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How to think like a financial services recruiter

Inside the mind of the finance recruitment professional

If you want a plum banking job, recruiters can be unavoidable: getting on their good side matters. However, banking recruiters are bombarded with more candidates than they can handle, so you’ll need to treat them carefully.  Next time you approach one, try these tactics for getting inside their head.

1: Recruiters want candidates to fit jobs: they’re not career coaches

You might think it’s a good idea to get in touch with a recruiter and talk through your options. You’d be entirely wrong. Recruiters are not paid to make people fit roles, they're paid to actually fill roles. That's an important distinction.

2. Recruiters want candidates who can explain why they’re right for the role

Recruiters want candidates who are ready for the market.  You’ll need a sharp résumé, to have practiced behavioral questions and to be able to discuss what differentiates you.  What did you actually accomplish in each of your roles? Provide hard, quantifiable evidence.

3. Recruiters want candidates who understand the pressures they’re under

You might think recruiters are all about candidates. Wrong! They spend their days waiting for answers from constituencies, prospecting, interviewing candidates and processing paperwork or building relationships with senior leaders to anticipate the needs of a talent pool. If you want to grab a banking recruiter’s limited attention, you have to be a “bull’s-eye” candidate. Make sure you display what they’re looking for in the top third of your résumé. Clarify how the role you’re applying to fits with your career story.

4. Recruiters want candidates who grow with them

Banking recruiters run obstacle courses: some candidates don’t follow instructions and at times, hiring managers change their needs. Strangers are also constantly asking them for jobs. A better way to partner with them is to “start a relationship early in your career. Make a recruiter one of your mentors. This will help you leverage them throughout your career.

Bear these precepts the next time you engage a banking recruiter—you’ll outsmart your peers and make the arduous banking job-search process less stressful for everyone.

Brian Rhonemus, managing director of Retail Banking at US-based Angott Search Group, contributed to this article. Melissa Llarena is a coach, career strategist and 'interview whisperer.' 

AUTHORMelissa Llarena Insider Comment

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