What Makes You Different Makes Your Interview Stronger

A strong recruiter in public finance would know the trends, especially ones that would help you in the interview process. Stand out with your differences in 2023!

As I like to do in these blogs, I will bring to your attention trends that I am seeing from candidates interviewing and hiring managers presenting offers.  The trend that is now showing its face is differentiating yourself; and I am not necessarily talking about diversity and inclusion topics, though they are extremely important.  I am talking about what makes you different.  I’ll use myself as an example to start.  I am the only public finance recruiter that was a public finance banker and a JD – that is my selling point.  However, that seems too obvious.  As a strong recruiter in public finance, what I am talking about are hobbies, passions, accomplishments, or extracurricular activities that may distinguish you from others during the interview process.

A Strong Recruiter In Public Finance May Say, “Stand Out In The Best Way!”

But How Do You Do That?

Just recently my daughter asked me to critique a resume and a cover letter of a friend of hers.  She started the cover letter with all her experience as it relates to teaching yoga.  I was somewhat taken aback.  Suddenly, I realized that was who she was, and what better way to showcase yourself for a logistical position than talking about how you create, teach, and set up exercise routines to music?  That made me start to think.  As I looked over the last set of resumes received for specific positions, candidates are definitely now doing that.  For example, I had one candidate that was an Eagles Scout.  He was incredibly proud of that accomplishment as he should be.  Another candidate was an Olympian while others volunteer at various charities that they are deeply proud to support. What should a strong recruiter in public finance recommend a candidate do with that information about themselves? Use it! 

Be You: Let Your Unique Qualities Show

Here’s the key: don’t just mention the extracurricular activity that you are proud of doing.  Do as my daughter’s friend did weave it into the entire interview process.  A strong recruiter in public finance sees the trend and what it does for everyone in the interview process. This will accomplish two things.  First, it will make you stand out among the other candidates for any position that they may be hiring for.  Second and more importantly, the hiring manager will get a hidden window into how you think.  As you move up the career path, you are paid more for what and how you think rather than what you can actually do.  It’s the thinking part that is difficult for a manager to determine and evaluate.  By using these stories, they can get firsthand knowledge of how you do think.

Take A Risk & Capitalize: This Is Where Having A Strong Recruiter In Public Finance Makes All The Difference

Another thought I want to leave you with is being proud of what makes you different and unique for your position.  Just yesterday I was interviewing a candidate that was on the issuer side, and he wanted to return to the banker side as he had banked some years ago.  Obviously, being on the issuer side he does have many contacts but so do many other people.  However, what he has and did not want to capitalize on it due to poor guidance is that he was a retired military and USMC Veteran.  Another recruiter told him to play that down, and I could not disagree more!  Being a veteran is who he is, and to hide that is a mistake.  Granted, not everyone is going to want a veteran, but I promise you there are firms that will want a veteran if their sole mission is to work with and help other veterans out.  Why not take advantage of that great background?  A recruiter like the one mentioned above is only thinking about themselves and not their candidate.  The job of a strong recruiter in public finance is to exploit every opportunity a candidate can present to get a qualified interview for that candidate.  Let us do that and more for you.


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. 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.