26 June 2014
When scheduling interviews, hiring managers are generally accommodating. They understand that all candidates have different schedules and usually give them a choice as to when they can come in for an interview. So the next time you’re given that choice, should you just squeeze it in wherever it fits into your schedule? If you really want the position, you might want to give it more thought than that. Schedule it early! Of course, if you’re truly the right candidate for the role, you’ll likely be picked anyway—but every little bit of planning helps when preparing for the interview, starting with the time you schedule it for. And studies are repeatedly suggesting that early morning interviews give candidates the best opportunity to make a lasting impression. Think about it. When are you most receptive and intuitive: at the beginning of the day or an hour to quitting time? The same goes for hiring managers; on interviewing days, they usually see numerous candidates and can get tired after several hours of back-to-back interviews. In addition, they may have the misfortune of meeting with a candidate with a poor attitude earlier in the day, and may unintentionally bring the negativity into their next meetings. However, if you take an earlier slot, you may be the standard that other candidates are held to. You’ll be able to meet with a refreshed interviewer who has yet to meet with many other candidates. Likewise, you’ll be alert and ready to go, and most likely less nervous than you’d be if you had to spend your day anticipating an interview and overthinking it. If you have to schedule a later meeting time, consider the slot right after lunch time. Directly before lunch, the interviewer might be thinking about break or may feel burnt out. But schedule something directly after lunch and you’ll both feel reenergized and ready to get to work. Stick to mid-week. When you’re ready to schedule your interview, you should also keep the day of the week in mind. Early morning interviews are best, but what’s likely to happen if you schedule one on a Monday? Monday mornings are usually fraught with interruptions and distractions as everyone catches up from the weekend. Likewise, Fridays are usually not the best option, because many have their eyes on preparing for the weekend and are not wholly present. If you schedule your interview for an early morning on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you’re most likely to have the interviewer’s attention and avoid interruptions and factors that are otherwise out of your control. The professional you are meeting with will be in the more determined mindset of the early workweek and ready to hear you out—and may even extend your meeting if there’s time and they’re wowed enough!
25 June 2014
On June 24th, Dwight Scott, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Retained Search division, was featured as a guest on the NPR radio show Marketplace discussing the key role that LinkedIn plays in both the job search and the hiring process, for employers and job seekers alike. Dwight explains that 65 percent of his placements this year have been found through LinkedIn, preferring to actively search for candidates through LinkedIn over reviewing resumes of applicants. “LinkedIn Recruiter offers powerful, customized search options such as degrees, fields of study, industry, groups, etc. that allow me to narrow in on the specific candidate I’m looking for.” For job seekers looking to get in front of hiring managers and recruiters, this makes LinkedIn an even more powerful job search tool. The key to being found? It’s as easy as a quick profile update. You can listen to the segment, here.
23 June 2014
A recent New York Times article explored the rising popularity of non-compete clauses in an array of jobs that historically have not required them. However, in the financial services industry, a non-compete or “garden leave” period is not a foreign concept for most professionals. In fact, it is because they are so common, that finance professionals looking for a new opportunity are advised to be fully educated on what is in their most current employment contract. “A candidate should be ready to discuss the stipulations of their non-compete towards the end of the interview process, around the same time that the employer starts asking about compensation and visas,” explains Adam Harwood, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “This is a sign that the employer is getting serious about making an offer and is gathering all the details they need to bring the candidate on board. As a result, it’s also the time where you should be thinking about whether or not you would accept the opportunity.” To ensure you can confidently describe the requirements of your garden leave period and aren’t at risk of being in breach of your contract, Adam advises his candidates to carefully review their contract and be very open and honest with the potential new employer about the terms. Doing this not only shows that you have done your due diligence, but are also interested in the role. “If you sound confident about certain factors such as compensation and the details of your non-compete, the more prepared you will seem,” notes Adam. “Showing employers that you took the time and initiative to do your research can go a long way in terms of an offer.” In fact, some employers may use your knowledge (or lack thereof) of your garden leave period to evaluate how detail-oriented you are. “This is a high-stakes business where every detail matters,” explains Adam. “If the employer is looking for a detail-oriented candidate who holds themselves accountable for their work, and you can’t provide them with basic information, or worse, you give them the wrong information, it will raise a major red flag. Offers have not been extended, or sometimes even rescinded, for a lot less.” As a job seeker, you know it’s important to perfect your resume and prepare for the interview, so why not cross all your t’s and dot your i’s by reviewing your most current non-compete? It can never hurt to be overly prepared – especially when it can make all the difference between a job offer and rejection letter!
