30 April 2014
If you’re happy in your current work environment but feel like your responsibilities are starting to become second-nature, it may be time to consider a promotion. But going about asking for one is rarely easy. The promotion talk is a sensitive one and, if the employee starting it isn’t prepared, can actually harm rather than help. If you’re looking to move up from your current role, you have to make sure you’re prepared before asking. So if you’re serious about stepping up in your current position, start planting the proverbial seeds early on. Believe it or not, the conversation isn’t where the steps to a new promotion begin. Here are some steps to take before and during the promotion talk to ensure you have the best chances of success: Before the talk Know what a promotion would entail. Sure, it might mean more money, but are you prepared to handle the additional responsibilities? Prepare yourself by knowing exactly what will be expected of you in the new position if you are to succeed in obtaining a promotion. Start taking on those responsibilities. Offer your help and pick up extra, relevant work where possible. This will show your boss ahead of time that you’re capable of handling the position and that you’re eager to advance. Of course, be sure to prioritize your current responsibilities and take care of them first. Take responsibility for your actions. Everyone makes mistakes, and if you’ve had a history of avoiding them in the past, it’s time to start owning up to them. With a promotion comes greater responsibility, and an employer wants to know that they’re putting an accountable person in the position. Determine an appropriate time. Is your company currently struggling? Is it smack in the middle of a busy season? Be sure to consider such things when planning to ask for a promotion, as they will likely have a major effect on whether or not you’re successful. In addition, an observant supervisor may take note of your consideration when you pick a non-stressful time to ask. Plan your meeting. Possibly the worst thing you can do is ambush your boss in the hallway; instead, ask if there’s some time you can set aside to meet one-on-one and discuss your future with the company. Schedule a block of time at your supervisor’s convenience and make sure your pitch fits into it and leaves plenty of room for discussion. During the talk Present yourself as you would an idea, pitch, or sale. Promotions aren’t given based solely on tenure, so give your boss reasons as to why you’d excel in a more demanding capacity. Offer an example of a big project you spearheaded or praise you’ve received and how the skills you learned from such experiences can help you in the new role. Pitch it in a way that shows you both gain. There are obvious reasons you want the promotion—increased pay and benefits, added responsibility, mobility within the company—but why should your employer want to promote you? Be sure to identify three key ways your promotion will help the company in both its short- and long-term goals. This will demonstrate that you’re the right fit for the job—which is always more effective than merely saying you are. Be realistic. Asking to move from a staff position to that of a VP not only won’t work, it will also alert your employer to the fact that you don’t understand how businesses work. And that’s not a quality of a promotable employee. Avoid comparisons. Focus on you and your accomplishments—not your coworkers and theirs. Comparing yourself to others will only highlight any lack of support you have for wanting a promotion. If you truly want and deserve it, you’ll find ways to sell yourself without having to use others as a reference. Have a plan for the immediate future. Tell your supervisor exactly what you hope to accomplish if you’re given the promotion. Doing so will make you appear prepared—and you will be! If you’re successful, you’ll already know what to begin with so you can get the ball rolling and show you were the right pick.
30 April 2014
On April 28th, Katie Niekrash, Senior Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Healthcare division, was featured as a guest on a Fox Business on Demand segment.
