☰ Menu eFinancialCareers

FRED BAYR: What do recruiters do during hiring freezes?

Back in February, I revealed that the most enjoyable days of recruitment arise in bonus season when arrogant Oxbridge bankers come grovelling to us polytechnic parasites like their lives depend on us. Joy.

However the worst time to be in recruitment is during the annual hiring freeze. This is usually reserved for Q4, but this year icicles began appearing in Q3 with the cold winds of sovereign debt blowing harshly about our nethers from July onwards.

In the ideal world, recruitment CEOs would like to send people on unpaid leave every Q4. In the real world, they are obliged to pay people to surf LinkedIn for three months. And yet, some recruiters are intelligent beings who use Q4 productively. Personally, this is what I have been getting up to:

1) Propping up Starbucks

With no reason to cold call candidates, we find our tyrannical KPI obsessed bosses forcing us to meet with clients to talk about their hiring strategies for the following year over “a quick coffee.” I am saturated in lattes and doing my bit for the African farmers.

2) Building my own team for Q1 next year

Banking recruitment will pick up again. Trust me, I’m a visionary (and I have insider info). Many recruiters leave their jobs in Q4 because they’re unable to cope with the boredom. Those of us left behind spend our time searching for the next generation of university graduates to replace them. . Unfortunately graduates come out of university like babies from a womb: crying and fearful. It’s almost more difficult to find a thick skinned graduate who can nail down deals than it is to find a geeky accountant with the twinklesome charm of Stephen Fry.

3) Tapping the trusting for information

There’s clearly some crossover here with point one, but this activity need not necessarily take place over milk froth.

The trick here is to promise the world (come Q1 when hiring starts again) and to rinse the victim for names and department maps. Overseas candidates unfamiliar with this technique tend to be most forthcoming. We recruiters save this practice for Q4 as the two hours it takes to spell their names also helps kill the time.

Fred Bayr blogs at

Comments (14)

  1. @FredBayr Suddenly you are a recruiter? One of us? Didnt you get made redundant? What happened to the diatribe of scorn you routinely pour onto those good enough to keep thier desks? I get it….you’ve somehow convinced an agency to take you on, give you a recruitment gig (probably on a contract) and suddenly you feel human again and needed.

  2. Lie to candidates about open positions ……. this is their only skill.

  3. Interesting take Fred, alternatively you build your desk on a better foundation than moving sands and you have strong enough relationships with your clients that even when they do not have BAU hiring going on, you can fill speculative roles!

  4. In answer to the question at the top of the article – when I’m not lunching, waste my time reading and posting on efinancial

    boredboredbored Reply
  5. Banker – only if you are naive enough to think that any bank is hiring…….. from what I’m hearing the main effort now is getting the redundancies over before Christmas……. 90 days anyone?????

    London is starting to close down as a financial centre because of the “euro drag” and despite what Fred suggests, surely Q1 activity will be related to that.

    If the euro does tank, and my odds are 7/3 now, then forget 2012 (unless you are a forensic accountant) and start learning Manadrin.

    Seriously, if you are young enough and agile (e.g. no young family or overpriced house you can’t sell), start making plans to head East and watch London disappear in a euro-implosion from the relative stability of Singapore or Sydney.

    However, on the bright side – the empty office towers of Canary Wharf will make Cable and Clegg happy.

  6. @Boredofbayr- you sound like a short fat woman who lost half her team earlier this year because of a terrible management style.

  7. A very accurate and insightful portrayal of recruitment activity in Q4. Spot on.

    Recruiter – Hong Kong Reply
  8. @WizardofEC: Your post shows an incredible lack of insight. Singapore has gone all out in localisation and Sydney is teeming with unemployed bankers looking for nonexistent jobs. Please stay where you are – EC is as good a place to die as anywhere.

  9. For once I primarily agree with you. Damn I’m bored

  10. Anne – interesting point on Singapore, but I am more optimistic about Australia, given their considerable resources and until recently, debt free public sector finances. My view is the current labor government in Australia will fall at the next election and a new conservative government will re-stablise the Aussie economy. Further, I suspect they will draw down the shutters and form an economic partnership with the US. Perhaps not to the extent of a pan pacific dollar, but many Aussies have no love for Europe (the formation of the EU still hurts).

    Sorcerer – so…. one MBA type found it difficult to get a job, not convincing. I was eluding to the point that the Chinese actually make stuff and export it, they are a waking giant and if you care to look at the indicators( building new aircraft carriers to protect trade routes), they intend to be doing more off it.

    Europe is screwed.

  11. @hotdog, how insightful. With an ability to read people like this, I’m not surprised you are now selling frankfurters.

  12. @Ed Hunter- sounds as if u work for “the grad factory”- am I right?

  13. As a Dallas IT recruiter, I know that American technology companies are planning to hire more people in the next six months as many key positions continue to remain vacant due to shortage of skilled IT professionals.

The comment is under moderation. It will appear shortly.


Screen Name


Consult our community guidelines here