Thursday 10 September 2009

How to get a job before Christmas

It is now 108 days until Christmas and Sainbury’s has already begun displaying tinsel.

If you intend to secure a new financial services role before becoming too engorged with food and drink to fit into your interview outfit, you are therefore advised to follow the steps below.

1) Revisit your network:

If you are out of the market and were made redundant in the past 24 months, you’ve probably pestered everyone who might be able to direct you to a new job already. Pester them again.

“Go back to the network of people you contacted when you originally lost your job,” says Jim Nairn at recruitment firm Cornell Partnership. “You’ll probably find they’re a lot more receptive to helping you find a new role than they were 6-12 months ago.”

The head of recruitment at one US firm confirms this is likely to be the case. “A lot of firms have ramped up their employee referral programmes as a way of filling vacancies.”

Referral programmes often involve payment – Merrill Lynch, for example, used to pay £5k to employees who referred friends to fill vacant VP roles. Former colleagues who saw you as an albatross or source of schadenfreude are therefore now likely to see you as a source of cash.

2) Forget being bought out:

If you’re a junior and you expect a buyout, you won’t get one and therefore can forget moving until at least the New Year. “There’s a reluctance to buy people out. The view is that there’s still a lot of good people on the street and they’re prepared to move into roles without anything up front,” says one recruiter.

3) Apply to BarCap:

Bob Diamond says 75-80% of BarCap’s hiring aspirations in investment banking and equities have now been met.

However, this does not appear to be discouraging the addition of senior staff in selected areas, such as FIG. Advisory headhunters say senior staff are in place, but that BarCap still needs VPs, analysts and associates.

4) Apply direct

As is probably to be expected, banks’ heads of recruitment advise you to apply for jobs directly to the themselves, rather than going through recruitment firms (thereby enabling them to avoid paying the recruiter’s fee). “Don’t rely on talking to agencies, approach us directly,” says one head of recruitment. “Be proactive, the market is buoyant and it’s all about being out there and getting yourself known,” he adds.

5) Try boutiques

Although banks like Morgan Stanley have recognized a sudden and urgent need for new bodies (in fixed income and equities sales and trading), other banks are awakening more slowly to the fact that they’ve cut too many people.

Some may therefore defer hiring until the New Year, or embroil new recruits in a complicated sign-off process. Smaller affairs like Evolution, Execution or Shore Capital are likely to be less encumbered.

6) Be humble

Things are getting better, but they’re not that good. See point 2.

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