365 Days Since COVID-19, What Firms Are Realizing & The Changed Hiring Process

COVID-19 has changed the world and firms are realizing that the hiring process needed to change.

As a good percentage of Americans are getting their vaccinations, reflecting back on the past year and the changes that it has brought; I am least pleased to share the positive changes that have been made.  If there was any good that came from adjusting to COVID-19, there are definitely positive changes as it results in the process of hiring public finance professionals (whether bankers or bond counsels).  Candidates and firms are realizing what needs to change and actually making it happen. From my own self-conducted survey with my clients, I believe these changes will continue to remain in place as we move to the abatement of COVID-19.

I am going to elaborate on what I think are the top ten changes that we have experienced in no particular order because firms are realizing we live in a new era since COVID-19.

TOP 10 Factors Firms Are Realizing & The Changes 

1.     Firms are realizing and have found that they can do more video interviewing as a way to pre-screen candidates. The benefit to this is that candidates can be seen quicker, and firms do not have to go to the expense of bringing questionable candidates to corporate headquarters.

2.     Firms have expanded their area of search for a particular candidate.  The benefit of this is that firms will now seriously consider candidates outside of their footprint, since they are not as concerned about them working from a particular office.

3.     Firms have learned that employees as well as prospective employees can be just as successful working from their homes.  The benefit to this is that more work can get done with less down time due to travel.  Firms are also now respecting that someone, even though they are working from their home, are working; but, more importantly, they still need breaks and vacations.

4.     Firms are realizing that they can now put more money into compensation packages. Their daily cost to run their respective practices have been reduced due to lack of additional expenses such as travel, marketing, entertainment, secretarial and support has also been minimized.  The benefit is that we are able to get stronger compensation packages for our candidates.

5.     Firms are realizing who can effectively transfer business when they get hired.  The benefit to this is that offers being made and candidates getting hired are having faster ramp-ups.  This is due to the fact that firms are extremely aware that to do business during COVID-19 is different. The candidates prior to moving who had significant books of business did that without face-to-face meetings, rotations or other methods that were previously utilized.

6.     Offers for candidates are happening much quicker due to many people getting hired strictly over a video format.  Firms are realizing that the reason is that the delay time between first and second interviews has been minimized and collaboration among the interviewers can occur immediately after a call.  Feedback is happening quicker, so candidates are moving through the hiring process with much more alacrity.  The benefit being the good candidates are moving quickly to offers while the not as appropriate candidates are being weeded out sooner, so they can focus on other positions.

7.     Start dates are happening sooner.  Because of the process being so much quicker and people not having to relocate, they are able to start earlier and get a head start on the new year.  The benefit is that the time to serve two masters, which is extremely emotionally taxing, is shorter.

8.     Garden leave is being looked at somewhat differently.  Some (not all) firms are reducing the period of Garden Leave or negotiating with the new firm to share compensation. Firms are realizing that paying someone to sit at home for three months is not as warranted as no one is going out to see their clients.  They are aware that having someone try to get their clients before a person can move them is not as effective as it was when they could go out and make personal pitches.  The benefit to the candidate is they can start at their new firm and be more assured the business they were counting on can be brought over.

9.     On-boarding, which was taking so much longer, has shortened significantly.  Many firms are having computer equipment already installed with the software needed as well as having all electronics shipped to their new hires.  HR process has been streamlined as well.  The benefit again being costs are reduced, and time to get out of the chute is increased significantly.

10.  But the most important one of them all is that once again America has shown its resilience to any “foreign” interference.  Business was not shut down, and in fact our industry of public finance is more needed than ever before.  The apparent financial problems that COVID-19 caused are being resolved by public finance professionals like you each and every day.  


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs so you never miss one. 

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.