30 June 2015
This is part of a series of testimonials from candidates who have successfully been placed by The Execu|Search Group. This testimonial comes from Christine Wren; you can find our past testimonials here. Christine Wren came to The Execu|Search Group with an interest in continuing her career as an administrative professional in finance. She worked exclusively through our firm to find her next opportunity, and since she first started working with us in 2013, she has been placed at two major financial services firms. Most recently, Christine has worked with Executive Recruiter Lindsey Thompson out of our New York City office. Christine had a positive experience and was happy to speak with us about what it was like working with The Execu|Search Group. She had the following to say: On her background… I received my B.S. in Sports Management with a Minor in Marketing from St. John Fisher College in 2004, where I was a Captain of the Women’s Volleyball team. My intention was to follow a path into sports marketing, but I needed a bigger challenge. So I decided to take the ultimate challenge by moving to New York City and entering a completely different field: the finance industry. I have had the opportunity to work in many unique and often challenging environments, e.g. family-owned businesses and big corporations, and as they say, the rest is history. On what she was looking for… I was looking for a work environment that included genuine and professional staff. More specifically, I was looking for a company that would allow me to showcase my skillset and build upon my knowledge. I wanted to find a place that I could call home and enjoyed going to work every day. On how TESG worked to meet her needs… Lindsey was extremely professional and personable, and I enjoyed working with her very much. She listened to what I was looking for in a new company and presented new opportunities she thought would interest me and fit my skillset. She worked with me to ensure that the position I accepted was the right choice for me, and helped me negotiate a great salary and benefits package. I would work with her again, without a doubt. On preparing for the interview… Before my interview, Lindsey prepped me with potential questions I would be asked by the interviewer. We discussed interview presentation and she helped make sure I was well prepared. “Christine is exceptionally polished, sharp, and well-spoken,” says Lindsey. “She understands the sense of urgency we deal with when filling positions, and whenever I contacted her to meet with an employer, she had a very quick turnaround time. Furthermore, she was receptive to any suggestions I had during our prep phone call. I felt like we had a great partnership throughout our search together.”
30 June 2015
On June 29th, as part of our dd:TALENT partnership with Digital DUMBO, The Execu|Search Group was a co-host of their most recent workshop, Breaking & Entering: Landing a Top Design Job. At the event, attendees had the opportunity to hear from hiring professionals from across the digital sector about the best ways to get their foot in the door as a designer at leading agencies and start-ups. After the presentation, attendees were able to meet one-on-one with members of the panel and get personalized feedback on their portfolios, resumes, and job search tactics, while networking with their peers. “In today’s market, there are many opportunities available to design talent,” says Heather Cianchetti, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Creative & Digital division, who helped organize and also presented at the event. “However, in order to truly take advantage of this hiring trend, it’s important to understand how to navigate all levels of the hiring process and get your portfolio in front of the right people. Since this is a major challenge that many designers face, we felt it was important to build a workshop around this topic.” As one of the fastest growing digital organizations in the world, Digital DUMBO produces live events, conferences, content, and custom experiences that connect companies and brands with digital tastemakers, talent, and executives. Digital DUMBO was founded in 2009 as a local, monthly gathering and today, is a global platform and initiative with over 16,000 members. The Execu|Search Group has partnered with Digital DUMBO to launch their new initiative dd: TALENT – a program that aims to connect talent from both in and outside of the Digital DUMBO community with some of the best companies in the area.
