Survey Questions the Value of Using a Recruiter

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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

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