30 June 2017
This is part of a series of testimonials from candidates who have successfully been placed by The Execu|Search Group. This testimonial comes from Sherrie Gonzalez; you can find our past testimonials here. When Sherrie, a web developer, lost her job due to company-wide layoffs in February, she viewed the situation as an opportunity to move forward in her career. After connecting with Lisa Samson, a Technical Recruiter within The Execu|Search Group’s IT division, she quickly received an offer for a full-time job from a leading software solutions company. She started her new position in April, and was happy to speak with us about her job search experience: On her background… I originally studied graphic design at MassArt in Boston, but decided to transition into development after taking a few coding classes. I worked for several companies in the Greater Boston area after graduating, including Boston Magazine. A little over 2 years ago, I was given an opportunity to move to New York City for work. I’ve been in Brooklyn ever since! On what she was looking for… Prior to being laid off, I was working as a front end developer for a company in Manhattan. I used my time off as an opportunity to assess my goals for the future. Though I still wanted to do coding, I ultimately decided to look for a more senior role with increased responsibility. On how TESG worked to meet her needs… Because Execu|Search took the time to learn about my background, they were able to position me for roles that made sense for my career. When Lisa reached out to me about my current role, the opportunity felt tailor made for me. Additionally, Lisa conducted the process with a sense of urgency—something that was important for me since I was out of work. On preparing for the interview… Lisa regularly followed up with me leading up to the few interview rounds I went through at my current company. She answered all the questions I had about the organization and ensured I knew how to approach each stage of the process. Due to this prep, she gave me the confidence I needed to successfully land the position. On her overall experience… Lisa’s proactivity made what could have been a stressful and drawn-out search into a very efficient process. Most importantly, I always felt that she had my best interests in mind when presenting me with opportunities. With her support, I found more than a job. This opportunity feels like the next, natural step in my career and I’m excited to see what doors open as a result. “Sherrie and I had an open and honest relationship throughout the entire process, which made the hiring process so much smoother,” says Lisa. “I’d have to say she’s one of the best candidates I’ve worked with thus far in the development field!”
28 June 2017
With a new administration in the White House, regulatory compliance has been a hot topic as of late. Although there has been talk of regulatory rollbacks, this field still remains a very important segment of the financial services industry. In fact, a number of financial institutions are taking proactive steps to strengthen their compliance teams. “Trade surveillance, in particular, is one area of compliance that is currently experiencing major growth,” says Alex Wright, a Senior Managing Director with The Execu|Search Group. “Despite any steps toward deregulation, the standard has already been set. To ensure that illegal or unfair trading practices do not contribute to another financial collapse, hedge funds need the support of trade and compliance professionals. This is a trend that we only foresee strengthening in the future.” Whether you are experienced in trade surveillance or hoping to break into this field, now is the right time to make a move. Here are three things you should know before you get started: The ideal background(s): If you are interested in pursuing these roles, it’s important to showcase the skills and experience that hiring managers are looking for in candidates. “While relevant trade experience with demonstrated strength on the compliance side at a larger bank and/or smaller hedge fund is ideal, there are opportunities for professionals with different backgrounds,” explains Alex. “Since trade surveillance is a field that is constantly evolving, diverse skillsets are certainly in demand. As a result, this is a great opportunity for professionals to carve out a unique niche for themselves.” For example, tech professionals, case managers/investigators, other compliance professionals, and recent law school grads with an interest in finance are a few different professionals who would be successful in a trade surveillance role. To stand out against the competition when interviewing, ensure you stay up-to-date on current regulatory developments, have a firm grasp on key rules and regulations impacting your line of securities, and be able to comfortably articulate the value you can add. A true middle office role: One of the many benefits of trade surveillance is that it offers the opportunity to work with many different areas of a firm. “Monitoring and reviewing trades is only one component of this role,” notes Alex. “Responsibilities beyond this include, but are not limited to, analyzing data, searching different market data, and designing and implementing new surveillance capabilities.” The multifaceted nature of this role means that you’ll be collaborating with legal, IT, and front office teams. In the long run, this diverse experience can increase your marketability for future opportunities. The rise in project-based/consulting opportunities: Hedge funds and banks typically need trade surveillance specialists for a variety of reasons. While one firm may need an analyst to cover for an employee on a leave of absence, for instance, another may require additional staff to handle a seasonal uptick in workload or implement new surveillance capabilities. This is to say, an opportunity can arise at any point in time. “Due to these increasingly common circumstances, many employers prefer to hire on a temporary/consulting basis,” explains Alex. “This solution not only offers more flexibility, but also allows firms to remain agile in an ever-evolving industry. Turning to trade surveillance specialists who have consulted on various projects gives them exposure to different ways of thinking— helping them improve their internal processes.” Finance professionals who pursue these opportunities will derive similar benefits of temporary work. By consulting for different firms, you can gain experience with different software and develop new skills faster. These project-based roles also provide you with the flexibility to identify the right long term role for you, giving you more control over your career.
