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finding diamonds in the banking & financial services talent pool



Comparing the unearthing of precious stones to a search for supreme quality candidates within the Banking & Financial Services space has never been more accurate.

 After all, diamonds are formed by a combination of time and pressure (i.e. experience) – they are extremely difficult to find, their presence is unique as well as exceptional and when they are unearthed they command attention.

 Quality talent is a topic that has been on my mind quite a bit lately, especially given the market we are currently operating in.

 All the commentary leading into 2016 pointed towards a turbulent 12-month period for the Australian Banking & Financial Services sector - based on the first four months of this year the commentators are not going to be disappointed.

 Throw a mid-year election into the mix, along with some uncertainty as to how the electorate (or local and global money markets) will act, and there’s a sense that those precious stones may become even rarer to find.

The value of good people never changes. Finding them does.

 Over recent months, two particular comments have been trending in my meetings with both clients and candidates.

 First, people have been identifying an increase in the volume of mid to senior Banking and Financial Services roles on the market and second, they have been surmising that this increased activity must make the life of a recruiter pretty rosy.

 The answer to the first point is pretty simple… the increased activity is part of the industry’s natural job cycle. It has been a few months since three of the four major banks and many other large organisations paid their annual bonuses. This means there is a natural flood of activity as people start casting an eye over what is around. It happens every year.

 The second point is really interesting and one that I want to investigate a little more closely.

 Those outside the recruitment industry may think the higher volume of activity makes the life of a recruitment consultant easier, however, the opposite is actually the case.

 I revert back to the comments at the start of this blog about how finding supreme quality talent (the type of talent we pride ourselves on working with at Kelly Financial Resources) is like mining for diamonds. Just as high levels of churn and movement result in poor diamond mining environments, high volumes of candidate traffic simply add noise to the market and make locating the very best talent more difficult.

 If you are currently working with a recruiter to find Banking & Financial Services talent and their first action is to post your vacancy to a job board and wait for responses, you are dealing with an “old school” recruiter. Unfortunately, that recruiter is immediately limiting the quality and breadth of talent that your roles are exposed to.

 My advice to you is, find a recruitment partner that is a true “consultant” with absolute expertise in your specialist sector and, more importantly, a deep understanding of how the contemporary financial world operates.  Charge this person with presenting your opportunities in the most attractive light and using language, technical terminology and industry customs that make quality candidates feel completely at ease.

If your current recruiter does not exhibit these traits, I would suggest you proceed with a level of caution.

To find diamonds, you need to be an expert.

To provide you with some deeper insight into the difference between a traditional recruiter and an industry-focused “consultant”, I need look no further than the team of three people (two senior consultants and myself) I lead at Kelly Executive.

 I realise it may sound pretentious to hold my team up as an example of best practice in our industry but I’m extremely proud of the way we operate and I truly believe we are among the very best in the specialist areas of our industry.

 What stands us apart, and what I’m most proud of, is the fact that we do not claim to be recruitment experts for the Banking & Financial Services industry – that is way too broad – our expertise is held in much smaller niches of the industry.

 Across the team, we focus on being the best connected and most knowledgeable consultants in our specialist sectors. We are disciplined about maintaining our focus in these areas and not being lured into chasing opportunities on a broader scale.

That to me is the definition of a real expert – someone with knowledge that runs an inch wide but a mile deep, rather than a mile wide but only an inch deep!

 My team and I work in a targeted, individualistic manner. When we communicate with clients and candidates we do so in an intelligent, articulate and thought provoking manner.

 Interesting fact – because of the way we choose to operate 90% of our placements are from proactive approaches to the very best talent in the market. We identify the diamonds, we target our approach to them and we engage professionally. 

 As I say it’s an approach that I’m extremely proud of and a strategy that works!

 If you are interested in finding out more about just how much the role of the recruiter has changed in recent years, download our whitepaper: “The New Role of the Recruiter”.

 While this is not a Banking & Financial Services specific whitepaper, it is an interesting read for any employer or manager that is involved in the recruitment process.

 As consultants, we focus on engaging with the very best and developing relationships to the very highest level, that way clients can expect the very best from us – and not just delivering, but excelling at every opportunity.

 If you have any thoughts on the subject, or you would like to know more, please connect with me via LinkedIn – you never know- it might be helpful when you are looking for your next diamond!

New Role of The Recruiter



Trevor Bradley headshotAuthor: Trevor Bradley is the Director at Kelly Executive.