Finding The Right Recruiter For You: Part 2

There are tactics, topics, and questions to ask a potential recruiter to find out if they are the right one for you.

In Part 1 of this series, we started to explore the relationship between candidates, clients, and recruiters. Now we are going to conclude by delving deeper into the type of recruiter that you would want to represent you, and the questions that you should ask to determine which potential recruiter is the best for you to work with. This is both applicable for bankers as well as other professional public finance personnel and bond counsels. The purpose of this blog is to continue to make you smarter in your decision-making process.

The Most Important Area To Dive Into With A Potential Recruiter

Let’s dive in! Different recruiters will represent different areas of the marketplace. What I mean more specifically is that certain recruiters will represent the major players (in our verbiage the bulge bracket firms) while other recruiters (like myself) represent the smaller regional firms. Which is the best potential recruiter for you? On the bond counsel side, certain legal recruiters that represent the larger law firms will claim they know the bond counsel world, but they usually do not. This is evidenced when I make a call into a law firm to tell them I am looking for a bond counsel, and they are “blown away” that I even know what the term means (let alone that I understand what a bond counsel really does). A similar thing happens with the public finance bankers as many recruiters assume everyone with a Series 7 is qualified to do public finance, or on the converse every Series 7 banker is not qualified to be a Series 7 salesperson. Initially, this is the most important area to dive into with a potential recruit call.

Topics & Tactics To Try When Conversing With A Potential Recruiter

My suggestions are to throw some lingo out at the potential recruiter to see if they understand you after you question them. That’s how you will first know if they are at least knowledgeable in the field. Next you want to listen to how they are potentially describing a position to you. Again, most recruiters will be filling a job order, so they should be extremely specific on what the needs are for their client. If they sound like they are reading a description, try to take them off the script and ask more probing questions. By this one simple tactic you will be able to determine if they know their client and their position they are trying to fill. Your time is too valuable to be wasting it on inefficient recruiters. There are some great ones out there, and the search is worth the time.

What Some Answers Can Tell You

Other topics that should be probed with your potential recruiter is why an opening is there. A good recruiter should be able to answer this question with a thoughtful response. You need this information before you decide to interview with a firm. Based on the answer, you can determine why the position is open. Is it because someone left a vacancy or is it because of growth? If it is for a vacancy, trying to find out more about why the last employee was let go will be very eye opening for you. If it is because of growth, finding out the expected growth plans could unearth an extremely exciting new opportunity that you would want to interview for.

What Preparation With A Recruiter Should Look Like

The next question I would delve into (after knowing about the firm and the position) is to ask your potential recruiter how they plan to help you prepare for a potential interview. If they offer to tell you what questions you will be asked, that is not a recruiter I would suggest working with. They are only trying to make a placement by prepping you with what the firm wants to hear. If on the converse, they prep you by having you ask questions after you have done your due diligence – that is a better situation for sure. If they share more internal information about why this is a great opportunity for you, or suggest you start thinking about what you would want to share with the firm and help you convey that better, that is more than OK. Most of all (not to sound too condescending) use your common sense and ask yourself, “Is this someone I can trust and has my best interest at heart?”


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.