20 June 2014
Writing a thank you note to the hiring manager within 24 hours after interviewing is more than a standard practice – it’s a move that demonstrates your commitment to the hiring process, conveys your interest in the position, and ensures you stay fresh on the interviewer’s mind after the initial meeting. If you are determined to be chosen for the job, a good thank you note can make all the difference. To help you effectively communicate your gratitude for being considered, and reiterate how well-suited you are for the role, we’ve answered four of the most frequently asked questions about thank you notes, here: 1. Do hiring managers even read thank you notes? Some don’t, but there are many that do. In fact, most hiring managers expect a follow-up note regardless of whether they intend on reading it or not because they consider them to be a sign of respect. Additionally, the act of sending a thank you note is indicative of the professionalism and consideration you possess, and taking the time and effort to do so communicates that you are a candidate with serious interest in the position. In general, send one – it can’t hurt. 2. What should I include in my thank you note? A well-written thank you note touches upon a variety of topics that work together to wrap up your interviewing experience in a concise message that: Expresses your appreciation for the opportunity to interview with the hiring manager; Reiterates your interest in the position and in the organization; Concisely recaps the qualities and value you can bring to the role; Requests information about the next steps in the process. Remember, a thank you note also serves as a testament to your writing skills and attention to detail, so make sure your note is articulate and free of errors. 3. Is it better to send me letter via email, or snail mail? Though snail mail may appeal to the traditional hiring manager, receiving thank you notes by email is preferred by most hiring managers. Additionally, email expedites the delivery process and offers the candidate the opportunity to immediately emphasize their candidacy for the position while still remaining fresh in the interviewer’s mind. Since many organizations are making their hiring decisions quickly in this day and age, if you choose to send a note through the mail rather than in an email, you run the risk of missing out on the opportunity if they receive the letter after they make their final decision. 4. I interviewed with more than one person – do I need to write each one a thank you note? It’s considered good etiquette to send each person who assists you in your job search a personal thank-you letter, including networking contacts and recruiters. If you met with or were interviewed by several people, reference a specific highlight from each conversation in order to personalize the note.
19 June 2014
As the financial landscape for companies in the financial services sector gradually improves, hedge funds are capitalizing on this by introducing new financial products to diversify their investor base. For example, a 2013 Morningstar study found that mutual funds are becoming the dominant vehicle used by both financial advisors and institutions to access alternative strategies. In fact, alternative mutual funds, often referred to as “liquid alternatives,” can employ many of the same strategies and techniques as hedge funds. However, industry shifts along with constant regulatory changes present hedge funds with the challenge of finding and hiring the right talent they need to help manage their alternative mutual fund investor base. “Hedge funds are now looking to hire professionals that understand the ins and outs of mutual fund regulations and can help them avoid any potential compliance pitfalls as they move into the registered fund space,” says Stephanie Tancredi, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “In order to successfully broaden their product base to include liquid alternatives, hedge funds are now in need of the distinct skill set professionals in the mutual funds capacity possess.” Therefore, those with mutual fund experience and interest in transitioning into hedge funds, there’s no better time than now. Our financial services recruiting specialists recommend highlighting any of the following three skill sets throughout your job search and interview process. Investment Guideline Monitoring – If a hedge fund moves into the liquid alternatives space, it is subject to a variety of new rules and regulations, and must monitor its investment portfolios for additional restrictive covenants pursuant to the Investment Company Act of 1940. Mutual funds are required to provide daily liquidity to investors and subscribe to a set of trading rules that govern how they invest their capital. In order to do so effectively, these funds need to ramp up and add additional compliance resources, both in terms of technology and human capital. “Compliance professionals that work at traditional long-only asset managers, who have experience with investment guideline monitoring, possess a skill set that is now in demand at many elite hedge funds,” says Stephanie. Regulatory Filings – In addition, regulatory filing is another area in which legal and compliance professionals from the mutual funds market can provide crucial support to liquid alternative investments. “Registered ’40 Act funds have additional filing requirements that many hedge fund attorneys are not familiar with. It is a very specialized skill set that has become increasingly valuable,” says Stephanie. So, if you have experience in either a compliance and/or regulatory capacity, your background will be in demand for liquid alternatives at hedge funds. Marketing Material Review – Constantly changing rules and regulations will impact the way hedge funds can market to their investor base. According to Stephanie, “Since the vast majority of hedge funds haven’t historically marketed to the general public, they’ve never needed professionals to create and review promotional materials to share with an investor audience.” As a result, hedge funds attempting to expand their investor base will need to invest in the right finance professionals that can effectively market to the public through compliant methods. These types of roles look at marketing documents to ensure all information shared isn’t misrepresented or improperly disclosed in any way.