29 April 2014
Have you ever had a friend who constantly talked about another friend and said if you ever met him/her the two of you would get along really well? Then, finally when you get the chance to meet this mystery friend, you realize within minutes of meeting them that you’d never actually want to be friends with this person? If so, you’re not the only person who believes 1st impressions are important; hiring managers treat the interview process the same way. In fact, a study done by CareerBuilder showed that approximately 48% of hiring managers knew within the first five minutes of an interview whether a candidate would be a good fit, while 87% knew within the first 15 minutes. What could you possibly do in your first fifteen minutes to completely scathe the perfect candidate picture you created on paper? Here are some blunders that interviewers pick up on immediately that can cause some major red flags. Arriving late or far too early. As a jobseeker, two of the most important things you are responsible for are to find your location and arrive on time. So, setting an alarm clock—two if you must—or taking a timed test run to the job site are two steps you could take beforehand to avoid these issues. If you do arrive late, it’s important to be honest and address your mistake directly without making an excuse. This will demonstrate that although you made an egregious error, you are still a poised candidate that is willing to acknowledge your mistakes, so you can constructively deal with the consequences. Similarly, arriving too early (20 minutes or more) to your interview can show a lack of respect for your interviewer’s time as they may feel rushed to finish any current tasks to make up for your early arrival. Dressing inappropriately. Your appearance can set the stage for how well the rest of the interview goes. If you can’t look the part, the employer may think that you don’t care enough about the role. Remember, before an interviewer shakes your hand, they have a 20 second window to assess your look. A messy appearance, strong perfume/cologne, or improper attire are just three possible things that could distract your interviewer from your responses, which in turn could hurt your chances of landing the job. Speaking negatively about past employers. Many interviewers may ask, “Why you are unhappy at your current employer or why you did you leave your last job?” in order to measure your working relationships and your ability to critique those relationships. If you had a positive experience at ABC Company and you are simply looking for a new opportunity, this should be simple to convey to your interviewer. However, if your last employer was less than pleasant, a rule of thumb is to never talk negatively about them. Nothing can come off as more unprofessional to an interviewer than a candidate speaking ill of the last place they worked. If you can do it now, what will prevent you from doing the same thing in the future? Instead of going down this route, try your best to turn your negative experience into a positive one. For example, focus not on the manager or company, but on the technical/professional skills you were able to master. You should stress that you utilized all resources from your current employer to learn everything you could and are now looking for the opportunity to grow with another company. Appearing arrogant, not confident. We all know it’s important to showcase your personality and professional traits strongly throughout the interview process; but what happens when your strongest personality traits cloud your professional accomplishments? You can only say “I” so many times in an interview before you start to depict yourself as an anti-team player. Confidence is usually an asset companies look for in their employees, but arrogance is detrimental to any team environment, especially in the workplace. Therefore, our suggestion is to try to find the balance between highlighting your individual strengths confidently and giving examples of collaborating with others. For example, describe a project where you learned how to use a new system or program specifically with intent to improve team productivity. This will show your willingness to learn new skills in order to contribute to the “big picture” to help the team’s efforts. Stretching the truth or lying. Whether you are applying for a job that you possess all of the qualifications for, or are hoping to transition into a new role or industry, the application process can be nerve-wracking. However, don’t let your nerves get the best of you, and most importantly, never lie about your qualifications or experience. To avoid this, do your research on the responsibilities of the job, then explain how your skills (i.e., project management, time management, interpersonal communication, etc.) are transferable to the new role and stress your willingness to learn the skills you don’t have. Regardless of how small or large your lie is, the employer will always find out the truth in the end. Getting caught in a lie can not only cost you the job, but your professional reputation and credibility.
28 April 2014
The job search process can be equal parts anxiety and excitement for professionals looking to land their next opportunity. To find success at the end of this process, it’s important to be aware of mistakes that could unknowingly hinder your chances of receiving an offer. As part of The Execu|Search Group’s continual efforts to educate our candidates on best practices for enhancing their professional marketability, we recently published an infographic detailing the top 10 job search mistakes that we see job seekers unintentionally make. From networking to resume writing to interview technique, the infographic advises job seekers on steps they can take to avoid mistakes and confidently accomplish their goals. Please view the infographic, here.
24 April 2014
Though family offices date back to the 19th century, they haven’t garnered that much publicity until recently. Why? An increasing number of hedge fund managers have decided to give their outside capital back to the institutional investors and convert their public hedge fund to a family office, where they can manage their own capital. This in turn, has led to a rise in the number of opportunities available for hedge fund professionals to diversify their experience. There are a number of reasons why these managers have decided to make this transition, with one of the main benefits being that they don’t have to register with the SEC as an investment adviser. As a result, family offices don’t have to answer to the same level of governmental oversight. In addition, according to a recent New York Times article, opening a family office gives the family these three important things: control, security, and quality. Control comes from knowing the people who work at the office work on the family’s behalf; security means that only the family members know what they have; and quality suggests they have employees who are invested in best industry practices. However, this trend toward family offices doesn’t only benefit the family running the office, but other professionals who work at hedge funds as well. “The rise of the family office has led to an uptick in demand for portfolio managers and analysts, as well as other hedge fund professionals,” explains Sara Katz, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “Though family offices specifically manage the family’s personal fortune, they need to be treated like a well-run hedge fund. As a result, the family office needs to hire high quality investment professionals who they can trust to oversee and manage the family’s capital.” Those who make the transition from a hedge fund to a family office may enjoy a variety of benefits including: The flexibility that comes with working for one person (or one family) More leeway on mandates and investment strategies “Sticky money” – Since capital is invested with a long-term horizon, there is less risk of capital being withdrawn from the family office if the investments perform poorly one month or quarter “If you have experience working at a hedge fund and are ready to make a change to something smaller, you’re in an excellent position to make a move to a family office,” notes Sara. “As we move further into 2014, we expect more of these opportunities to become available, so now is the time to start considering a change.”
