The recruitment process for any banking job currently is a slow one. Assuming you make the cut, expect numerous rounds of interviews with both HR and people in the business, and then the decision-making process can roll on for up to two months.
But what if the whole process could be completed in less than a day? Welcome to the United Arab Emirates. While investment banking, private banking and other sophisticated financial services roles in the region still require a rigorous recruitment process, the plentiful jobs in the retail and consumer banking businesses are filled very quickly.
Dubai Islamic Bank, for instance, has just completed a two-day recruitment spree in the Cultural and Scientific Association theatre in the emirate, where it advertised the possibility of walking in and then walking out with a job offer. It’s seeking “aggressive, result-oriented men and women to job its direct sales team” across various consumer businesses.
Any potential applicant needed to not only bring a (paper) copy of their CV, but their passport, passport photos and proof of educational qualifications, presumably with the idea of performing a background check on the spot.
Such events are common in the region; while most financial professionals rely on social media, online job boards, recruiters and networks to find their next position, those in the UAE rely on more face-to-face interaction. Both international and regional banks spend big sums setting up extravagant stalls at careers fairs, where they look to fill a specified quota of vacancies by interviewing potential candidates on the day.
Usually, these roles are focused around consumer banking, and often targeted at UAE nationals in a bid to meet requirements set by the government to employ a set percentage of local candidates –around 40% in the banking sector. However, recruiters suggest it’s also a more common method for filling large numbers of roles.
“It’s one of our most effective recruitment tools for finding people in the branches,” said one hiring manager for a large international bank in Dubai. “However, for more specialist roles on the wholesale side, or in areas like risk and compliance, we still have to extend the search.”
Even here, though, a more direct approach can open doors for you. One investment banking technologist, who has just moved to a job at a regional bank in Dubai, said that he secured most interviews by finding out the relevant managers’ name and arriving at the banks’ reception with a paper copy of his CV.
“It takes some work to get through reception, but if you manage it then the manager usually appreciates your tenacity – I secured at least three interviews there and then using this technique.”