19 April 2017
With the first quarter of 2017 in the books, financial institutions are looking ahead and many have already shelled out bonuses for 2016 and finalized their hiring budgets for 2017. As a result, they’re turning their attention to bringing on new talent in the second quarter. Historically, Mitchell Peskin, Partner and Executive Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division, experiences an increase in hiring needs from employers throughout the months of May and June. “With a thriving employment market, competition is very steep for even the most qualified of candidates,” says Mitchell. “If you are contemplating making a move this year, now is one of your best windows of opportunity to pursue a new role. However, this might also guarantee that many financial services professionals have the same idea. As a result, it’s important that you take the time to find ways to differentiate yourself amongst competition.” Whether you’re looking to transition to the buy side or looking to take the next step in your career, don’t put your job search off. Be sure to use the following tips to stand out: Fine tune your resume to highlight your specific expertise Too often, financial services professionals rely on a results-driven resume format to highlight their professional accomplishments. “While this might be a good format to use for a role focused on project management, it’s better that your resume highlights where your expertise lies,” says Mitchell. “Hiring managers are most interested in your product knowledge, including your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities that highlight the specifics of what you know.” In addition, be sure that you are prepared to speak to everything that is included on your resume. “Too many financial services professionals make the mistake of listing products or technology they are completely unfamiliar with in the hopes of impressing prospective employers,” notes Mitchell. At the end of the day, if you are unable to speak to everything that is listed on your resume, this will definitely raise major red flags for hiring managers. Be flexible with your job search and availability If you are truly serious about taking advantage of this hot hiring period, it’s important that you remain flexible in the types of roles you’re looking for as well as your ability to interview. “I encourage financial services professionals to entertain a variety of employment opportunities that are aligned with their expertise,” says Mitchell. “Focusing too much of your efforts on making sure you have a better title, for example, can ultimately hinder your job search for the wrong reasons.” Along similar lines, don’t wait until the summer to start your job search. Why? “This season is typically one of the most difficult times for employers to conduct interviews as many of them are on vacation,” notes Mitchell. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to interview with a prospective employer now, make sure you are as flexible as you can be with your availability. Emphasize specific soft skills throughout the interview It’s important to note that most hiring managers are in search of well-rounded financial services professionals—those that possess the right combination of professional attributes and soft skills to perform the job at a high level. Therefore, if you want to make a great impression with your interviewer, try emphasizing the following soft skills: Work ethic – The financial services sector can be a very demanding industry with intense hours, and hiring managers have a great appreciation for prospective candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to going above and beyond to help their team or company’s bottom line. Team player – In most financial services-related roles, you will collaborate with a number of team members. Your ability to highlight examples of working within groups or handling conflict, will speak to your willingness to work with others. Communication – Strong communication skills are valued in most roles. However, if you are pursuing a role in investor relations at a hedge fund, for example, you will be speaking with investors on a regular basis, and therefore, your ability to communicate to those investors in a concise manner is important.
18 April 2017
If you work in the fashion and retail sphere, you know just how important first impressions can be! You also know how much work it takes to start off on the right foot. And when you get invited to interview for a new job opportunity, the rules of putting in the effort to prepare definitely apply. “Interview prep is something all professionals should take part in, but if you work in the fashion and retail industry, there are some very specific ways to get ready for the interview,” says Rif Saleh, a Staffing Manager in The Execu|Search Group’s Fashion & Retail division. “The key to acing these interviews is demonstrating a flawless balance of experience and knowledge of the company’s brand.” In order to get ready for your next fashion and retail interview, be sure to take these 3 steps into account: Visit the company’s store Among the fashion and retail space, one of the most universally-shared values in an employee is their knowledge of the brand and company culture. “If you haven’t already, visit the company’s store before the interview,” says Jaymee Kruysman, a Staffing Manager within The Execu|Search Group’s Fashion & Retail division. “Employers respond well to candidates who share the company’s values and who can serve as a brand representative should they receive a job offer. However, this is difficult to prove if you are unfamiliar with the store.” When there, be sure to take note of the environment, the type of person who shops there, and any particular amenities the store may offer. This type of knowledge usually leads to an impressed interviewer! Anticipate situational questions Though it is common for employers in various industries to ask you situational questions, fashion and retail companies place extra emphasis on these questions during interviews. Since many candidates will be on a similar plane regarding skills and experience, employers evaluate how potential candidates anticipate reacting to certain situations as a way to identify the best fit for the role. As you go through the interview process, you’ll want to ensure that you know how your past experiences have prepared you for managing difficult situations that could arise. Ensure your portfolio is complete and accessible As you finalize an interview time and location, you’ll also want to ask about logistics regarding your portfolio. “Before your interview, it’s important to make sure you have all of your bases covered in terms of portfolio presentation,” says Jaymee. “If you use a tablet or laptop to access your portfolio for example, ensure you’ll be able to access the company’s Wi-Fi connection during the interview.” Additionally, you’ll want to ask if there are any types of particular projects or skills they would like to see. Having this knowledge in mind will help you determine which projects you want to present, and will also help you to define talking points you’ll want to go over during the interview!
