How can you use a financial services recruitment agency to gain an advantage in your job search?
If you have ever felt that choosing a financial services recruitment agency can be an arduous process, this article will be helpful to you. The most important criteria is choosing an agency that understands your career history, ambitions, and interests.
In this article, we share the 3 most important steps to have the right financial services recruitment agency represent you and help you get the offer you deserve, and more importantly will be happy with long term.
Step 1: Determine Your Needs
An effective selection criteria process is a top-down evaluation of your needs and how they compare with the various competitive financial services recruitment agency offerings. As a first step, it is therefore important to establish and articulate these needs in terms of:
- Sub-sector of the financial services space: The industry has several niches including investment banks, commercial banks, asset managers, insurance firms etc. Knowing what type of job you want is essential to selecting a suitable recruitment agency.
- Compensation and duration of employment: Agencies may have varying specialties i.e. contract gigs, temporary jobs, full-time positions etc. Some agencies may also specialize in entry-level to mid-level positions while others hire solely for executive positions.
- Location: Depending on whether you are open to relocation or not, the location of a target job is another major consideration. If you are looking at jobs within a specific geography, it could potentially be beneficial to partner with a regional agency which has local knowledge and corporate networks.
Step 2: Cast a wide net
Once these needs have been identified, it is time to search for recruitment agencies that can connect you to the relevant jobs. One of the easiest ways to do this is through a Google search for “staffing agency” or “financial services recruitment agency” in the region you are looking for. Agency names may also be found via advertisements near public transit stations or through word-of-mouth.
After compiling this list, start conducting your due diligence on them to check their speciality areas and eliminate options accordingly. It is pertinent to note here that a cursory search on their website or social media pages may not give you all the details you need. In some cases, it can be rewarding over the long term to pick up the phone and ask them specific questions regarding their placement services, success rates, compensation ranges etc.
Step 3: Pick and choose
The last step after distilling a shortlist of potential recruitment agencies is to select the ones that are best aligned with your requirements. In this decision-making stage, certain considerations have to be made in terms of:
- Large agencies vs. smaller agencies. Larger agencies are entrenched in multiple markets and therefore have a stronger reputation and wider network while smaller agencies tend to have deeper connections, and/or more specialized industry knowledge. Depending on the job you are looking for, either of these could be an asset.
- Credentials and success rates: Not all financial services recruitment agency teams are created equal. Some agencies may have stronger relationships with the types of companies you would like to work for while others may have higher placement and/or retention rates.
- Ancillary services: As part of their value proposition to candidates, some agencies may offer additional services such as resume and cover letter reviews, interviewing practice, LinkedIn optimizations and more. Given their proximity to hiring managers, these inputs could be valuable in positioning yourself better for your next role.
- Registration and placement procedures: In the research process, a key focus should also be on learning about the registration and placement processes that each agency has instituted. This includes gaining a strong grasp of hiring timeframes, salary ranges, and how the agency goes about marketing their applicants to employers. Managing expectations early in the process can save a lot of pain and frustration later on.
When looking into financial services recruitment agency options, it is best to be vigilant against certain kinds of uncharacteristic practices. For example, agencies don’t generally charge fees from the candidate. They are instead paid by the employer. If an agency talks about fees, ensure that you do further research to make sure that it’s legitimate. Other potential red flags are if they refuse to answer your questions or don’t seem too well-informed about your industry.
While there are a multitude of recruitment agencies geared towards the financial services sector, job seekers are advised to perform extensive research to land on the ones that can accelerate their journey to their desired employment. By following the three-step process listed in this article, candidates can better organise a key aspect of this search.
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