On average, financial services candidates currently need to interview for 2.5 roles before receiving an offer.
At least that's the assertion of recruiter Marks Sattin, whose research suggests that 5 interviews generally elicit 2-3 job offers.
"Obviously, this has to be put into context; if you're not at all suitable for the role, candidates could apply for hundreds of positions and their success rate will be limited," says Tim Hedger, deputy managing director at the firm. "But, if you're a strong candidate and interview for five roles, you should expect two - if not three - job offers."
Of course, Marks Sattin largely recruits for accounting roles, where candidates are more likely to be offered a raft of positions than, say, a director level FICC banker, where employers will more selective.
But, the general sentiment coming out of recruitment firms is that candidates are more successful now because they're venturing on to the job market out of a desire to move, rather than desperation to find employment - as was the case 18 months ago.
"This year more people looking are gainfully employed and able to demonstrate how they fit the job specification, hence when they interview with companies the ratios are better," says Neil Soffe, regional director of Hays Financial Services.
It could also be down to herd mentality, suggests Mike Hartwell, managing director of headhunters Hartwell Buck.
"The interview processes can vary wildly within different organisations. At AVP level, some investment banks will go through three to four interview stages, whereas certain US banks can demand as many as 12," he says. "But generally, once a candidate secures one job offer, other organisations will streamline their interview processes to ensure they have a chance of getting that person onboard."
All of this, of course, paints a picture of a relatively healthy recruitment market. Unfortunately, at least within areas of investment banking that would typically provide more voluminous opportunities, this is no longer the case.
"In the first half of the year, if you were applying for roles in the operations sector, in areas like collateral management, equity trade support or projects, you would have been juggling multiple offers," says Sally Martin, associate director, banking operations at Robert Walters. "Towards the end of the year this is no longer the case, the recruitment process has slowed down and roles coming to market differ greatly from firm to firm."