18 April 2017
In today’s job market, decreasing unemployment rates are encouraging professionals to keep their options open. Confident they can find a better deal if they feel their employer isn’t meeting their needs, the culture of “job hopping” has become increasingly commonplace. While employers may feel resigned to accept the condition of the job market, they must realize that perhaps an employee is waiting to stick with an employer who is loyal to them. Only with a sense of mutual respect and trust can you begin to reduce your employee turnover, and that effort should begin on day one—not when you’ve already lost them. To improve your retention efforts, check out Taking Control Of Turnover for 16 tips on fostering better working relationships that increase employee loyalty and satisfaction.
17 April 2017
For most job seekers, there are few better feelings than walking out of an interview knowing you gave the perfect response to all of your interviewer’s questions. Unfortunately, what might be a ‘perfect’ response to most candidates, might not necessarily be the type of answer a hiring manager is looking for to determine if you are truly the best fit. While some candidates try their best to plan the perfect response that makes them sound like a strong candidate, too often these answers can backfire. Over time, certain responses have become so common that they now make you sound cliché or overly rehearsed. Here are four to avoid at all costs: Q: “What is your greatest weakness?” A: “My greatest weakness is that I am a perfectionist and I work too hard.” Nothing screams ‘I have little self-awareness,’ to your interviewer like giving an answer like the above as it pertains to your weaknesses. Interviewers will typically ask this question with an understanding of how difficult it can be to talk about your own weaknesses, but a good response shouldn’t speak to your perfection. Instead, it should speak to your emotional intelligence—a quality many employers seek in new hires. As a general rule of thumb, don’t try to skirt around this question. You should always have a well thought out response that addresses an honest flaw and what you’ve done to improve upon it. Q: “Why are you leaving your employer?” A: “I’m leaving my employer because they are the worst.” Hiring managers want to know why you are seeking employment or why you are looking to leave your current employer. Revealing that you’re seeking employment because you are unhappy with your last employer is fine, but don’t take this as an opportunity to go into detail to speak negatively about them. Whether it is your crazy boss, a poor work/life balance, or inadequate benefits, you should keep this type of negative information to yourself. Why? Not only does this almost guarantee you won’t get the job, but it also speaks poorly to your sense of loyalty. In other words, if all it takes to talk negatively about an employer is being unhappy with your current situation, your hiring manager can’t help but think you would do the same thing to them down the road. Therefore, take the high road when answering this question. To do this, focus on what you learned, and how you could bring that knowledge to the role you’re interviewing for. Q: “Do you have any questions for me?” A: “I don’t have any questions, I think you’ve covered them all.” One of the best ways for an employer to decide amongst strong candidates is their level of engagement through their follow-up questions. While some interviewers may be more forthcoming than others, not asking any additional questions can raise some major red flags. For example, this can either imply you aren’t as interested in the job as you should be, or that you weren’t prepared for the interview; both of which will hurt your chances of getting hired. In these scenarios, have a few questions prepared to learn more about the role and responsibilities. Q: “Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a team member and how you overcame it?” A: “I haven’t had much conflict in the workplace; I feel like I work well with everyone.” Your potential to work well with other team members is one aspect many hiring managers try to evaluate throughout the interview process. For example, they may ask questions about workplace conflict resolution or your approach to overcoming challenges to determine if you would be a good partner to bring onto their team. Stating that you ‘work well with everyone’ might actually mean you aren’t aware of how others perceive you as a teammate. Additionally, disagreement is only natural in the workplace, so employers are interested in how you respectfully handle it. As a result, giving a vague or overly positive response can automatically take you out of the running. For questions related to collaboration, good responses focus on the traits and skills you possess that make you a person people want to work with.
