Is Public Finance In Your Blood?

What does a public finance candidate need to be more desirable for hiring? It's in the blood.

As we approach the middle of the second quarter, I find myself asking if there is a litmus test I can apply to my candidates.  Is there one thing they each have in common, so that when I am talking to someone I know I can help them?  Is there one thing that sets them apart from any other candidate – whether they are at a small, boutique law firm or a large, bulge-bracket investment banking firm?  One answer kept coming back to me, but it starts with a simple question: is public finance in their blood?  This simple question was the answer I was seeking. 

It’s A Feeling…That Unexplainable, Public Finance Feeling

If I am talking to someone and they want to make a move, asking this question in my mind seems to be the contributing factor that cannot be quantified or even qualified on a resume.  It’s a feeling I get when talking to someone.  It’s the excitement they ooze when talking about their past accomplishments.  It’s the motivation I sense when they discuss their next position and public finance overall.  Most bankers or bond counsels I chat with are not looking for a new position that doesn’t feel this way.  However, because of the consistent reduction in forces lately, the exchange of seats (as I affectionately refer to the feeling) has become more and more prevalent.  Even bankers who have been asked to take early retirement can just sense those who are not ready to stop working in this industry. 

Advice For Public Finance Professionals: The Old & The New

It’s those consummate professionals who have public finance circulating in their blood.  It’s those individuals who, even though they complain about the late-night city council meetings, are going to miss this business.  It’s those people that make the best candidates.  If you find yourself being a candidate that public finance is just part of you, there is a new home waiting for you somewhere if you find yourself suddenly displaced.  If you are a younger banker and you think that the grass is going to be greener at another location, please, I implore you to stay where you’re at.  Learn from the professionals for a minimum of five years. If after five years you are still feeling the economic or managerial pressure, then consider a move – but not before the five-year mark.  If public finance is not in your blood, then look elsewhere. 

That Something

We are best suited to work with those professionals who live and breathe public finance. Our hiring managers expect us to make the best presentations if we feel that innate something that says, “This is for you.”  It’s public finance that you have staked your livelihood on.  When the manager sees that something coming out through the interview process, the manager will want to hire you since they know this is the business for you.  No matter what your niche within public finance, you will be desirable, as you are one of the few who genuinely love this industry.  Those who love this industry want to be around others who love this world of public finance as well.  Why not work with a recruiter that feels the same way?  Public finance is all we do, and it’s been all I have done for almost thirty years now, as both a banker, JD and a recruiter. 


You don’t need a resume to chat with us! 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. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. We have also been mentioned in Forbes, click HERE to read for yourself.  

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.