19 June 2014
Edward Fleischman, Chairman and CEO of The Execu|Search Group, was featured in a recent Business Insider article discussing the importance that employers place on cultural fit when interviewing candidates. In an effort to find new hires that are great cultural fits, employers are putting more emphasis on soft skills, or intangible qualities, “that are not always apparent on a piece of paper,” Edward says. “Though the specific personality traits that employers are looking for are subjective to the role and the organization, some qualities that are a good indication of success in a role include organizational and communication skills, great team player, strong leadership skills, an ability to think on your feet, drive, and initiative.” In her article, 11 Interview Questions Hiring Managers Ask To Test Your Personality, author Jacquelyn Smith, highlights some of the most common questions that employers are asking to figure out if candidates possess the soft skills and personality fit that they are looking for. You can read the article, here.
18 June 2014
There are few things more exciting and nerve-wracking than the first few days on a new job. You’re determined to make a good impression, you’re thrilled at the prospect of future opportunities, and you’re relieved at having finished the long process of searching and interviewing. But what many may forget is that the first few days at a new job are just as important—if not more so—than the interview. In the first few days or weeks on a new job, your employer will be looking for signs that he or she made the right decision. It’s your job to show them that you were the correct choice. However, amidst the excitement, many new employees can sabotage themselves with poor first impressions, either by trying too hard or being too ambitious when they should be taking the time to absorb and learn, or by being too shy and unapproachable. Avoid these common mistakes by following these simple guidelines for creating a lasting positive first impression in the workplace: Read up. You should already have begun this during the interview process, but make sure you know whatever you need to know about your new company in order to do your job well on your first day. Showing that you’ve taken your time to further research their initiatives before starting will go a long way for your reputation as an invested employee. It will also give you perspective for your work, allowing you to understand the bigger picture and develop a firmer grasp on your responsibilities and their purposes. Play by the rules. This may seem obvious, but conduct yourself as you would if you were still interviewing. Arrive early, be personable but professional, and adhere to the dress code (and remember, it’s always safer to come to work slightly overdressed if you aren’t sure what’s appropriate). Not only do you want to show your employer that they made the right choice in hiring you, you want to make a great impression on your fellow coworkers. Show them that you take your new job seriously and that you’re excited to be there. Listen first, talk later. Many employers love an employee who can bring new ideas to the company. Those employees are usually dedicated to making a difference and are invested in the long haul, and that’s something every employer values. However, unless they were hired to do so, no new employee should be asserting a number of major changes on his or her first day. The one who does may be seen as arrogant, presumptuous, and threatening. Instead, when you begin your new job, be sure to listen to and absorb all the information being thrown your way. Learn about what’s expected of you and what the company’s culture is like. Then, when you’ve developed a relationship with your employer and coworkers, you can slowly begin to introduce new ideas one-by-one. Absorbing all you can on the first few days—maybe even taking notes to make sure you’re not missing anything—is crucial to building a solid reputation as a hard-working employee. Most employers would much prefer someone who listens and absorbs the information to one who has to ask the same questions over and over. Should you be unclear about anything, by all means, make sure to ask. But write it down for future reference and try to avoid asking the same question multiple times. Establish your duties and set goals. While you’re still new and asking questions, make sure you fully understand what’s expected of you. Once you’re clear, stay organized and establish ambitious but manageable goals. You want to show your employer that you can manage a productive balance of quality and quantity. To make sure you and your supervisor are on the same page, it may be beneficial to set up a short meeting with them after your first two or three weeks to go over your work. You’ll want to determine whether or not you’re meeting their needs. Ask what you can do to help further and if there are more responsibilities you can take on—if, of course, you can handle more. Taking the step to set up this meeting will not only show your employer that you take your work seriously, but will also show initiative. Go beyond the call of duty. Should you find your work manageable enough, take on extra tasks when you can. Help a peer with his or her current project or contact your supervisor to ask if there’s anything you can help with. Let those around you know that you’re there to help. Should you finish your duties first, helping others during your downtime can not only improve inter-office relations but can show that you’re more than capable of your job. Contributing to the company’s well-being as a whole by stepping outside your realm of responsibilities can also suggest that you’re adaptive and well-suited for a higher position in the future.
