

If you really want to get hired, ask a really great question, says Graham Ward, adjunct professor of leadership at INSEAD Business School, co-founder of the Kets de Vries Institute and a former co-head of European equities at Goldman Sachs.

“A great question is not a question designed to catch your interviewer out,” suggests Ward. “It is a question intended to show you have really thought about the area you’re interviewing for and the company you’re interviewing with. Be prepared with an answer yourself,” Ward says the interviewer will often bat it back at you after responding themselves.

(In the event that you’re unable to think of great questions which are non-confrontational and won’t put your interviewer on the spot too heavily, Ward suggests strategic-type enquiries are appropriate. Think along the lines of: “How do you see fixed income trading changing as it becomes more automated?” See here or here for insights which may prove inspirational for question-concoction.)

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