25 June 2015
A successful interview shouldn’t end with just a handshake: rather, a thank you note that ensures you make one final, positive impression on your hiring manager. “Sending a thank you note should be considered an essential part of the interview process,” says Samantha Wolf, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Temporary division. “Many job seekers don’t realize that not sending one implies a lack of follow-through and commitment, which are two major red flags that can impact an employer’s decision to hire you.” Since following up after the interview can mean the difference between receiving a job offer and a rejection, here are 3 simple steps to help you write a stellar thank you note: Include these main points Think of a thank you note as your second opportunity to re-emphasize your interest in the position, reconnect with your interviewer(s), and re-sell your strengths. To help convey this, touch upon these basic points when writing your thank you note: Your appreciation for the interviewer’s time A reference to something that you and the interviewer talked about How you see yourself fitting into the company Your availability for follow-up questions/meetings Customize it Avoid using generic online templates when writing a thank you note and take the time to create something that speaks to the job/company as well as the individual(s) you interviewed with. “Remember, the hiring manager took time out of their day to meet with you,” notes Samantha. “The least you can do is make an effort to customize your note.” In addition, if you’re interviewing with multiple people, it’s highly important to personalize your notes accordingly. Chances are, your interviewers will compare notes when deciding whether or not to move forward in the process with you. As a result, a copy and pasted thank you note may come across as insincere, while—personalized thank you note that is tailored to your conversation will help set you apart from others who have interviewed.” Send it in a timely manner Since the hiring process moves quickly, a delayed thank you can mean a missed opportunity. As a result, Samantha recommends drafting your thank you within 24 hours of the interview and sending it via e-mail. “The quicker your note is sent, the more likely it is for the interviewer to remember key moments from the interview,” she says. “For any given position, an employer can be meeting with as many as 10 candidates, so staying top of mind can be key to landing the job.” Once you send the email, following up with a handwritten note is an extra special touch that can help you stand out. “Since everything in today’s world is so digital, a note sent through the mail can showcase your sincerity and thoughtfulness,” notes Samantha.
24 June 2015
As we move further into 2015, it looks like the job market is continuing to grow at a healthy pace! According to our May Employment Index, last month we experienced a 25% year over year uptick in all job orders from clients across our practice areas. This finding that the market is improving is also reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April and May Jobs Reports. For example, in April, the BLS reported that the U.S. labor market added 5.4 million jobs – the highest reading in the 15-year history of these reports! Furthermore, while the BLS noted in their May report that the unemployment rate rose from slightly from 5.4% to 5.5%, we should be paying closer attention to the rise of a different statistic – the labor participation rate, which is comprised of the percentage of the population that either has a job, or is actively seeking one. “The rise in the labor participation rate indicates that people are becoming more confident in the economy, and as a result, are re-entering the job market,” says Edward Fleischman, CEO of The Execu|Search Group. “It’s a good time to be a job seeker. Opportunities are on the rise across industries, so take advantage of it.”
22 June 2015
On most college campuses, there is a career services facility that can be used as a resource by students to help find jobs and internships. But what do you do if you are a job seeker who has already graduated and doesn’t live a short walk away from this on-campus resource? Luckily, after you’ve graduated you can still take advantage of your college resources to help further your career. Here are 3 ways to get started: Contact career services You don’t have to be a current student to take full advantage of your career services center. Different institutions have varying guidelines as to what level of service they can provide to their alumni, so contacting them by phone may be the quickest way to see how they can help you. Setting up a time to speak with a consultant about your specific need for their services can help you get a good start. Just be sure to ask direct questions such as: Do you know of any alumni in my field of interest? Can you help me get in contact with them? How does my resume look from an employer stand point? Can you critique my performance in a mock interview? Make connections through LinkedIn LinkedIn can also prove to be an excellent resource to turn to when looking to connect with alumni. For example, the site makes it easy to search for and connect with alums that have been (or are currently employed) in your industry or profession. To get the most out of this search feature, make sure you’re sending every alumnus you hope to connect with a personalized invitation that explains who you are and how you share a college affiliation. In addition to searching for fellow alums, take advantage of the LinkedIn groups feature. To do this, conduct a quick search for any type of alumni group that would be relevant to you. Whether it be a campus group or academic affiliation that you were a part of, LinkedIn groups not only allow you to publicize that you are looking for career opportunities, but can also give you access to fellow alumnus proactively looking to hire. Just remember, if someone does offer to help, it’s important to let them know that you will reciprocate if needed. Attending alumni events Focus on attending relevant alumni events near you in addition to on campus events such as homecoming or a class reunion. These events can be great ways to network for career opportunities because they are usually attended by alumni of varying professional experience. Bring your business cards and speak with everyone you can, even if they’re not in your desired professional field. Your web of alumni connections is there not only for the purpose of rekindling old memories but for helping you with your career as well. Making that mutual connection with someone that is a part of your former institution could be the first step to jumpstarting your job hunt or making a career change. Who wouldn’t want to help a fellow alum?