17 April 2017
By becoming a certified public accountant, you have done more than just demonstrate your knowledge and skill level. Putting in the time and effort to study for and pass all four parts of the exam, demonstrates that you are clearly dedicated to the field and invested in your career. However, this momentum shouldn’t end once you attain your certification. “As you climb the ladder throughout your career, you should continuously make the effort to further develop your skills while acquiring new ones,” advises Kyle Wilkinson, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division, who is a CPA himself. “The role of an accountant is ever-evolving, so it’s important to ensure your skills are up-to-date with these trends. In the past it was easy to do your assigned work without understanding the bigger picture, but today, you need to be able to think and act strategically if you want to advance your career.” In recent years, there has become a greater need for CPAs who can perform more technically complex tasks. In fact, 2017’s newly designed CPA exam aims to specifically assess such skills. While future CPAs might have to develop these advanced competencies earlier in their careers, more experienced professionals looking to enhance their marketability should also make the effort to gain exposure to these bigger picture skills. To get you started, here is a list of skills that Kyle has seen his clients ask for when searching for new hires: Audit: Commercial Industries SEC reporting: It can be easy to work on an audit of a publicly traded company without getting any exposure to SEC reporting. To be more proactive, Kyle suggests asking to get involved in an upcoming 10Q or 10K filing. Revenue recognition: Ensure you do not become complacent in an industry with evolving rules and regulations by keeping abreast of new standards on revenue recognition. “New guidance on revenue recognition will be going into effect,” notes Kyle. “In fact, some companies have already had to adapt to this change.” As a result, CPAs with clients on the forefront of the new standard have already found themselves at a competitive advantage. Financial Services Financial product knowledge: Whether you want to move up at your current firm, or go to another company, financial product knowledge is a highly valued skill amongst employers. “To accurately identify and understand red flags in an audit, you must possess a strong understanding of popular financial products, including credit products such as distressed debt,” says Kyle. Waterfall models: If you audit private equity funds, being able to read through the partnership agreement and understand how it applies to a waterfall model can set you apart from your competition. According to Kyle, “this is a bigger picture skill that can help you understand the complexities of the audit.” Tax: Commercial Industries: Tax Provision (ASC 740): Although accounting for income taxes continues to pose challenges for many individuals and businesses, this is a skill that many tax accountants lack. To increase your marketability, you should know how to do the deferred tax rollforward and calculate the effective tax rate within the provision. Financial Services: Financial product knowledge: Understanding more complex book to tax differences as it relates to financial products is another skill that can make you a more valuable employee. “You should have a proven ability to analyze client brokerage and financial statements to identify (and adjust allocations for) possible disallowances by the IRS,” says Kyle. “Different types of transactions have different rules, so aim to diversify your knowledge base. For example, gaining exposure to wash sales, straddles, constructive sales, short sales, QDI, DRD, Section 1256 and Section 988 transactions is a great starting point.”
13 April 2017
On April 12th, several members of The Execu|Search Group’s West Palm Beach Office participated in the 32nd annual Mercedes Benz Corporate Run for the second consecutive year! Although the corporate run was only one day, the event led to some long-term team bonding. “In the months leading up to the event, many of us trained and did practice runs together,” says Steffanie Ngo-Hatchie, a Director in The Execu|Search Group’s Physicians division. “It’s a fun and healthy team building event that we look forward to doing every year!” The Mercedes Benz Corporate Run is a 5k that takes place throughout multiple cities in Florida. Since its inception in 1985, more than 30,000 people have participated. Proceeds from the run were donated to United Way.
