checkAs recruiters, we want to see our candidates succeed, and we can sometimes be a little too general in our screening questions and too forgiving about the answers we receive. When you don’t ask the tough questions and expect stellar results, you do your candidates, your clients and yourself a disservice.

As a finance recruiter (or if you’re just recruiting in that industry), it’s your job to find the candidate who can improve the company’s bottom line. To do that, you have to be tough with your candidate during screening to make sure that you’re presenting top-notch talent to your client. Here are some tips recruiters can use for finding the best candidates for finance positions.

Understand the instrument.

Recruiters are often tasked with filling positions based on functional requirements and experience. However, requirements for financial positions tend to be much more focused on particular financial instruments and products. For example, if the position involves credit derivatives and your candidate doesn’t have it, they had better at least bone up on some book knowledge before the interview. Even positions which seem highly general (such as analysis, number crunching, or in management) often require use of sophisticated tools and a detailed understanding of complex financial instruments. In particular, when recruiting for companies that have the actual instrument as their product (for example, a mutual that specializes in fixed income) be very cautious about screening your candidates for instrument-specific knowledge.

Ask for a list of accomplishments.

Some candidates can wow us in person by saying all the right things and having impressive degrees, but they also need a proven track record of success in finance. In order to find a candidate who can get results for your client, ask them to prepare an accomplishment sheet that shows the results they have helped create for their previous employers. More than a resume or CV, a detailed list of accomplishments will show the recruiter and the client that the candidate can get the job done.

Ensure that you model these accomplishments according to the individual hiring manager with whom your candidate is interviewing. For example, if meeting with an analyst, be sure that their accomplishments and resume are quantified and graphed, versus described qualitatively.

Understand their career goals.

We all know that it’s a good idea to ask what other companies and positions the candidate has applied for, but it can also tell you a lot about the candidate’s goals. Not only does asking this question tell you whether or not this candidate has applied for the position you’re filling, it can also help you understand how they are approaching their finance career. The position you are trying to fill might be a great stepping-stone to get them where they want to go, or it might be a dead end. If you’re not sure, then follow up your question about their other applications with questions about their goals.

Finance is particularly segmented (if not fragmented) industry. Private equity is very different from banking and extremely different than financial analytics within an insurance firm. Be sure that your job aligns not only with their goal job title, but with their core industry and career aspirations.

Understand their job search.

Where a candidate is applying is important, but how they are applying is also key. Take the time to understand how your candidate is applying for jobs. If they’ve been turned down for similar positions, try to figure out why. If their track record of applications shows that they won’t work out, then you can move on to the next candidate. If they’re still a great fit, you can help them improve their resume or interview technique to land the position.

Explore their network.

Sure, “it’s not what you know but who you know” is an old saying, but in some cases it can be true. Dig a little into your candidate’s LinkedIn profile to see what other finance professionals he or she knows and what companies they work for, and ask them about other finance professionals they know in interviews. These kinds of questions will show you what kind of talent your candidate has been working with, but they can lead you to other candidates for other positions in the industry.

Hope these tips help you in your recruiting efforts. Financial recruiting, as with any type of field, requires a bit of specialized knowledge, but with some hard work and attention to the client’s needs, there is no reason any good recruiter can’t succeed.

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