19 June 2015
Though many typically start their job search in the public accounting sector in the fall, with the annual spike in hiring from October-December in preparation of Quarter 1, or “busy season,” hiring has been strong year-round. While many are used to hiring slowing down in the summer—not just in public accounting, but across the board—this is no longer the case. The economy is improving, firms are growing, and many are in need of talent as a result. To avoid missing out on candidates when the needs are dire, many firms are hiring earlier and taking that time to integrate, train, and utilize talent leading up to busy season. As a result, there are opportunities across the board at all levels—from new grads to partners and auditors to tax accountants. This is especially true as more and more baby boomers retire, which many middle-market firms are now reacting to with an added focus on succession planning. However, many professionals are hesitant to launch a job search in the summer. The major August 15th and September 15th tax deadlines are approaching, bonuses are on the horizon, and many are looking forward to a vacation before the onset of busy season. But if you’re a professional looking for a new opportunity, consider taking this summer to get started on that job search: not only will you have a leg up on the competition that floods in with fall and winter, you’ll also be able to take your time finding the right fit. “While many tax professionals may be wary of entering the market before the next tax deadlines, those who do land a new position early have the opportunity to experience and settle into a new firm and see how they handle the end-of-summer ‘busy season’ before experiencing a full one next January,” says Irv Myones, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “This can make a huge difference in happiness and work ethic in the long run; often, we find that our new public accounting candidates love what they’re doing, but don’t love where they’re doing it.” According to Irv, early job seekers can also take the extra time to acquire their client base and form relationships before the Q1 rush. For those concerned with missing out on a bonus, it’s worth noting that employers are recognizing the need to attract and retain talent and, as a result, many are offering sign-on bonuses to attract top talent when they need them most. Many firms are also offering incentives like competitive salaries and improved work-life balance to retain employees beyond tax and busy seasons. In fact, a recent article in Accounting Today called recruiting and retaining talent “the number one priority concern of top CPA firms.” “These new incentives are changing the way firms attract and retain professionals for the long-term,” says Irv. “Employers are acknowledging that the demands of busy season can be taxing and so, to keep their employees happy and loyal, they’ve been implementing these changes.” If you’re unhappy with your current position or looking for a better opportunity, you can start enjoying these benefits much sooner while getting settled, rather than jumping in right before busy season kicks off.