27 June 2017
When you’re searching for a job, it can be easy to make a mistake that prolongs your search. However, when you work with a recruiter, their expertise can help you avoid common pitfalls. Because a recruiter will first work to understand more about your needs and career goals, they can not only find positions that are the best fit for you, but they will know exactly what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Learn more in the video below:
27 June 2017
In a management role, assembling an effective team is critical not only to the company’s success, but to your own personal success as a manager. Because your team depends on your leadership, your management style must support and inspire your team while pushing business forward. However, successfully doing this requires a variety of skills, many of which take time and experience to build. As a result, it’s also important to focus on your own professional development as a manager. To help you get started, here are 6 steps to building a more motivated and effective team through your management style: Get organized Always remember that your employees’ actions are a reflection of your own. When you’re consistently disorganized, dressed unprofessionally, or late for work, your team will mirror that behavior. Whether you need to wake up earlier in the morning or start using a calendar to stay organized, these simple productivity habits will trickle down to the rest of your team as well. Additionally, utilizing task management and communications solutions like Asana and Slack can get your whole team organized and improve workflow and collaboration processes. Broadcast your goals As a manager, you know that it is important to set attainable goals for yourself and your team. However, it is equally important that you reinforce these goals with every employee. This not only includes informing each team member on their role, but also telling them more about the team’s overarching goal and how each employee fits into the puzzle. When they understand how their work affects the team as a whole, they will be more motivated to achieve a positive result. Additionally, let them know how you’re prioritizing the goals that you’ve set. This way, your team will be more sensitive to deadlines and more patient with low-priority projects. Provide the tools “If you give people the tools, and they use their natural abilities and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected.” –Bill Gates A crucial element of an effective manager is that they understand how to provide employees with the tools they need, and trust that they will get the job done from there. Without any handholding or micromanaging, a good employee simply needs the starting tools, and they will often surprise you with a positive result beyond your imagination. Whether this means giving comprehensive instructions or purchasing software that improves their workflow, sometimes that’s all it takes to give your employee the boost they need in order to climb a mountain. Focus on transparency While improving your communication skills as a whole is important to your success as a leader, transparency is a key element in increasing motivation and trust in your staff. As a result, try to not only give clear direction for each employee and the team’s goals as a whole, but also explain why you’ve made such a decision. When you give a clear reasoning behind your decisions, your employees are more likely to understand the decision and why it must be done a certain way. Furthermore, when employees understand the impact of their actions on the team, on you, and on the organization, they’re more motivated to give a good performance. Additionally, an increase in transparency also includes giving and receiving feedback. Not only should you consistently provide feedback on your employees’ performances, but you should also keep your door open and listen to their feedback regarding how the team operates. When employees feel as though they have a voice within the team, they’re more likely to feel like they have an impact at work. Read a book or take a class If you feel at a loss for inspiration to improve your management style, reading a new book or taking a leadership course can help spark a new idea for you and your team. In addition to reading books on leadership and management, reading any book of your choosing can boost your critical thinking and open your mind to new ideas. Plus, there are always seminars, networking events, and courses you can take to help you in any areas you feel you need to work on. Whether that’s signing up for a webinar online, or attending an event in-person, you can gain a lot on insight to help you improve your own practices. Practice gratitude While you may have heard that millennials in particular need praise and participation trophies, this is more of a half-truth. While offering frequent rewards or incentives for your employees might be overdoing it, it is important to be sure that your team knows that you appreciate their efforts. Rather than offering rewards or trophies, most employees are more interested in courtesy and transparency. As a result, simply communicating your gratitude for your team with a “Nice job!” or “Thank you!” can let team members know that they are producing quality work, and that you appreciate their efforts.
