It still is a really good time to make a move if you have the requisite qualifications as enunciated over the last couple weeks. Now what do you do when you speak to a recruiter in finance? First, congratulations on making that first important step. Either you were fortunate enough to have a recruiter reach out to you, or you have been motivated and inspired to reach out to a recruiter (based on what you’ve been reading or thinking about). It is most important that you answer truthfully the questions a recruiter will address in their preliminary conversation as they ascertain if they can work with you. Not being forthright will cause more problems becoming a potential waste of everyone’s time, and it could even potentially harm your reputation in the marketplace in extreme circumstances. A good recruiter in finance should be able to determine in a fifteen-minute conversation or less if they can be of assistance to you. Give them that short window of time, you may learn more than you expect.
Will You Receive The Help You Need?
A recruiter in finance may not always be the one approaching you. There are various recruiters out there that will profess they can get you the optimum positions with the optimal financial reward, but in the end, are they able to? Many recruiters tend to claim that they can help you, but few in the end really do. I know this is a broad sweeping comment, so you be the judge. Think about how many executive recruiters or headhunters you have been contacted by over the years, how many were able to understand your business, and then how many helped you. Many recruiters have no idea what public finance is; however, they present to you the idea that you are a perfect fit for a position they are trying to fill. Whether you are an attorney specializing in the field of public finance or a public finance banker, most recruiters do not understand how you generate revenue. If they do not understand how you can make money for the firm, they are looking to have you move to, how can they say you are a perfect fit for their current position? Therefore, the first question (which is most important) you should ask is: Do they know what public finance is?
Questions That Will Help You Avoid The “Headhunter Trap” If You Don’t Have A Specializing Recruiter In Finance
To help you avoid what I affectionately call the “Headhunter Trap,” I want you to ask your proposed executive recruiter or headhunter the following five questions before you start to put your faith, trust and more importantly the giving of your time with one of them.
- If they are not a recruiter in finance, are they really experts in your field? Not just a recruiter that is going to try to fit a square peg in a round hole for example.
- What experience do they have in placing people at your salary range, target position, and title?
- Do they specialize in your field or are they generalist recruiters? (This is different from question one as they may have expertise in your field, but they may work on different job orders.)
- Do they have existing clients that are looking for your area of expertise? Or do they have to go out and find potential firms to represent you?
- If you are moving with a team, do they have expertise on handling the logistics of moving a team?
Each one of the above questions should cause you to dive deeper when you hear the response. This is not to say that a person willing to market you to new firms is not someone that you should avoid. It’s only for you to gather more information about their current clients and their needs. I make it a habit of marketing teams to firms that are not necessarily my client today. Why? Because I know there is a strong need for teams to open new operations for investment banks and law firms. With these questions you should be well on your way to evaluate a recruiter’s ability to work with you, whether they are a specific recruiter in finance or not.
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 level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.