23 April 2014
When preparing a resume for your job search, there are numerous tips you can use to ensure you create a compelling and effective CV. Technical tips such as keeping your resume brief and listing your most relevant work experience first are all extremely valuable, but sometimes, there are more abstract questions to be asked. Here are four questions you should be asking of your resume before sending it off: Does it address every facet of the job posting? In many scenarios, you should be tailoring your resume to different job postings you apply to so that it clearly shows you are capable of its responsibilities and can fulfill its requirements. Take into account each point of the job description in each section and be sure to somehow address it throughout your CV. For example, if a candidate must be proficient in Excel V-LOOKUPS, does your resume list that under skills or a relevant entry in your employment history? Are your goals clear and accurately communicated? This can be tricky, especially since objectives are becoming obsolete on most resume styles. But it’s important to keep your goal in mind while writing your resume and to make sure that it presents your goal clearly and caters to it. One way you can ensure your goals are properly communicated is to adjust the format of your resume accordingly. For example, if you feel that your greatest pitch to the employer is that you possess both the required and desired skill sets of their position, consider placing the skills closer to the top of the resume so they catch the eye first. Are there any gaps? This is not only related to the chronology of your employment history—any long gap in employment will raise questions in a hiring manager’s mind—but in the continuity of your resume as a whole. In keeping with the Excel example, let’s say you list proficiency with V-LOOKUPS under your skills. However, if there are no positions in your employment history in which you could have learned such a specific skill, the credibility of your claim may seem questionable. So make sure to keep your resume conclusive, even if it means listing a specific class under your education section to clear up where you’ve garnered certain skills or proficiencies. Is there a balance of duties and accomplishments? Many career experts recommend that resumes be accomplishment-driven rather than duty-driven. That is to say, avoid simply listing your past responsibilities in bullet points and instead, replace them with accomplishments from each role. However, as with any job search tip, there are employers and hiring managers who disagree. To cater to both (and, again, to offer a more well-rounded view of you and your career), try for a balance. If you list four bullet points under each position, list two of your major day-to-day duties and two telling accomplishments you achieved while there. These can be anything from being recognized by your company with a title like “Employee of the Month” to a large project you successfully managed with some statistics to back it up. If you don’t answer “yes” to each of these questions, it may be time to circle back and rework your resume. The job market is changing, but the resume is still paramount to making a good first impression. Be sure to keep it in top shape throughout your career and you should have no problem landing interviews for jobs relevant to your experience.
22 April 2014
Over the past few years, many banks have been increasingly choosing to outsource their operations professionals rather than hire them in-house, creating fewer needs for those with banking operations experience. While there are still opportunities available in the industry, those with skills and experience in the field of operations are becoming more valuable in a different type of firm: hedge funds. In fact, we at The Execu|Search Group have seen this trend reflected year over year since 2011. Our Financial Services division has observed a steady increase in open hedge fund operations positions over bank positions, with approximately 37% more hedge fund jobs in 2011, 71% more in 2012, and 84% more in 2013. Of course, there are benefits to working within the banking industry, but if you’re currently looking for work or a career change, you can only benefit from broadening your horizons. Making the switch from banks to hedge funds will allow you to broaden your skill set and become more marketable as a candidate, as well as give you a more stable career path to pursue should banks continue their current trend. “While it is more affordable for banks to outsource, hedge funds typically don’t do so,” says Eric Sloan, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “This is because hedge fund operations positions usually require wider and more specialized product knowledge and more advanced technical skills. As a result, such highly-skilled and specialized talent can be difficult to outsource and is often more successfully hired and trained in-house.” Therefore, those seeking to become more marketable to hedge funds should ensure they expand and diversify their product knowledge. Many bank operations professionals develop specialized skills in one niche—such as fixed income or equities—whereas the nature of hedge funds require that professionals have broader knowledge across a number of products and areas. In addition, it can be helpful to acquire or brush up on the following skills and proficiencies: Advanced Excel skills, especially proficiency with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), the VLOOKUP function, Pivot Tables, and Macros Microsoft Access Advent Geneva Proficiency with Advent Geneva is especially important, as it’s an accounting/operations software most hedge funds use regularly that banking firms do not. Either through taking a class, webinar, or online tutorial, be sure to learn at least the rudimentary basics of the program in order to show hiring managers you’re on the right track and can easily be trained further. Finally, and possibly most importantly, be sure to find a way to showcase your streamlining abilities. When preparing for an interview, consider mentally preparing a few examples or, if applicable, even putting together a portfolio to show past projects in which you’ve improved the efficiency of a process. Whichever route you choose, this should be a key talking point in any interview.