18 June 2015
Though the perceptions of “job hopping”—moving from position to position in short periods of time—have changed in today’s market, there are still many employers who view it as a red flag. Career paths are more fluid these days and often involve a few moves, as opposed to the 25 year stints with the same company so common of previous generations, but hiring managers do still value loyalty. It’s a paradox many candidates face these days: how do you acquire the broad skills and experience you need to succeed in your field without seeming noncommittal? Clearly, there are pros and cons to the “job hopping” approach. If you have a history of dabbling in positions and not staying anywhere long-term, try the following tactics in your next interview to make your professional experiences work in your favor. Focus on your skills. By working in a number of jobs in a variety of companies, you’ve likely acquired a wide range of both technical and soft skills. Make sure to communicate this on your resume and in any interview you attend—by doing so, you could potentially alter the hiring manager’s negative perception of your work history and mold it into a positive. Tell stories. Just like these past stints have afforded you a diverse skill set, so too have they broadened your professional work experience. Therefore, in an interview, be sure to show how they’ve contributed to you as a whole and improved you as a professional. This can be achieved through telling stories of past challenges and how you handled them. Present measurable achievements. Likewise, be sure to offer concrete examples of how your work positively impacted the company or companies you’re talking about. Since one of the worries regarding job hopping is lack of loyalty to the company, this can help show that you were invested in your past employers enough to make a measurable difference. Emphasize emotional intelligence. It’s widely agreed that emotional intelligence is quickly becoming a desired trait amongst most employers. Since you’ve worked several jobs, you’ve likely been exposed to lots of different personalities and situations, and it requires an emotionally intelligent person to reflect and react professionally to them. Show off this trait in your next interview by exhibiting listening and reasoning skills in the question and answer portion, then to take it a step further, be sure to ask thoughtful questions at the end of the interview. This will show you’re not only invested in the potential opportunity, but that you know what makes a good fit and why that’s important. Be truthful but tactful. Should your work history be directly questioned, be truthful but tactful. This requires some reflection before the interview, of course, but that’s where that emotional intelligence comes in! Know why you’ve made the decision to move on from your past employers, and communicate that to your interviewer should he or she ask. Maybe you felt those positions weren’t the right fit, or you were exploring career options. Maybe you didn’t feel there was enough opportunity for development at one of the companies. All of those things are understandable and employers will usually appreciate the honesty, but if you’ve had bad experiences, always err on the side of positivity and don’t bad-mouth any previous employers. These tactics should help most who are looking to put a positive spin on a spotty resume and land a longer-term opportunity. However, if you’re not looking for something long-term or are still exploring options, it may be best to look into temporary employment. Taking on permanent roles and leaving after you’ve gained the experience or skillset you need, or immediately after deciding the fit isn’t right for you, can result in a lot of hardship for the company and a potential tarnish on your reputation. Temporary and temp-to-perm jobs are likely the best option for those looking for more flexible scheduling or an opportunity to explore careers and companies.
17 June 2015
Whether you are a recent grad starting your first job search after graduation, or are a junior level professional looking to start fresh with a new company, finding ways to get your foot in the door with a new employer can be difficult without having the right connections. Fortunately, you don’t have to traverse today’s highly competitive job market alone, and young professionals should be aware of the benefits of working with a recruiter, and how it can complement their job search efforts. Michael Vulcano, Account Manager of The Execu|Search Group’s Workforce Solutions division, regularly educates new grads and junior professionals in the Financial Services industry on the benefits of working with a recruiter to reach their career goals. “Many young professionals don’t realize that time is on their side, and their first job doesn’t have to be their dream job,” says Michael. “In fact, they have the opportunity to try different areas of specialization as they gain more experience, so I advise them to keep an open mind about their overall career path.” If you’re navigating the financial services job market, here are the top 3 reasons why you should consider working with a recruiter: 1. Recruiters have direct communication with a wide range of companies As a young professional, the old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” holds true in the financial services industry. However, the good news is that recruiters often have preexisting relationships with a variety of employers, from small and mid-sized businesses to Fortune 500 companies. They can leverage these relationships to help you stand out in a sea of new grads. “To land an entry-level/junior-level position, it’s important to get your resume in the hands of the right person,” advises Michael. “A recruiter who has professional connections with hiring managers can accurately endorse your strengths and career goals to portray you as the best fit for the position.” 