The summer has traditionally been a lull period for recruitment in financial services, as key decision makers are out of the office at various points in July and August and few new hires are signed off. To spend it kicking back with a few G&T’s on long sunny evenings would be a mistake, however. Here’s why.
Now is the chance to meet up for a coffee or a beer with people in your network in a bid to keep them close, rather than pitch yourself forward for a job. Essentially, the best way to ingratiate yourself for future opportunities is to identify a problem for which you can offer a solution, says Linda Jackson, managing director of career consultants 10Eighty.
“A lot of jobs are not advertised, but they’re also not conceived. Get to know the challenges of an organisation and casually suggest that your skills could be the solution, based on projects you have carried out at competing organisations,” she says.
As we’ve pointed out previously, job postings don’t drop significantly in the summer, but there are fewer applications for every position. Candidates take their foot off the gas during the summer and there is less competition for each available role.
“We’d always find a way to appoint someone during the summer, even if key people were away. The summer months are a good way to get through the door, which would otherwise be a lot more crowded. You have a much better chance in reality,” says Andrew Pullman, a former head of HR at Dresdner Bank and managing director of careers consultants People Risk Solutions.
To factor in holidays of the various parties involved in the recruitment process, interviews are usually squeezed into one week rather than a couple of months. This means that the pressure is on, but also that you have a more realistic chance of being offered a job more quickly, says Pullman.
Lazy lunches and early finishes are more common during the summer when the workload is slightly reduced. Excuses to get out of the office, not that we would ever advocate such a thing, are not as heavily scrutinised, says Jackson, and it’s easier to slip out for interviews as and when you need to.
Even in the era of social media, finding the who’s who to contact if you’re interested in a particular sector within investment banking is no easy task. We’re not talking about HR, but the heads of department who will ultimately make the decisions about who they want in their team. For ease of reference, we’ve identified key people within the large investment banks for you – here and here. However, Pullman recommends doing your research during July and August to make the calls in September.
Aside from the clichéd books to read on the beach, people genuinely are looking for more inspiration over the summer and have more time to read up on strategy and information that is likely to help them going forward. Do the leg-work for them: “Spend your time distributing interesting content to your connections on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Look for inspiration thinking around your area of expertise and distribute it around your network,” says Jackson.