The success of a handful of former Nomura equities professionals aside, it’s not exactly super-easy to find a new banking job in the City of London right now. It might be easier after Thursday’s EU referendum, but then again – it might not.
With an estimated surplus of around 30,000 financial services job seekers washing around the City of London since January, now’s the time to make sure you have finance recruiters on your side. Whatever happens, you don’t want to frighten them away.
This being the case, you absolutely must not say the words, “At this stage, I am ready to….” Nothing spells desperation more clearly.
“The people who say this are usually the unemployed,” says Oliver Rolfe, founder of London recruitment firm the Spartan Partnership. “It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it’s pretty clear they just want a job for the sake of it. The implication is that they don’t have any deep relationships or particular product knowledge – they’re just clutching at anything they can get and that doesn’t play well in a market where banks are increasingly precise about what they’re looking for.”
This isn’t the only recruiter turn-off. They’ll usually also run a mile if they think you’re ‘used goods’ and have already been touted for jobs by their rivals, so it’s equally inadvisable to say, “I’ve been working with a few other recruitment firms you might know.”
And then, in the event that you make it past the initial recruiter and are being interviewed by a line manager, on no account must you say, “In five years’ time, I’d like your job.”
“You might think this signals ambition, but in fact it simply signals arrogance,” says Rolfe. It’s particularly unwise in this epoch of ‘juniorization:’ who’s going to hire you when your main aspiration is to render them unemployed?
To some extent, it’s less about what you say than how you say it. There are more subtle ways of suggesting ambition than claiming you want the interviewer’s job, says the equities headhunter.
Kumaran Surenthirathas, a partner at Eden Search, points out that while banks don’t want people who are desperate and claim they’re “able to do anything,” they do often want people who are multi-skilled and can work across disciplines: “Headcount has been cut so much that there are fewer people just doing one thing. In the past, you had separate teams of salespeople and structurers. Now, banks might look for people who can work across origination, sales, structuring and financing when necessary.”
It’s all about presentation; think before you speak.
Photo credit: epicurean