If it is on your radar to be moving jobs, whether it be for a similar role within a different company, or a change of career altogether, the chances are you will be working with a recruiter.

There are 2 main channels in which your professional relationship with a recruiter will likely begin. That is to put the feelers out that you are looking for a new role and to ensure you are on their books, and applying or reaching out to them about a specific job they are advertising.

Reaching out to partner with a recruiter directly

When reaching out to a recruiter not relating to a specific role, first and foremost you must ensure they have your CV. It will give them chance to have an overview of your current and previous roles and experience which in turn will give them the tools to best help you.

Whilst you may have an understanding of what market the recruiter is working with based on the jobs they are advertising, make sure you seek confirmation about the type of market and clients they work with, and the kind of roles they take on, to be absolutely certain they are the best agency to help you align with your goals and help with your search. It would be a waste of precious time to converse with an agency that specialises in Operations when you are looking for a Front Office role as example.

It is important to make sure you are as transparent and open as possible with them regarding what you are looking for. Explain the types of roles, companies, whether you are wanting permanent or temporary opportunities, and which direction you are trying to take your career. Being as specific as you can be is the key to help a recruiter decide who are the best companies to reach out to on your behalf.

Whilst it is important to discuss what you are looking for, it is equally important to be open about why you are wanting to leave your existing role (if this is relevant). This will naturally give a clearer picture about what you are NOT looking for in your next role. And of course, make sure you know your notice period with them, and how soon you can start your next assignment.

Make sure to be honest and open with the recruiter about your current remuneration, bonus and benefits. Remember, they are there to help you achieve your financial goals and exaggerating your current salary (as example) won’t necessarily mean a higher offer for your next role, especially as any future employers will see your P60 and will observe if you haven’t been entirely honest!

When it comes to applying for roles, a good recruiter will always seek permission from you before sending a CV so you know what companies are in receipt of your information. Equally, it is important to keep the recruiter updated on your own search, who you have reached out to and roles you have applied for, to make sure there are no duplications.

Before getting knee deep in job hunting, be absolutely certain that a move to a different company is what you are looking for. Candidates often overlook speaking with their current employer to see if there are any changes they could make to their existing role, that would be in line with what they are potentially looking for in their next role and that’s aligned with their future career goals. If your current employer could make these changes (as example) would you consider staying put?

Lastly, ensure they have all your correct contact details and understand how you want them to communicate with you – sometimes the processes can be time critical so communication is key!

Applying for a specifically advertised role

When it comes to applying for specific advertised roles, the first port of call will almost always be ensuring they have your CV, however, it is important to only send your CV for roles that you are suitable for. By applying for roles that you don’t meet the criteria for you could end up being overlooked and missing out on an opportunity that is potentially much more suitable for you. Whilst it is your choice, it is not recommended you apply for the same roles with multiple agencies and well worth noting that in most cases you only get one chance to send your CV to a company – so make sure it is for the right role!

Ask the recruiter to go through with you details about the company, including their culture, policies such as flexible working, what they know about the team, and more specifically the hiring manager and their work style. They might even be able to talk through the candidates they have hired through their services historically. A lot of recruiters offer tenured relationships with their clients, so use this time to really understand how they can best help you through an interview process with the client.

Make sure you have spoken with the recruiter so they understand your strengths and skillset, why you are relevant and suitable for the role and company so they know how to sell you! It is equally as important that they understand what are developmental areas for you within the opportunity – most companies hire people who meet 70-80% of the criteria they are looking for!

It is important that before sending your CV the recruiter shares the relevant job specification and any hints or tips on what they may be looking for so you can tweak or amend your CV accordingly. Once your CV has been sent ensure you have written confirmation from them.

Once you have secured an interview ask your recruiter to share what questions may be asked during the interview process to help you be as prepared as possible. Do not be afraid to ask them for a phone or video call before hand to run through this with you, or even ask for some example interview style questions. Also request a copy of the CV they have sent to the client.

As mentioned previously, make sure you always have realistic financial an benefit expectations that are relevant to your experience and what you are able to offer a company. Do not outprice or undersell yourself! And remember, clients will always see your P60 or P45 if you’re successful so always be honest about remuneration!

If at any point during the process you decide not to proceed and take it any further it is important to explain these reasons to the recruiter so they can understand why for next time they work with you.

Finally, it is always best to be open with recruiters about other roles you are looking at, clients often wish to know what they are competing with to make sure they are giving you the best possible offer and opportunity. It also helps the recruiter gauge genuine interest and helps them help you consider all possible options for the best outcome for you and your career.

We welcome the opportunity to talk to all potential client’s and candidate’s surrounding their needs. On our website you can find dedicated sections on how best to partner with us or other recruiters. You can also see all of our vacancies, some further guidance, intelligence, and advice in our resources section. We are always willing to help with tailoring your CV, preparing for interview or discussing new vacancies.

