Your Reputation Within The Industry Proceeds You…Really

What does your reputation within the industry say about you? Does it matter? Find out more.

Even as we head into 2023, your reputation within the industry is the key.  What people and your colleagues think about you is important but sometimes what your competitors think about you is even more important.  As the field of public finance professionals narrows and the competition for great players increases, your reputation may be the key to your next position.  Why you may ask, because hiring managers are looking at what your peers say about you when making a hiring decision.

The Critical Point

Now I am sure I have your attention. The growing trend is that hiring firms are not relying on third-party reference checking but are doing their own independent due diligence on all candidates that they are seriously considering.  But here is the critical point: they are not just asking the typical reference checking questions; they are delving much deeper. Because they are talking to their contemporaries in the industry, hiring firms are finding out a lot more about potential candidates’ actual reputation within the industry (which is more personalized). Now it isn’t just a matter of, “Can you bring in the business?” It’s more of, “How do you treat your clients and the other people you interact with on transactions?”

Digging Deeper

After landing a new client recently, they asked about the process of reference checking.  I told him we review FINRA, talk to the candidates’ suggested references, and submit a complete reference check for their review.  You never know if a hiring firm wants more information on your reputation within your industry or not.  In this recent case, the hiring firm asked us to dig even deeper to find out specifically if they put their financial interest above the client’s interest, or vice versa.  Another client told us that they were going to personally check with their industry contacts to find out everything about a candidate – from how they get their business to how they interact with all their subordinates; thus, revealing if the candidate is a real team player.  I believe that the fear that someone would find out a candidate is thinking of making a move is now subordinate to a company finding the true scoop about a potential new employee.

Will The Competition Be Used Against Me?

This also raises a question that is often asked, “If I let you talk to a hiring manager about me, is he or she going to use this information against me while they may be competing in the same space as me?”  First of all, yes, the hiring manager or their firm at best will be competing within your space. That is why they are interested in you.  However, we only do opportunistic hiring, which means that we know and have strong relationships with the hiring managers we may recommend you have a call with.  Since we know and have worked with these managers, you can rest assured that they will never take advantage of “inside information” or your reputation within the industry (i.e., that you may be looking or try to share that with your clients).  In all my years of experience this has never happened to me or any candidates that I have represented to my client firms in both bond counsel as well as public finance recruiting,

How It All Works

Now that you are aware of this growing trend of valuing the reputation within the industry, do not be surprised if you hear that someone is asking about you in the industry.  Rest assured clients are only talking to people they know and trust because this new method is reciprocal. One time the hiring firm may be asking for information, the next they may be sharing information.


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.