July 9, 2019

4 Tips for Recruiting the Best Financial Talent Available Right Now

It is 2019, and the financial market is growing, changing, and transforming faster than ever before. Jim Eckenrode, the managing director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, lists a handful of reasons for this rapid evolution, ranging from increasingly digitized interactions between individuals to globalized tariffs and governmental changes. 

In light of this growth and change, it is more vital than ever to optimize the hiring process for analysts, investment managers and operations staff.

It can be difficult for even the most effective hiring managers to know exactly how to recruit, screen, interview, and — perhaps most importantly — retain the right candidates. 

Here are four steps you can take right now so you will be ready when it’s time to attract and hire new financial talent.

1. Identify Your Specific Needs Ahead of Time

Since efficiency is crucial when it comes to hiring high-quality financial talent quickly, it is prudent to know your needs ahead of time — well before you need to make a quick hire. Consider factors such as specific aptitude and how an individual will contribute to the company’s culture. Artificial intelligence can quickly and efficiently screen candidates for such characteristics. 

Nicole Knott, a senior manager at Accenture, notes how AI is useful for creating a shortlist of candidates. Just as importantly, AI can keep track of applicants who did not meet the criteria for a specific position. It is possible that they have the aptitude and skills to fit elsewhere in the organization, so you might see those names come up again when the time comes to hire for a different position. Having a list of potential candidates at your fingertips can expedite the next hiring round.

Further, we know that diverse teams tend to be more innovative and have better problem-solving skills than less diverse teams. That’s reason enough to prioritize a diverse pool of candidates. 

There is also another benefit to diversity: improved financial performance. Researchers Paul Gompers and Silpa Kovvali illustrate this at the Harvard Business Review by looking at venture capital firms. The VC world has remained very homogenous for the past three decades, they write, and partners are overwhelmingly white and male. That’s a problem at the portfolio level. Gompers and Kovvali have found that heterogenous groups of investors tend to outperform homogenous groups. 

Having a team that represents several races, countries of origin, genders and other aspects of identity adds depth to any company culture — and improves bottom-line results, too. Factor this into your definition of hiring needs.

financial talent

2. Develop Recruitment Strategies That Are Outside the Box

Rather than beginning the recruitment process when you anticipate a need, Amber Grewal, then-VP of global talent acquisition at IBM and current chief talent officer for Intel, suggests creating a “recruiting-first culture.” This means putting as much effort, if not more, into attracting and getting to know candidates as you do attracting and getting to know your customers. 

“It’s about crafting personalized, digital messages and engaging assets for employees to share on their social networks, which extends the message’s reach and eventually leads to talent engagement,” she says.

Another way to improve your recruitment process is to always be looking for opportunities to promote from within your organization. Gartner’s Mary Baker points out that record-low unemployment rates coupled with high levels of competition make it difficult to not only attract new talent but also to retain present talent. 

Gartner’s 2Q18 Global Talent Monitor report showed that employees tend to leave a company when they feel there is not adequate room for career growth due to a lack of opportunity. In many instances, promoting from within will keep your organization from losing talent. As an added benefit, the screening and onboarding processes can be more expedient with current employees, making it faster and simpler to fill financial talent gaps.

Whether recruiting from within or without your organization, you can harness the power of artificial intelligence to minimize bias and make analysis-driven decisions. Letting bias influence a hiring decision can “only hurt organizations as leaders are less able to nurture the talent of their entire workforce and to appropriately recognize and reward performance,” write Barry Libert and Megan Beck, respectively the chairman and chief product and insights officer at machine learning company OpenMatters. “Artificial intelligence can help bring impartiality to these difficult decisions.”

3. Automate the Screening and Interviewing Processes

Once you have your recruitment strategies down pat, it is time to examine your screening and interviewing processes. When time is of the essence, AI can facilitate quick decisions. 

“Nno organization wants their HR team to waste valuable time on low-level tasks (like 15-minute screening calls) that could be accomplished automatically,” Hannah Herman at Workato writes. “Cognitive technology offers these businesses a way of systematizing and scaling a process that, until now, has been pretty labor-intensive. 

AI can do more than help pre-screen applicants. It can find applications of candidates who had applied for a previous position but were not interviewed, and it can reduce incidences of unconscious bias in the screening and interviewing processes.

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4. Focus on Employee Retention

Using analytics to help make hiring decisions can improve employee retention, too. 

As Deloitte’s Josh Bersin points out, choosing the right candidates in the first place can help reduce turnover and mitigate the need to make quick hires later on. He also recommends focusing on making work “irresistible” by setting clear goals, developing leaders and rewarding managers for holding onto the talented people who are hired.

Rosario Russo, who is in charge of financial talent and organization practice at Accenture Consulting for Italy, Central Europe and Greece, says financial services organizations should understand what makes a great employee experience. This raises the chances that talented people will stay with the organization. Some of these factors include setting personalized goals for each employee and accommodating employees who value flexible work arrangements. 

Talent intelligence technology can complement each of the goals above by helping hiring managers make data-driven decisions, even when they need to fill specialized roles in a hurry. Combined with the strategies listed above, this technology can strengthen your financial services organization for both the short term and long term.

Images by: Tim Gouw, rawpixel, rawpixel