12 April 2017
During your job search, you may find yourself in a bit of a rut. It could be that you aren’t finding open positions that spark your interest or that you have exhausted everyone in your network for help. If you find yourself at this point, it may be time to re-strategize your approach to finding your next career opportunity! While using sites like LinkedIn and Indeed are always a good bet to find multiple opportunities, you may want to go beyond what the desktop versions of the sites have to offer. Now that most professionals have access to smart phones, job sites have taken to creating mobile apps in order to appeal to job seekers looking for quick and easy methods of applying to jobs. While some apps are an extension of their main websites, there are some that have more focused features on the mobile app space. If you’re looking to test the waters of applying to jobs via mobile apps, here are 5 to consider: The LinkedIn Job Search App Not to be confused with the site’s main app, the LinkedIn Job Search app focuses specifically on finding you opportunities based on your profile history. While the site’s primary app is geared toward networking and profile maintenance, the Job Search app specifically focuses on that—job applications. As their main mobile resource for posting jobs, the LinkedIn Job Search app lists jobs based on your past experience and skills listed on your profile. The best part? Everything you save transfers over to your profile, so you’ll be able to go back and review your work later! Indeed App As one of the most popular job boards online, the Indeed app is also one of the most popular among those who extend their job search to their mobile devices. Though it isn’t much different than what you are able to see via their website, their app does provide the option of sending jobs you are interested to yourself for later. That way, if you want to tweak and fine-tune a particular application, you’ll be able to do so once you reach your computer later on. Jobr Known as the “Tinder of job applications,” Jobr allows you to quickly browse and save jobs with the swipe of a finger. If you’re someone who already knows what you’re looking for, this application is well-suited to your needs. While it does require extra caution as an application immediately gets sent once you swipe right, it is a great way to find jobs that are tailored to your preferences. Rake If you’re someone who uses multiple job boards throughout your job search, you know that it can be tough to keep track of where you saw which jobs. Now, there’s an app for that. With Rake, users can save jobs from various job boards and keep them organized in one place. Additionally, Rake allows you to prepare applications and set-up reminders for application tracking and follow-up. Rake has a desktop version too, so it’s ideal if you’re working quickly on the go and want to give more attention to applications later. Reach While finding and applying to jobs is important, it’s also critical that you network with other professionals in your field during your search. While Reach won’t help you find a specific job, it will put you in touch with someone who can. Reach’s main focus is to identify and connect you with professionals and events in your area, helping you find opportunities to network with people you may not have otherwise connected with. The app will also provide you with personalized recommendations, so you’ll always have options when looking to meet up with someone to discuss future opportunities!
10 April 2017
A job application today consists of much more than a simple resume and cover letter. In addition to those, your online presence can tell a hiring manager more about your personality and interests—allowing them to assess your cultural fit for the organization while also assessing your technical skills. “When you let an employer get a sense of your career goals and your personality, you’re more likely to get approached about opportunities that are actually interesting to you,” says Jonathon Amen, a Senior Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “As a CPA, you can accomplish this by creating your own personal online brand.” On LinkedIn, your personal brand is determined through more than just your background and experience; as a CPA, you can stand out amongst your competition by including more than just the bare minimum. “Through your photos, LinkedIn activity, and writing ability, your online brand becomes more personal, and it sets you apart from the crowd,” says Jonathon. In order to improve your personal brand on LinkedIn and be sure that you don’t miss out on potential opportunities, Jonathon recommends you take these steps: Ready your profile In order to become an appealing candidate on LinkedIn, you must first make adjustments to your profile and LinkedIn settings. As a CPA, you’ll want to start with these four things: Adjust your privacy settings: In your privacy settings on LinkedIn, you can let recruiters know that you’re open to receiving new opportunities. Without changing this in your settings, you may miss out on several positions that could’ve been the right fit. Up-to-date name and title: Not only should your title be descriptive of your current role, but your name should also include that you are a CPA. Be sure to write it as Your Name, CPA in order to let a recruiter know you are qualified before they even click through to your profile. Personable summary: Your summary is your chance to show off your personality and career goals. As a result, a descriptive summary can help a recruiter or employer to determine whether the opportunity at hand would be of interest to you or not. “The more you say about your passions or your interests, the more likely you’ll get approached about positions that can take your career in the