23 June 2017
With the summer months getting into full swing, you may find your typical workload and schedule easing up. While this is an ideal time to re-charge and reset for the second half of the year, it is also the perfect time for you to kick it into high gear in one particular area — networking! Networking alone can send a shiver down your spine, but taking advantage of summer opportunities can ease some of the pressure that’s often attached to the process. Everyone tends to be more social during the summer, so now is the perfect time to step outside of your comfort zone and make new connections. Unsure of where to begin? Here are four ways to get into the swing of summer networking: Attend an event for a charity you’re passionate about When it comes to networking, you shouldn’t limit yourself to events hosted by industry-specific or career-oriented organizations. If you want to make a move outside of the box, find a charity or cause you’re passionate about and network with other professionals who share the same interests as you. For many nonprofit and charity organizations, the summer months are when their annual galas and largest fundraisers are held. If you’re unable to make either of these, don’t worry! There will likely be multiple fundraising events throughout the summer for you to attend if you miss out on the big ones. Don’t count out neighbor + family get-togethers as networking opportunities Sure, you may not want to talk about work when you’re at a family reunion or a Fourth of July BBQ, but it is highly likely that it will come up at least once. Should it happen, don’t take this as your cue to tune out of the conversation. Instead, listen to what the person has to say. They may have a lead on a job opportunity you may be interested in pursuing, or they could be a solid mentor for you to go to. Say ‘yes’ to happy hour If you aren’t a consistent happy hour-goer throughout the year, the summer is a perfect time to get into the groove of stopping by bars with co-workers. With the warmer months ahead, people who wouldn’t normally go to happy hour during the year will make more of an effort to go and socialize. Chances are you won’t be the only person with this strategy in mind! As a result, there will more than likely be ample opportunity for you to make connections with colleagues you don’t get to normally socialize with. If you’re looking for a low-pressure networking environment, this is an ideal space for you! Consider adding business-related stops on your vacation schedule You may be at a point in your career where relocating is something you could see for yourself. If this is the case, you may want to use some of the time you’ve allotted for traveling this summer to explore a city you’d be interested in working in. Taking an extended weekend so you can see what both a weekday and weekend in a particular city looks like can give you a better overall picture of what your life would look life if you were to move there in the future. Plus, you’ll also be able to see a new city you may not have thought to travel to otherwise!
22 June 2017
For financial services professionals, there’s a variety of technical skills that are expected of you in order to perform in your role. However, while technical skills and particular certifications are important, you don’t want to overlook the value of your soft skills! “While employers are looking for financial services professionals who demonstrate the technical skills necessary to do the job, they’re looking for candidates who can bring even more to the table,” says Paul Herman, a Senior Managing Director in The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “A professional who has the personality traits, characteristics, and work ethic that meets the employer’s expectations is going to have a stronger chance of landing new opportunities and making career advancements. This is generally due to their ability to think and act strategically.” If you work in financial services, you may already have an understanding of how important innate soft skills are to your success. If you are unsure of what those are though, here are several that can make you stand out: Ability to multitask The ability (and willingness!) to handle multiple responsibilities at once is one of the most important soft skills for financial services professional to have. “When you work in financial services, you may experience a large demand for cross-functional expectations, meaning you may have to tackle more responsibilities than you originally anticipated,” explains Paul. “Though your first instinct may be to clam up, the best way to handle it is to take a deep breath and prioritize.” Effective communication skills While you do need to have impeccable written and verbal communication skills, financial services professionals need to go beyond the basics when it comes to communication. “When you’re working in an environment with cross-functional responsibilities and expectations, you must be capable of communicating quickly and efficiently,” says Paul. “Additionally, having the ability to do all of these things in a professional manner is critical. If there is miscommunication over a particular issue, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re able to express what can be done to remedy the issue.” Proven leadership and project management skills While your job title may not indicate leadership expectations, there are ways to prove you have leadership potential. Taking ownership and initiative in regards to your responsibilities, for instance, is a great way to earn your employer’s trust and position yourself for career adcancement! Going outside of your comfort zone Working in financial services, you may be committed to your work as a specialist or as a member of a team servicing a specific area. However, there may be times when you are called to offer your talents to an area you may not think you’re equipped to provide support to. Though you may second guess yourself, the trick to overcoming this is to understand how valuable you are to your company. “Employers value employees willing to go beyond their normal job description,” says Paul. “That willingness to provide support for an area outside of your specialty speaks volumes. Not only does it impress the people you’re directly helping, but it also shows you’re a team player who can adapt to different situations!”
