Times Have Changed: What You Should Know

Since the pandemic there have be changes in legal and banking environments as well as public finance firms in every area. Here's what you should know about the changes and how to succeed.

This year I had the opportunity to share Halloween with my children and grandchildren. It has been over two years since we have been able to do that. The only masks that we saw last night were Halloween masks. As my son reflected at the conclusion of the evening he said, “Dad, this is the first thing that has felt normal in over two years.” I couldn’t agree more. Last year he creatively launched candy through a PVC tube to not come in direct contact with any of the children. In contrast, this year the bucket was simply placed on the table with us sitting behind it and wishing everybody a Happy Halloween. It just felt normal. As I was reflecting on the normalcy of the evening, I realized that the recruiting world in public finance (like legal and banking environments) was not normal and will never be again. This blog will reflect my thoughts and observations as you plan for next year.

One Of The Biggest Change For Candidates

From the candidate’s perspective, one of the biggest changes that you will experience is that clients will no longer be bringing people out for first and or second interviews. Candidates will not be invited to companies until they have concluded at least 80% of the interview process. Some firms are not even bringing people out to their firm – legal and banking. They are hiring over zoom while others are inviting people out to meet the team before they make a final decision. So, what does that mean to you as a candidate? I think the biggest thing that it represents is that candidates no longer can feel they are making exceptional progress towards a new position, since being invited out was a major clue to the intent of the hiring firm. This also means the candidates will have to get more feedback from their recruiters if they are working with one. If they are not, they are going to have to ask more circumspect questions of the hiring manager.

Clients Broadening Their Scopes

Another major influence that we are seeing is that firms are no longer only hiring within their footprint. What this means is that firms are no longer saying to recruiters, “I am looking for somebody in this particular locale and only this locale.” They are expanding their geographic boundaries since there are no brick-and-mortar requirements as there was prior to the pandemic. Both legal and banking firms have come to the resolution that they no longer need to bring people into an office. They can work remotely and get the work done even more efficiently. On the banking side, firms are not as reluctant now to open one or two person offices where a banker has been highly successful, and the bank does not necessarily have a presence there. This is allowing companies to look at a much larger candidate pool than they have in the past, causing the candidates to have to step up their game to get first and second interviews.

The Opportunities That Are Out There For Legal And Banking And More

As the way everybody does business has changed, firms are more likely to hire well known individuals in their space more so than ever before. The reason for this change is that the amount of marketing that is being done face to face has been reduced significantly, and that will not change. Candidates that are getting hired are ones that can pick up the phone and get business done quickly without visiting and seeing them face to face. I am not saying that face to face calls is not occurring, but it is nowhere near the way they were prior to the pandemic. Therefore, a candidate with a very expansive network is going to be more in demand than ever before. The business card that a candidate has is not going to be as important as it used to be. It is going to be the relationships that the banker or attorney has. Also, the political environment is obviously changing drastically as demonstrated in Texas where large well-known institutions are being prevented from doing business there. This is opening doors and opportunities for smaller and less known firms to get deals both in the legal and banking environment. It is a trend that I believe will continue to evolve throughout the United States. However, with changes come opportunities, and we would be delighted to share the opportunistic situations that we have in all areas of public finance, health care and bond counsel.


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.