17 June 2014
True or False: Now that busy season is over and the weather is heating up, it’s time to kick back and relax. Well, if you are contemplating making some sort of career change this fall, and believe this statement is true, you may want to reevaluate your job search strategy. Why? According to Gary Grossman, President of The Execu|Search Group’s Recruitment division, summer is one of the best times to look for a new accounting job. “There’s a common misconception amongst accounting professionals that summer is not a good time to look for a job, however, this simply isn’t true,” explains Gary. “Accounting opportunities move quickly irrespective of where we are in the calendar, so candidates who start taking their search seriously during the summer months can actually create a powerful competitive advantage over the accountants who take a more casual attitude. In fact, it is because the busy season is over that the summer is often the best season for accounting firms to focus on their onboarding process. As Gary notes, “Since accounting firms have more time to devote to building and training their staff, our accounting & finance recruiting specialists typically experience an uptick in job orders from clients during the summer months.” Hiring new staff throughout the summer is also ideal for accounting firms because this is typically the time when firms are gearing up for the 4th quarter; meaning new hires will have the opportunity to work on the monthly close, rather than a more complicated and all-encompassing year-end close. For accountants, this is also a benefit of starting a new job in the summer, as opposed to other months when firms may be at their busiest. Before getting thrown into something more comprehensive during tax season, you’ll have the opportunity to ease into your responsibilities, get accustomed to the company culture, and focus on learning any new technologies or techniques unique to the firm. Another factor to take into consideration is that as summer winds down, accountants who believe the myth that hiring is not a priority for firms during the summer will begin to pick up their searches again, en masse. At that point, it will be much more difficult to distinguish yourself from other professionals with similar backgrounds and experiences. On the other hand, if you deviate from this trend and start interviewing while others haven’t even begun to think about their search, you will have an easier time landing interviews, standing out against the competition, and ultimately receiving that coveted job. If you’re in the market for a new job, don’t get lured into a false sense of security that major hiring decisions won’t be made until September. While other job seekers might be taking it easy over the summer, ramp up your search and leave your competition at the beach!
14 June 2014
Let us let you in on a little secret! Contrary to popular belief, summer is actually an excellent time to look for a job. As a result, while your competition is on vacation, take the opportunity to amp up your job search by thoroughly reviewing your job seeking strategy for strengths and weaknesses. Identifying the components of your routine that are most in need of improvement can help you build a strong and well-designed professional brand that gives you a competitive edge over your fellow job seekers, ensuring you impress the key decision makers that matter most. Make this new season of your job search your most productive by… Creating a well-designed portfolio. Creating a well-designed portfolio and bringing it along on an interview is a great way to showcase your skills and share your work with a hiring manager. Professional portfolios especially benefit jobseekers that struggle with keeping their resumes succinct, as well as those who feel their resumes don’t truly communicate their capabilities. If you have additional endorsements of your skills and character, such as great letters of reference, awards or honors, certifications, or work samples, a portfolio is the perfect vessel through which to demonstrate them. Rehearsing for job interviews. When it comes to interviewing, there are two big ‘no’s that every candidate fears and works hard to avoid – not being able to find the words to answer a particularly challenging question, or, memorizing pre-prepared responses and coming off as rehearsed. In order to deliver articulate answers in an interview, undergoing the right type of preparation can allow you to gain natural confidence that will serve you well when asked tricky questions. Conducting a mock interview with either yourself or a friend, can help you develop talking points through verbalizing the details of your own professional and personal backstory. Knowing that material inside and out will contribute to your readiness when asked to talk candidly about your attributes as a qualified candidate. Networking your way into your next job. If you feel like submitting applications to online job postings isn’t cutting it anymore, stepping up your networking game can be very beneficial for your job hunt. If you feel hesitant about your networking skills, remember that you don’t have to fish for a job lead, or force an interaction that just isn’t in the cards. Though you may commonly see other jobseekers hustling to get to everyone at a networking event, it’s important to remember to slow down and focus on building genuine connections. After laying the foundation in a first meeting, all you have to do is inquire about opportunities, and to reciprocate by contacting connections when you hear word of opportunities they may be fit for too. Networking is all about give and take, and the more you reinforce your network, the more you’ll get in return. Updating your LinkedIn profile. The modern job search regime now includes being searchable via social media. In this day and age, it’s assumed that you will have some form of identity online as a jobseeker, and the good news is that the networking platform LinkedIn allows you to share content and interact with fellow professionals who can help you progress your career. Not only can you build a profile that acts as a resume and share samples of your work, but the site also acts as the perfect setting for you to consistently maintain your network. To ensure you have built a complete public and professional identity that is representative of what you have to offer, make sure you update your skillset, write a headline that describes who you are as a professional, and outline a summary of your accomplishments. Of course, having an up-to-date and fleshed out LinkedIn profile will make you look that much more marketable when you network with connections, seek new ones, and participate in group discussions. By re-designing and improving the dimensions of your job search, you can evolve your professional brand and deliver quality results while interviewing, submitting applications, and participating in activities conducive to securing a job.