21 June 2017
Evolving workplace trends have forced an increasing number of organizations to employ more creative strategies to secure the right talent. In today’s competitive job market, employers are turning to freelancers and consultants as a cost-effective solution for completing long and short-term projects. While this strategy is becoming more commonplace, managing the performance and expectations of a freelance employee over the course of a project can be challenging. Heather Cianchetti, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Creative & Digital division, understands the important role that freelancers play in a company’s ability to complete projects in a timely fashion. Since securing good freelance talent can come at a steep price, it can sometimes be hard to measure your return on investment. “Too often employers find themselves unsatisfied with the quality of work their freelancer produces given their financial investment,” notes Heather. “To avoid these scenarios, employers should take proactive steps with their freelance employees to ensure project deliverables are met within your budget.” Whether your freelancers are on-site or work remotely, consider employing the following strategies to better manage expectations: Off-site freelancers It can be tricky to manage a freelancer who works remotely, so Heather suggests a number of tactics to ensure they are prepared to meet the project’s deadlines: Kick-off meeting – Since employers typically rely on technology to communicate with freelancers, it is important to set aside one day before they start work to hold a kick-off meeting, either at your office or via Skype. “Meeting with your freelancer before the project begins will give you the opportunity to outline general guidelines,” says Heather. For example, this could include reviewing your expectations for different stages of the project or outlining concrete deadlines. Download time-tracking apps – Although you may have outlined your expectations, you still want to make sure your freelancer is using their hours productively. To do this, consider having your freelancers download time-tracking apps like ‘Hours Keeper’ or ‘HoursTracker,’ which will help you keep track of their hours worked, including breaks and overtime. These apps will help to paint a clearer picture of how effectively your freelancer is using their time. Routine check ins – To ensure the work gets completed in an efficient manner, avoid giving your freelancer free reign once the project has begun. “Depending on the length of the project, outline daily, weekly, or monthly check-ins with your freelancer to ensure they are in line to hit projected deadlines,” advises Heather. On-site freelancers If you have the opportunity to have your freelancer on-site, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure they feel a part of a team and perform at a high level: Technology set up – Typically, freelancers will prefer to use their own equipment/software to complete a project. However, this leaves room for technical complications, ultimately preventing them from hitting the ground running on day one. Instead, arrange to have a station set up for them that has all of the hardware/software they might need throughout the project. “Not only does this avoid any issues with software incompatibility, but it also helps make them feel like a part of the team,” highlights Heather. Team introductions – Along similar lines, give your freelancer the opportunity to meet the colleagues that they will be working closely with. This will give you the chance to provide them with clear directions on who they’re reporting to and the best people to ask for help. Provide regular feedback – All freelance employees, including the most experienced and highly skilled ones, need some feedback from time to time. “Regular feedback from their manager will help assure them that the organization is truly vested in the quality of their work and that they are making an impact on the business,” says Heather.
