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Germans like to meet face to face.

Hiring freezes in Frankfurt as Germans don't like video interviews

While some banks in London have switched to video conferencing to interview candidates, in Frankfurt there’s less of a willingness to embrace technology in the recruitment process. 

Dr Sabrina Tamm, founding partner at Financial Talents, a recruitment firm in Frankfurt, said: “Candidates and interviewers prefer to chat face-to-face. Video interviews are not too popular in Germany so I think you’ll see recruitment by banks go quiet for a while.”

In fairness, there’s unlikely to be much hiring anywhere as countries adopt more stringent and coordinated measures in an attempt to delay the spread of the coronavirus.  

But at the start of the year, Germany was earmarked by some big banks as a hiring priority, given Frankfurt’s popularity as a post-Brexit hub. Citigroup is looking to beef up its presence on the ground, while JP Morgan has just promoted top dealmaker Dorothee Blessing to co-head its European investment banking business from the capital.

No-one was predicting a torrent of recruitment with the emphasis more on adding the odd senior banker or adviser. Many banks have already recently increased their headcount in Frankfurt. Last year Jefferies expanded its German operations after securing a capital markets license while in January HSBC unveiled new leadership in Frankfurt with the appointments of 

Meanwhile Moelis & Co has retrenched, with the departure of co-heads Stefan Müller and Caspar Hoffman. With a recruitment freeze now inevitable, the next question is whether some firms will start to cut back as deal activity grinds to a halt.  “Moelis shows how difficult it is to be profitable in investment banking in Germany. Even in a good year, the activity and fee levels are far lower than in the UK,” said one headhunter. 

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AUTHORDavid Rothnie Insider Comment
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  • pb
    pbug56
    26 March 2020

    Until I worked for a now defunct or nearly so German Landesbank, I used to think that German management was smarter. Though when a special survey found that more than 50% of our management was incapable or unwilling to make decisions, my opinion changed. Makes you wonder what's wrong with German bank management. And when I learned about all the problems at DB, made me wonder that even more.

    Technology can be a great benefit to banking (back office, wholesale, middle office and more), allowing much of the human part to be done remotely, which tends to be much easier on staff and allow improved output - if managed well. And even the best of your remote workers need support, both technical and personal, but from my view it is well worth it. SO do it, but do it well and carefully. Make sure the technology is up to date and very secure, that employees are trained how to use it safely and effectively, and teach employees how to successfully be remote. For instance, while it's great to avoid a non-stop office din, if you are completely alone and out of touch you will soon lose the ability to be productive. You need to talk with your boss, your coworkers, and have something in the background, perhaps music, to not start feeling lonely and disconnected. You need to take proper breaks, for instance. And switching from always in the office to always be at home is not easy, it takes lots of getting used to. And never see it as an excuse to fool around all day.

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