Finance recruiters in Singapore and Hong Kong are gearing up for a post-bonus hiring season that is expected to be busier than last year.
But as they tackle rising levels of applications, they also growing wary of candidates who are frustrating the hiring process. Recruiters in Asia have told us how they hope banking professionals will behave his year. Follow their advice if you’re about to apply for a job via a recruiter...
“I hope to see banking candidates focusing less on the ‘me-me-me’ issues at interviews: what can the company do for me? What can I learn? How can I progress?” says Angela Kuek, director of search firm Meyer Consulting Group. “To increase their chances of landing a job, they should shift their attention to what they can contribute to the bank. Candidates forget that banks aren’t paying salaries for them to learn on the job, particularly if they’re senior and expensive.”
“Most candidates ask us a lot of questions in preparation for an interview, but too few are equally pro-active when feeding back afterwards,” says Jay Abeyasinghe, associate director of financial services at recruiters Morgan McKinley. “It’s imperative to call us soon after an interview or write a detailed email, particularly about the challenges you faced. The more information we receive, the greater the chance that we can position you in a positive light. It also shows that you’re really interested in the role, giving us extra confidence in you that we can then convey to the bank.”
“Candidates are often wary of telling us their current compensation, but banks demand this information up front so both parties have realistic expectations from day one,” says Kyle Blockley, managing partner of recruitment firm KS International. “Every business unit has an approved hiring budget, for directors down to analysts. If you’re too expensive from the outset, there’s no point in representing you. Having recruited in-house at Goldman in Singapore, I know the challenges hiring managers face to get headcount signed off.”
“Many candidates don’t tell us whether they’re interviewing at other banks. But we do need to know this,” says Blockley. “It lets us tell the bank, our client, how quickly we have to move forward with interviews. I know there are cowboy recruiters who will try to chase those other jobs, so my advice is to be careful what information you share but let your recruiter know you have other options. This shows you’re in demand and can also help in your salary negotiations.”
“We get too many CVs that have been mailshot everywhere,” says Blockley. “If I receive any email which isn’t addressed to me personally I immediately delete it. So personalise your approach.”
It’s a common frustration for recruiters: they put forward candidates who seem right for the job but who fail at interviews because they talk too much about the nuts and bolts of their resume. “At the outset, ask the interviewer what the challenges and deliverables of the role are. Then explain what you can bring to the job, using real examples to emphasise your points. Don’t just go through your CV,” says Matthew Streeton, regional managing director at LMA Recruitment.
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