right direction,” says Jonathon. Tailor your experience: “If you’re a couple of years out of college, you can remove internships or minimum wage jobs from your LinkedIn profile,” says Jonathon. Not only does this improve how you appear in search results, but it also shows that your professional experience can speak for itself. Stay active Not only does your personal brand include your profile and appearance, it also includes your activity on LinkedIn. Once your profile is in good shape, be sure that you continue to stay active on this social platform with these tips: Like, share and comment: As you scroll through your LinkedIn news feed, be sure to engage with other users! Not only can you present yourself as a knowledgeable professional, but this activity also shows up on your profile, giving viewers a more in-depth look at your interests and personality. Follow influencers: To continue learning and growing as a CPA, you can follow influencers within your industry. Whether there is a company or professional that you admire, you can stay up-to-date on their professional endeavors by following them on LinkedIn. “This can also show employers that you are engaged in the professional community and that you are always looking to learn more,” notes Jonathon. Write your own posts: LinkedIn isn’t just to follow top professionals and organizations; it’s also there for you to share your own thoughts on matters of interest to you. By publishing your own posts on LinkedIn, you are becoming a more active participant in conversations. As a result, you can even become a thought leader in your own right within your industry. Keep it professional: Because LinkedIn is a network built for professionals, it is crucial to keep your appearance, content, and tone professional at all times. “Keep in mind that LinkedIn is not Facebook,” says Jonathon. “When you’re interacting with people, you should always keep the subject matter professional.”
05 April 2017
In the last few years, the job market has drastically changed, in large part due to the rapid growth of the ‘agile workforce.’ The agile workforce, which consists of temporary, contract, and freelance employees, gives flexibility to both employers and employees who want to maximize their potential. And as quickly as the workforce has changed in recent years, predictions indicate that the agile workforce will continue to grow. According to a recent study, 68% of employers agree that by 2025, the majority of the workforce will be employed in an agile, temporary, or contract arrangement. Additionally, employers are taking steps to make that a reality; employer commitment to building an agile workforce has increased by 155% in the last four years. While it may feel like 2025 is still far away or that perhaps temporary employment is not a strategy for your organization, remember that talented employees also see the benefits in this type of employment arrangement. Temporary or freelance employment can allow the employee to take more control over their career; by changing jobs more often, they can develop their skills faster and increase their career potential. Additionally, they are able to create a more flexible working arrangement for themselves. According to our 2017 Hiring Outlook, employees highly value flexibility in the workplace. In a temporary or contract position, workers can be more in control over which jobs they take, when they take time off, and potentially even where they do their work. With all of these benefits, employers may risk missing out on top talent if they don’t embrace the agile workforce. If you’re looking to adapt to the needs of temporary job seekers in order to take advantage of this talent pool, start taking steps in these areas: Flexibility The nature of the agile workforce implies flexibility within these types of work arrangements, and therefore, it is crucial that employers embrace that concept. Employees who are working in a temporary, contract, or freelance arrangement are typically moving a mile a minute, and you must be able to meet their needs if you want to utilize their talent. This means being flexible in terms of where and when the employee completes their work as well as being more malleable to the requests of each employee, especially since they’ve earned your trust. This may require you to alter the job title or pay of a position, or perhaps change the start or end date of the assignment to accommodate their schedule. Efficiency As the agile workforce grows, you may see your temporary and full-time employees working alongside each other to accomplish their goals together. When this workplace collaboration occurs, it is crucial that your temporary employees are up to speed so that they can hit the ground running on their first day. As a result, you must be sure that your onboarding process for your temporary employees is efficient enough to get them going right away. Additionally, your full-time employees must be ready to collaborate at a similar pace in order to make the best use of a temporary employee; this collaboration is imperative to the success of an agile workforce strategy. Streamlined hiring process The most talented temporary, freelance, or contract employees are usually quite busy, and often might have to turn interested employers away. As a result, an employer with a slower hiring process will most likely lose out on the talented professionals that are in the highest demand. When a temporary employee does not know where their next paycheck is coming from, they will go with the company that has their ducks in a row and gives them an offer quickly. In order to be sure that you can have a chance with these professionals, be sure that you are timely in your responses, cut down on your interview rounds, and make better offers up front to cut down on negotiations.