Smart ways to get ahead with your job search in today’s market

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Ten years ago, if you wanted to move jobs within the City, you updated your CV, put in a few calls to the relevant agency or headhunter, maybe asked a small number of trusted contacts if they knew of any suitable vacancies and then waited for the calls.

Nowadays, your to-do list is longer and more complex. The upside, however, is that you are far more in control of your destiny. Understanding the new recruitment landscape means that you can use it to greater career advantage. Jane Coffey, ASIP, Founder of Investor Coaching and lead of the CFA UK Soft Skills working group shares some insights on how to get ahead with your next career move.

Rise of the in-house headhunter
One of the biggest changes comes from the increased scale of recruitment departments in the investment banks and asset management houses. For example, JP Morgan now employs more than 500 in-house recruiters. This is not only due to cost considerations and the opportunities thrown open by IT developments and the internet; when properly executed, it can improve the quality of the candidates’ experience and gives the company control over the impression conveyed to potential employees. Careers websites and multiple job boards make it easy for firms to advertise positions.

The increased ability to actively search for candidates through social media and employee referrals gives greater reach. Whilst HR departments have often tried to keep speculative CVs of potential candidates on file, it was a difficult resource to manage. Now there are quality in-house databases modelled on client relationship management tools.

These facilitate warm relationships with potential candidates, feeding them updates on vacancies and developments within the firm and even approaching them directly when a suitable role arises.

Growth of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) solutions

Whilst invisible to the candidate, this simply means that an external firm runs all or a part of their institution’s recruitment and is a key factor in bringing specialist recruitment expertise in-house. For many banks this started as a way of managing their annual graduate recruitment programme. Vivienne Marshall (Dykstra), former Head of EMEA Client Development and Early Careers Lead at Korn Ferry, is an expert in this area. She founded Graduate Solutions Ltd in 2003 following seven years’ experience as Campus Recruitment Director for Deutsche Bank. Between 1997 and 2003, she managed a team of 30 professionals recruiting 800 graduates per annum and co-ordinated an extensive programme of campus visits and recruitment days at 57 Universities across four continents. “I realised that for many small to medium-sized financial services companies developing the sort of in-house expertise required to run their annual graduate programme was challenging and yet they needed to compete head-on with the big firms to attract the best talent.” Viv explains: “By using an RPO solution, firms could bring in expertise and implement best practice in screening large numbers of candidates, through psychometric testing, telephone interviews and running of selection days.”

Senior, specialist and difficult to fill roles still tend to use an external executive search firm

Whilst the number of roles that are filled by external headhunters continues to fall, they remain a core resource for firms looking to fill more specialist roles. One of the main attractions of using a retained executive search firm is that they research the whole of the market and can approach people not actively looking for a job. The best firms ensure they know their industry inside out, such as the rising stars and deputies who may be ready to make the step up at a new firm. They also preserve candidate confidentiality, often allowing them to have conversations about interest in a position that would not happen if the candidate were to be approached by a competitor’s in-house recruiter.

 Alan Cutts specialised in recruiting senior managers for asset management firms. He explains: “Because we establish long-term relationships with both the recruiting firms and a wide range of industry professionals, we ... recommend firms interview candidates that they may otherwise have overlooked due to some unconscious bias.” He added: “It is obviously in everybody’s interest that the process is effective and time efficient. From a candidate’s perspective we can coach them ahead of meeting their potential manager, and ensure that they know the background to the role and the culture of the team they would be joining. Likewise ... we do not waste anyone’s time with unqualified candidates. ”

Don’t miss an opportunity to invest in your career, check our events programme

Top tips:

  1. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is current and presents your skills as well as your experience
    Even when you are not actively looking to move roles, ensuring you have a professional and updated profile is key. This is the initial destination where people check you out ahead of business meetings so it’s important to make a good first impression. For those who are actively job hunting this is even more vital. Make sure that it showcases the skills you need for the new role and is not just a chronological list of previous job titles. Bring out the transferable skills you will need for your new role, by reordering the endorsements you have from your connections, and seek out referrals that highlight your suitability for the next role.


  2. Know the best jobs boards for your industry and level
    There are now a multitude of locations to search for jobs and this can make it difficult for candidates to keep abreast all the relevant opportunities. Whilst LinkedIn and advertise a wide variety of roles in financial services and are particularly useful for more junior positions, the relaunch of the CFA UK’s jobs board this autumn will offer a growing selection of roles for CFA qualified candidates and should become the first port of call for any member searching for another position.

  3. Referrals are an increasing part of a recruiter’s toolbox
    Many more people and firms are finding that referrals are an increasingly successful way of bringing together high-quality candidates with attractive jobs. For years people have been encouraged to use their network to seek out opportunities in business and a
    recent survey showed that over 40% of jobs are filled without being advertised. It is known for firms to pay bonuses to employees who recommend candidates. Being alerted by a friend that a role is being created and/or advertised internally is also key in these markets. Inform your network of your career aspirations and the kind of role that captures your interest. In the same way, make sure you reciprocate by passing opportunities on to your contacts.


  4. Increase visibility to your network and recruiters
    There are many ways to make yourself more visible to recruiters such as posting interesting articles on LinkedIn, taking part in online discussions and joining specialist groups. Traditional media outlets are always looking for content; what articles could you write for industry journals? Do you have the potential to be interviewed on Bloomberg and CNBC?There are also offline ways to raise your profile. CFA UK has an active network of volunteers who work on improving professionalism within our industry through education, ethics and advocacy. There are many opportunities to contribute as well as regular events that you can attend which will expand your network.


  5. Research the market and make a list of the firms where you want to work
    Company websites are devoting increasing amounts of space and resource to the careers section of their site and so should you. There is no excuse not to know about the company’s plans for the future or the scale and scope of their operations if it is on their website. When you have narrowed down your targets, register your interest in roles they may have in the future by filling out their registration form or even sending in a speculative CV. That way you will be on their radar and be contacted with relevant updates.