Do Preconceived Notions Ruin New Opportunities For You?

It's always best to set aside any preconceived notions about a firm or new opportunity and listen to what your recruiter has to share with you.

As 2022 is unfolding there are a plethora of new opportunities being created. As I mentioned in a previous blog, now is the time to be in public finance. However, you must put aside your preconceived notions about the firm or management. It’s time to realize that the aging of the Senior Managers takes a toll, and they are looking for younger blood to take the reins. So, what you have seen as a firm that does one thing may now be different, or it is posed to be different because of unannounced internal activity that only a trusted advisor would be aware of. In order to be shown these opportunities you must put aside any preconceived ideas you may have when you hear a firm mentioned. Let the recruiter share information that you may not be privy to (even though in some circumstances it was announced in the Bond Buyer).

This Week’s Example Story About Preconceived Notions

Last week’s blog I mentioned a merger between two firms that was going to be remarkably interesting to the bond counsel world. It was published last week. Today I called a potential candidate and told him about a possible future opportunity that he had not heard of. Because he trusted our firm and set aside his preconceived notions, he was open to hear about this new opportunity.

The Damage Of Preconceived Notions

Preconceived notions, self-fulfilling prophecies, or whatever you may want to call it are the antithesis of open-mindedness. Either way, it may be holding you back from your next great opportunity. As investment bankers (yes, I include myself in that group), we are very aware of what our competition may be doing. Are we aware of what is going on within the sacred walls of our competition though?

What A Recruiter Offers

If a professional recruiter reaches out to you (and there are many recruiters out there who will) be open to listen – even if you think you know everything about that particular firm, they are reaching out to you for. You must set aside your preconceived notions. Why? The recruiters and other insiders may know more about internal changes and new growth opportunities than what the street is aware of. Also, as a recruiter it is my responsibility to only offer opportunities where I personally feel there can be a particularly good fit. A couple examples may make this abundantly clear.

Appropriate Fits & Digging Into “Reflex No’s”

First example, I am collaborating with a team and when I mentioned one firm to them, their answer was an immediate no. I categorize that as a “reflex no” due to preconceived notions. I continued at the appropriate time to ask questions as to why their answer was negative. After we chatted for a bit, it was apparent that their concerns were about certain things that occurred years ago. With the new management and leadership, the company is quite different today. A second example is that I am working with an individual who is creating a team. We were looking for a new home for him and his team. When I first mentioned a prospective firm, he did not believe that it was fit at all. Because of his trust in me he agreed to an interview. After finding out all the facts, he is overly excited about the future opportunity. The key was he trusted his recruiter to only bring him opportunities that made sense. Do you do the same thing?


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. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting”.

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, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.