It’s April Fool’s day. Various fooleries are circulating, to be unmasked at midday according to the tradition in the UK.
If you’re based on Wall Street, you have a few more hours in which to come up with some sort of vernal mischief. If you’re based on the trading floor, there are various options open to you. If you’re based anywhere in a bank where you (still) receive irksome and frequent calls from recruiters, you can always resort to the tried and tested telephone trick.
Recruiters inform us the telephone trick was popular pre-2008, when there were plenty of jobs to be had and the balance of power lay with candidates rather than with recruiters.
“It often happened that I would call someone about a role and they would ask me to wait while they finished a trade or something,” says one markets headhunter. “Five minutes later, I’d still be there waiting and would eventually have to hang up. I was never too sure if they were doing it deliberately or had forgotten about me.”
“Sometimes they used put you on speaker phone while you made your pitch,” says another headhunter of traders. “That kind of thing would be considered quite funny.”
Nowadays, it seems that phones ring less frequently with job offers and that candidates are invariably polite when they do. All the recruiters we spoke to told us (anonymously) that candidates have become unerringly pleasant. The telephone trick and other poor behaviours have been banished to a more frivolous past. “I once had a candidate who said he couldn’t take a job because he’d had a bad accident and was in hospital,” recalls the MD of one City recruitment firm. “When we called him at home we found he was perfectly fine.”