19 June 2017
As busy season becomes a distant memory, the last thing you may want to think about is your job search. While enjoying a lighter workload and the warmer weather, it’s tempting to kick back and relax over the next several months. This means it’s also time to take a break from job searching, right? Contrary to popular belief, the answer is no. The perception that public accounting firms cut back on—or even stop—hiring in the summer is just a myth. “With firms gearing up for the fourth quarter, it’s actually one of the busiest times for hiring,” says Elisa Dammacco, a Senior Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “As a result, now is not the time to lose sight of your future. If your current employer isn’t meeting your needs, landing a new job sooner—rather than later— can make a huge difference in your happiness and work ethic in the long run.” If you decide that finding a new job is ultimately the right move for you, here are three additional reasons to kick start your search during the summer months: 1. The luxury of time: When it comes to finding the right job opportunity, timing can be everything. “The earlier you start educating yourself on market trends and exploring new opportunities, the greater your chances are of identifying and landing a position that aligns with your career goals,” advises Elisa. “There is typically a more diverse range of available opportunities during the summer, so being proactive affords you the time to hone in on the type of role that is the right fit for you.” This will also help ensure you don’t miss out on any potential jobs, or feel rushed into making an important career decision at the last minute. 2. Less competition: Since many accountants believe the myth that the summer months are not the right time to look for a job, those who start their job search before September or October will face less competition. “It will be much harder to distinguish yourself from other candidates in the fall, when the market is flooded with job seekers,” warns Elisa. “If you deviate from this trend, it will be easier to get on a hiring manager’s radar. This could lead you to more interviews and better opportunities.” 3. An easier transition into a new role: While many public accountants may be wary of entering the market during the summer, those who do land a new position early enough have the opportunity to experience and settle into a new firm before going through busy season. “Summer is an ideal time for accounting firms to hire new staff because they have more time to devote to onboarding and training,” explains Elisa. “This allows you to ease into your responsibilities, get accustomed to the company culture, and focus on learning any new technologies or techniques unique to the firm before getting thrown into something more comprehensive during tax season.” If you embark on a job search during the summer, it’s important to remember that being proactive doesn’t mean that you have to make a move if you ultimately decide you aren’t ready to. It does, however, allow you to understand your value—a factor that can help guide you in making career decisions that increase your marketability in an ever-evolving industry.
15 June 2017
Company culture has quickly become a top priority for many professionals. And, it should be! Employees who feel they fit into their company’s culture are not only more engaged and productive at work, but also happier in general. That being said, all job seekers should strive to make smart decisions when it comes to company culture. While cool perks can be enticing, company culture goes beyond ping pong and free snacks. A fun office environment can certainly be part of it, but culture also encompasses an organization’s missions and values, what level of work-life balance is provided, and whether teamwork or autonomy is encouraged. It also includes factors that can impact your day-to-day satisfaction, from the office layout to how fast-paced the environment is. Since company culture covers a lot of ground, there are many things to look out for when assessing whether you’d be happy and successful with a potential employer. In addition to company research and observing the environment around you, there are certain questions you can ask to gain more insight into the culture when interviewing. Here are 6 to keep in mind: How will my success be measured? Before you accept an offer, it’s important to be clear on what is expected of you as well as how your success will be determined. You’ll want to pay close attention to how realistic their expectations are, and whether or not you feel you can deliver. If not, this may point to a culture that is too metrics-driven or fast-paced for you. What was the department’s latest accomplishment, and how was it celebrated? This question can reveal if employees are recognized and thanked for their hard work. It can also point to a team-oriented workplace culture that allows individuals to understand the overall impact of their work. What are some industry trends that are impacting your work? This question can help clue you in to whether the company (or department) makes the effort to stay up-to-date with evolving industry trends. If they can’t provide you with a recent example, this should raise some red flags that the opportunity won’t be able to offer you the professional development you need for long term success. Do you offer any continuing learning opportunities for employees? If so, what type? In a similar vein, you can learn how invested the organization is in its employees with this question. Leadership development programs, mentorship opportunities, and continuing education workshops are all signs that point to a company that is interested in not only retaining its employees in the long run, but also helping them develop the skills needed to push business forward. What do you personally enjoy most about working here? Interviews can sometimes be very one-sided, so asking a question like this can help encourage the hiring manager to open up and shift the focus off of you for a bit. Their answer and body language can reveal a lot, including whether they actually like working there. In what ways does the company give back to the community? If you are interested in making an impact beyond your work, asking this question is a great way to determine if you and the company share similar goals. If the organization values philanthropy and encourages volunteering, inquire further about employee participation and the causes they are most passionate about.