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Survey Questions the Value of Using a Recruiter

Finding a great job in the financial markets can be challenging in the best of times, but when Wall Street firms announce the kind of headcount reductions we've been seeing lately the search becomes down right daunting. And according to a survey eFinancialCareers conducted this month with financial professionals, recruiters may not really help job seekers all that much either.

The survey found that while nearly four out of five (78%) financial markets jobseekers had contact with a recruiter as part of their job search in the last two years, only about one in ten (13%) said the recruiter resulted in them getting their job.

"That's actually not surprising," said a top executive search consultant, "real recruiters are looking to pull out the superstars for their top tier clients and are not looking for jobseekers."

This statement highlights a common misconception among jobseekers in that the recruiter is somehow there to help them get a job when in reality, the recruiter is either working for the company posting the position or themselves in that if they fill a position they'll make money.

Negative Experience

According to the survey, nearly six in 10 (59%) rated their experience with Wall Street recruiters as negative, versus just 13% who defined it as positive. This disparity is particularly frustrating for candidates because more often than not the recruiter is the one who initiates the relationship.

In fact, the survey revealed that recruiters contacting candidates was the number one way a financial professional began working with a recruiter. This, says one New York-based financial markets consultant who prefers to remain nameless, could be at the heart of the problem since there are a lot of people out there who call themselves recruiters but don't really know what they're doing and are just hoping to score a match by flinging the right resume at the right job spec.

She advises as follows: "If the so-called recruiter doesn't want to meet with the potential candidate and do a detailed intake interview, that person may have just switched from flipping burgers to flipping resumes as there are no barriers to entry in the recruiting business. Anyone with a phone can call themselves a recruiter," says the career consultant. "

Primary mistakes jobseekers say recruiters make

More than one in four (27%) of financial markets professionals said the primary mistake recruiters make is they fail to provide feedback followed by not getting back to them in a timely manner (21%).

"This is a big issue in all relationships, but on Wall Street - it's huge," says Constance Melrose, Managing Director eFinancialCareers North America. "There is no group of professionals on the planet who deal and adapt to information more quickly than financial markets professionals. They crave information that is relevant, timely, and actionable. Leaving candidates hanging on return calls or emails and a lack of candor are completely unacceptable," she adds.

According to the survey, other areas in which financial professionals found recruiters lacking were failure to connect the candidate to suitable positions, lack of transparency and dishonesty.

There are a number of recruiters who do not work for a particular company and instead troll the job boards for positions and then post their own ad. "They are giving this industry a bad name," adds one top Wall Street recruiter.

Interestingly, the survey results regarding job placement were similar to that of a UK recruiting agency. Our UK site carried a story today about a recruitment agency that said it is unable to help 85% of the applicants who send in their resumes.

How to identify a great recruiter

If you are thinking about a new job, Fred Bayr, a financial services headhunter offered the following suggestions in a previous article for eFinancialCareers.

"Research both the consultancies and consultants you work with thoroughly. There are a number of high quality organizations and boutiques which exist purely to help candidates find the kind of job satisfaction they couldn't achieve on their own."

Unfortunately Bayr adds "these professionals are outnumbered by the KPI freaks who spew rubbish about "building relationships. Good recruiters don't talk about doing this, they simply get on with it.

He says great recruiters can be partially identified by what they don't do, rather than what they do do. If a recruiter doesn't do any of the following, he (or she) may be great.

- Great recruiters don't: Exaggerate their earnings

- Great recruiters don't: Fail to give detailed feedback on every occasion

- Great recruiters don't: Surf social media sites

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • Pr
    Proud Career Recruiter
    23 September 2011

    This article just serves as another boost to the gross misunderstanding of what exactly recruiters do. In short, Yes-recruiters find people jobs. A much more accurate description would be, "Recruiters find people for their clients".

    The reason that only 13% had a positive experience/success with a recruiter is because the unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of job seekers out there are people who recruiters cannot help! Clients pay recruiters for the job seekers who are perfect for what they want. The statistics of what it takes to be a successful recruiter are staggering. Recruiters have to speak with/meet with innumerable amounts of people to find someone whom they can actually help. Companies want the top rated, passively looking person from a competitor. There are exceptions to that "rule", but even then, that person is proably still not you! Hiring companies that are willing to pay a recruiter ten's of thousands of dollars for someone want an A+ candidate. What does that mean exactly? They want someone who has 9 out of 10 skills that they seek, is an up and comer in their career, and has a great personality.

    13%? Yes, because we can only help 1 out of 1.

  • Ni
    26 August 2011

    I am a finance MBA with a banking background and I've been out of school for 7 years. I have contacted and been contacted by recruiters every time I look for a job. My advice is to stay far far away from big agencies. They are a huge waste of your time. They just want you on their rolodex but they don't really have anything for you. Smaller agencies that are focused solely on your industry are much better. Companies like dealing with smaller firms, probably because they have more pull with a mom and pop than a national firm. But whatever the case may be, those are the people that got me the interviews with the big companies for the senior level positions. And the recruiter who helped me get my current job found me on LinkedIn so don't bash them too much! Use whatever resources you can in this market!

  • Ro
    26 August 2011

    If I was a DOR or CIO looking to hire an analyst or equity manager, I would write the ad myself and emphasize stock picking success in the previous job related to resources available to do the job. Then I would give the assignment to sort through resumes and do preliminary phone interviewing and background checking to an unemployed analyst or PM as a temporary job. The final product would be far superior to what the great majority of recruiters would produce.

  • Jo
    John B
    17 August 2011

    Being a recruiter, I can empathize with those that have harsh feelings toward the industry. There are certainly a lot of unqualified people calling themselves recruiters as the article states. We see other recruiters sending resumes without permission all the time, don't they know this is someone career that they are using for their own gain?

    However, as the article also says, if you as a job seeker does the neccessary due dilligence, you will find the ones that actually care about your career and can help, whether it be with simple interviewing tips or the full fledge placement.

    Can they always place you? No, it's not possible. What people don't see are the hundreds of people sending resumes to jobs they have absolutey no qualifications for.

    This is the reason HR goes to us and will contine to.

  • Ho
    17 August 2011

    Most recruiters have no idea about the industry or position they are recruiting for, which is a complete embarrassment. Prior to 2008, there where legit recruiters, now you have a bunch of inexperienced car salesmen calling around.

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