The Wall Street Journal Digital Network: How to Land a Finance Job

July 27, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

With the several rounds of interviews it takes to land a finance job these days, how you follow up during the weeks or even months of the hiring process is more important than ever. Having the right approach can help you standout in an extremely competitive applicant pool, say experts. For one, after each interview, it’s important to continue to make a good impression via thank you notes or other follow-ups; it can help you land the job or play a role in eliminating you from the running, says Andrea Persico, president of Chicago-based Orion Recruiting. “On a day-to-day basis (those in finance positions) could be handling millions of dollars, so (employers) are much more critical of who they like to bring on board,” she says.

Send Thank You Notes Within 24 Hours
Don’t wait more than a day after your interview to write a note thanking each interviewer for his or her time. Send it out “while the details are still fresh in your mind,” suggests Persico. Many senior finance roles are central to running a smooth organization, so companies like proprietary trading firms or large corporations will often move quickly on a new hire.

Reference the Culture
In the finance world, fitting into the culture of the firm is key. After the interview, take time to reflect on what traits successful employees embody and reference them in your thank you note or future communications, says Persico. For example, many large banking institutions are looking for candidates that can work with exacting methodologies, while smaller firms may place greater value on entrepreneurial skills, she says.

Be Careful of Revealing Interview Info Online
While updating your Twitter or Facebook feeds after an interview may be a good way stay in touch with your network, it’s important to not reveal too much after meeting with a potential employer. For example, don’t publicly discuss the negatives of a potential position, says Dan Schawbel, author of “Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success.” “Either be positive or don’t say anything at all,” says Mr. Schawbel.

Don’t Appear Overeager
While showing that you’re definitely interested in the job is important, following up more than once a week can be a nuisance to the employer, says Persico. Instead, give them ample time to respond to your questions. In the thank you note, stay away from asking questions about how to proceed, says Persico. “Do not ask about next steps — you will look desperate.”

Wait to Emphasize Concerns
Steer away from voicing any issues with salary or other logistical concerns to the recruiter before you have the written job offer, says Sean Kenney, a partner at Essex Partners, a Boston-based firm specializing in career transitions for senior executives. “Win the job first, then make a final decision if you want it — don’t try to completely vet the job too early,” says Kenney. Discussing these logistics prematurely can turn off a potential employer.

Subtly Stay In Touch
After the interview, it’s important to stay on a potential employer’s radar. One way is to follow them via Twitter or connect on industry-specific social networks. This helps you keep up the connection without seeming overly eager, says Schawbel. Once in a while, you can also email any finance-related articles or white papers that are applicable to their business. Using these tactics to subtly stay in touch, will help show off your expertise without the perspective employer feeling pressured to answer your questions.

Inform the Potential Employer of Updates
Instead of following up with the recruiter regarding the hiring timeline for a position, it’s best to tell them about how your own search is moving along. “‘I am in final stages with a few other firms’ should illicit a response from a prospective employer if they are interested in you,” says Persico. If you don’t have any updates, be patient — there’s no need to put pressure on the potential employer or be dishonest.

Continue to Network Your Way In
After the interview, it’s important to continue to meet and network with people who can help you get your foot in the door at that particular company. “Finding the right personal connection with someone who can champion your candidacy with a decision maker can make a big difference,” points out Kenney and adds that references and reputation is exceedingly important in finance. Look for people who have personal connections to the hiring manager or others who are influential in the specific finance role.

But even as you continue to follow-up on a particular position, keep looking for new opportunities. With so many great candidates possessing specific finance skills in the market, nothing is guaranteed and it can be especially difficult to work with companies that are increasingly drawing out their hiring process.

— Alina Dizik ::::::  The Wall Street Journal Digital Network



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  1. Great idea, thanks for this tip!

  2. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

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