2. Recruiters use their industry knowledge to YOUR advantage As a young professional relatively new to job searching in a competitive market, it’s hard to know the resume tricks or interview best practices you should (or shouldn’t) employ to be successful in your job search. For example, there are a number of job search blunders recent grads often commit that can hinder their chances of being hired for their first job. To increase your chances of landing a role you’re interested in, recruiters will use industry knowledge to tailor your resume and sell your skill set to employers to get you in the door for a first round interview. Once you land the interview, they’ll also be able to prep you on the types of questions to expect and the best points to emphasize in your responses. “Specialized recruiters can also utilize their industry expertise to provide you with important market insight, from recommending certain in-demand roles you’d be a good fit for to prepping you with negotiating tips before interviews,” notes Michael. So, while it can be discouraging to apply to numerous jobs and never receive a call back on your own, your recruiter will rely on your strengths and career goals to recommend the types of roles that would be most appropriate for your skill set. 3. Recruiters recommend assignments that get your foot in the door While graduating with a business-related degree (e.g., Finance, Economics, etc.) prepares you with the technical skills to thrive in the financial services industry, it can’t prepare you for how you will respond to working with different people and projects. Therefore, young professionals should be open to learning as much as you can during the early stages of your careers to ensure that when you finally decide on a long-term career path, it’s something you’re truly passionate about. One way to figure out the type of company or role that might be best for you is by pursuing temporary assignments. “If you’re unsure of what specialty area within the financial services industry you’re most interested in, temporary employment is a great way to play the field,” highlights Michael. “This gives you the opportunity to measure how well you work within different capacities, as well as get a feel for different company cultures.” For example, while your assignment might entail working on the operations side of a bank, the projects you are exposed to could help you realize that you’re more interested in working in a front office setting. In addition, they can also help both you and the company assess whether or not the two parties will truly be a good long term match, and if all goes well your temporary position can evolve into a full-time opportunity!
16 June 2015
With so many candidates to pre-screen, employers are finding video technology especially helpful when evaluating potential employees to bring in for an in-person interview. The advantage of a Skype interview over a phone interview is that the hiring manager and candidate are able to interact with each other before committing to a more time consuming meeting. As many advantages as there are to video interviewing, there can be difficulties as well. Not only must you sound professional, but your surroundings, attire, and preparedness are on display. While factors such as “screen lag” or connectivity issues are for the most part out of your control, here are some tips for you to stay as confident as possible during your next Skype interview. Lighting Have you ever taken a picture in poor lighting or in front of a stark white wall? Not very flattering is it? In order to look your best, try Skyping a few days in advance with a friend or family member in a variety of settings and backgrounds. Warm non-fluorescent lighting, a clean uncluttered background, and a good angle are all important when it comes to appearing professional. Since a goal of a Skype interview is for the hiring manager to not only hear you but to see you as well, it’s a good idea to ensure that an appropriate computer height is chosen for optimal eye contact. A “good” angle is one that puts you face to face with an interviewer as if you were sitting across from them in real life. Attire As with any interview, looking polished from head to toe is a must. Since Skype interviews are generally shot from the torso up, it may be tempting to pair a professional top with your favorite sweatpants. However, you want to be prepared for anything, and simply wearing a professional shirt and unprofessional bottoms (torn jeans, sweatpants, etc.) may give the interviewer the wrong impression. For example, perhaps the interviewer asks to see/review material you’ve left on the other side of the room and have to stand up and make your entire outfit visible. Better to be safe than sorry! Minimize distractions Much like the first tip regarding lighting, it’s essential to make sure your chosen Skype location is free of distractions, so start by ensuring your location has solid internet access or reliable Wi-Fi. Having a prime connection is the best way to ensure that you’re absorbing the important information being relayed; a poor internet signal that fades in and out can make productive communication nearly impossible! Ensuring that this doesn’t happen may require prior location scouting, because unfortunately, the area with the best connection may not be the place with the best lighting or atmosphere. Some simple steps you can take to make your space look more professional include clearing distracting clutter from your background and putting a small lamp in front of your computer to transform your chosen space into a video friendly area. Minimizing disruptions in your area is also a key component of a successful video interview. Do you have a loud roommate or a dog that loves to bark? If so, as much as you may have learned to tune out your surroundings, ensuring a peaceful environment will help you to get the most out of your interview and distinguish yourself from other candidates. Although a Skype interview may seem a little daunting, think of it as an opportunity to promote what makes you unique. You’ll be able to showcase your strengths, personality, and preparedness in a customized environment.