21 April 2014
Lisa Carver, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Temporary Staffing division, was recently featured in an article from Business News Daily, which discusses ways to optimize your networking and professional relationship building by investing in your “social capital.”
20 April 2014
After a few months of prospecting jobs, submitting applications and interviewing, you finally get a job offer. Congratulations! However, before you celebrate, now comes the hard part, the compensation negotiation. If you’re serious about accepting the offer, but feel you deserve a better package, the negotiation process can be stressful and nerve-wracking. Some common concerns amongst job seekers include: coming across as too aggressive, greedy, or unsure of yourself. To mitigate these anxieties and to go into the negotiation process with confidence, keep the following tips in mind from Katie Niekrash, Senior Managing Director at The Execu|Search Group: Timing is of the essence One of the most important things to know about the negotiation process is that your timing is critical—negotiate too early in the interview process and you may send the wrong message to your potential employer, but negotiate too late and you risk selling yourself short. So, how do you know when to start? A general rule of thumb is to wait until an offer is physically or verbally extended to you, which is usually towards the end of the interview process. Remember, that during the early stages of the process, the employer is still evaluating whether or not you’re a fit and is not thinking about what your offer should be. Since you never want to be the 1st person to bring it up, towards the end of the process, when an offer is made is when you will be better positioned to address any matters about the offer thoroughly. Be honest You never want to be dishonest about your current or most recent salary in the hopes of receiving a better offer. Employers have the ability to verify this, and if they discover that you are lying, it can cost you the job. As a result, don’t try to inflate your current salary as leverage in the negotiation. Give a range, not an exact number When an employer asks about your salary expectations, you should avoid giving an exact number and should try to keep the answer fairly broad and open. For example, if you’re looking for an increase in salary, asking for a specific number that is too high (when you would have been okay with less) might rule you out if they have candidates who would accept less. On the other hand, if your number is too low, you can pigeon-hole yourself into taking any lower offer, without even knowing if the employer wanted to offer more. Therefore, if you want to avoid these outcomes, give a range that is competitive within today’s market. Remember, money isn’t everything When most candidates think about negotiating a job offer, some only think about the salary that is presented to them. However, you should also think about the whole package, rather than just the number. For instance, if you are offered a lower salary than expected, but your medical benefits or stock options are far above industry average, in the end, this could be a great offer. Other parts of the offer to consider include: bonuses, health/medical benefits, stock options, growth potential, tuition reimbursement, vacation, etc. Only negotiate if you want the job and can justify the demand To ensure you are respectful of everyone’s time, only negotiate if you are serious about taking the position. Don’t negotiate for the sake of negotiation, and also be able to fully explain why you deserve more. In the same respect, make it clear throughout the process that they can get you. Though it’s okay to bring up another competitive offer (if it’s real), if you make it seem like you’re considering many different offers, this could make the employer less willing to negotiate because in the end they want to be convinced that you will actually take the job. Maintain your likability Finally, no one likes to negotiate with an arrogant person or someone who is unwilling to budge on their demands. To avoid being this type of a candidate, you must try to be likeable throughout the entire negotiation process. To do this, we suggest trying to find a balance between being firm in your demands, yet respectful to the company’s needs. As a result, when you begin to negotiate, your initial reaction should be to thank your interviewer for a chance to join their company. Then, you should politely begin to explain why you believe your value is worth more. Finally, be open to hearing their feedback—not only one solution exists when you negotiate an offer.