Financial Temps Have Their Place on Wall Street

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Even investment banks and hedge funds use temporary financial professionals when their workloads demand it.

When investment banks, private equity and hedge funds are involved in major acquisition deals, they sometimes need additional professionals to handle the due diligence necessary to completing the transaction. To fill those needs, these organizations can turn to management consulting and accounting firms, or hire temporary professionals through an agency. We asked John Landers, Wall Street branch manager for staffing firm Robert Half International, to explain the process.

Under what circumstances might an investment firm bring on temporary project personnel?

The typical scenarios involve aggregating research information for analysis, and to cover for permanent staff during medical or personal leave situations.

What kinds of people and skills are typically sought?

In this sector, education is very important. Professionals with degrees from prestigious Ivy League schools are in high demand. Strong technical skills are also critical, such as with Microsoft Excel, Access and VBA (visual basic applications). The demand for project roles typically is for associate-level professionals. The more experienced professionals are usually hired on a full-time basis.

How long do these assignments usually last? Is there a chance they can lead to a full-time position?

Most firms use project professionals for what would be considered longer-term engagements, meaning two or three months. Many employ project professionals with the intention of hiring them as permanent employees once the assignment is completed.

Is this type of need more typically going to arise at a smaller, boutique bank with less full-time staffing resources, or do the bigger firms also have these needs?

We are seeing high demand across the board, from companies of all sizes.

Where do you find the people to fulfill these kinds of needs?

The majority of the candidates we find are through referrals or local academic institutions.

What kind of person finds this type of employment appealing?

Recent graduates tend to find project work the most appealing. Some of them prefer this option as a way to "test out" a prospective employer before determining if they would be interested in a permanent position with the firm. Others enjoy the variety of exposure to several companies, roles and work environments before determining their career path.

How are temporary professionals different from management consultants?

The biggest difference is cost savings. Management consultants can cost up to several hundreds of dollars per hour. Project professionals are a much more cost-effective solution, plus they provide the option of temp-to-hire, which the use of management consultants does not.

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