CassonX are a specialist operations and middle office recruitment firm based in London. We are a boutique specialist agency, privately owned, giving you friendly and bespoke advice and support for all your staffing and recruitment needs. You can always contact one of our friendly, experienced, and talented recruiters directly via the website or on +44(0)2030565545.

As our leader James Manders celebrates 20 years as a specialist recruiter in the Financial Services sector, he was asked to share his thoughts and guidance in a series of interviews with the wonderful team at eFinancial careers, as part of their Talent Conversation series.

It goes without saying that James has seen a lot in the last 20 years, and he is immensely proud to be a trusted partner with many candidates, clients, service providers, and vendors, and loves talking about his market knowledge and experiences throughout his tenure.

Should you wish to review these talent conversations, then please see below links:

Mastering salary negotiations in 2024: https://vimeo.com/917965752

Navigating the impact of hybrid working: https://vimeo.com/917965537

The early careers dilemma; challenges & solutions in today’s job market: https://vimeo.com/917965456

Exploring in-house vs. recruiter hiring teams: https://vimeo.com/917965291

Please do take the time to review our other blogs, market intelligence, advice, and all things recruitment in the Resources section of our website

Last year witnessed a significant surge in hiring across our specialised recruitment market. In 2023, attrition rates slowed, companies were focused on retention of important team members, acknowledging the challenges of attracting talented individuals who can handle the demands of an Operations role within Capital Markets. It was a busy start to the year for Senior level hires, Q1 and Q2 is where the higher volume of roles at Director level (and above) came to market, ‘BAU’ hires have been more active throughout the year. There has been a focus from hiring managers on finding product specialists, largely with a view of automation in mind, this has driven the need for specialist recruiters to step-in as LinkedIn/direct advertisements are often failing to return suitable profiles.

Candidates with under 3 years’ experience are still the most requested profiles. A desire to attract talent with Excel VBA or Python skills is becoming increasingly popular, making this hire incredibly difficult, with demand showing a noticeable increase in salaries and total remuneration. I believe this has resulted in making this end of the market lack value, as demand is outstripping the supply. We still have to remind many firms that few graduate schemes were run in 2020 and 2021, which has impacted the candidate market at this level. The rising cost of living has also nudged potential candidates, across all degrees of competence, toward seeking new roles with better packages.

Salaries have seen an increase across all areas, albeit the difference wasn’t as significant as that seen through 2022. The most noticeable area of change this year has been within Controls and Transaction Reporting, where there has been high demand for candidates with broad regulatory scope, strong reporting coverage and an ability to mitigate potential risk within a standard BAU role. We have placed candidates with 2-3 years’ experience on salaries in the £70,000 – £80,000 with many not entertaining a conversation regarding a potential move without seeing a minimum of £10,000 salary increase. The contract market has been busier for FTC (vs PAYE), although many companies have struggled to find candidates quickly, this is often as the salary is reflective to match a permanent member of staff, and not incorporating the added risk of the incumbent taking on a contract position.

It is worth noting that working conditions are changing. We are seeing many companies now moving from a 3&2 hybrid working model, and now implementing at least a 4&1 or more noticeably a 5-day onsite working environment again. We get many candidates on a weekly basis, who have become accustomed to the hybrid model, now approaching us for a new role as their companies are enforcing a non-hybrid model. Largely because it is realised that employees do a lot of non-work-related things during the working hours and consequently distracts from hitting targets and cut-offs as example.

More companies are also holding face-to-face interviews instead of video, and this is why some recruitment processes have slowed to accommodate suitable interview times outside of standard working hours. Many companies are now enforcing a 3-month notice period across Operations staff.

We are delighted to let you know that CassonX has produced its annual salary and total compensation survey for the Capital Markets sector and separates the detail via role type and experience levels. Should you wish to see a copy then please go to our contact page, click on client@cassonx.com, select salary benchmarking and fill in your details accordingly. We will be happy to send you a copy via email, or even catch up over a coffee or lunch to discuss further.

If I had a pound for every time in my tenured recruitment career, that I have heard the words, “I have to fit my C.V. onto one page” muttered, then I would be a very rich man. However, I struggle to understand why this is acceptable and become the norm. If you need to use two or three pages to make sure you display all of the salient information you should feel relaxed in doing so.

It is like posting a picture on a social media or dating site – you don’t choose the worst picture of yourself! Sending your CV for a role is very similar. The C.V. has the sole purpose of convincing the hiring manager/HR that you should be called for interview. You should therefore send the C.V. which provides the decision maker with the tools and information to decide that you are one of the people they should interview

We live in a recruitment world where too many decisions on candidates are made from a two dimensional piece of paper – aka your C.V. So why would you want to omit key facts that will help you convince for an interview, Surely not because you are worried you might be a few sentences too long?

Here is the fact – There is no rule that says your C.V. should only be one page long! In fact when asking most hiring managers one of their biggest frustrations is receiving too many non-relevant C.V.’s. However when probed further, it often transpires that actually it’s not necessarily that the people aren’t relevant, it’s just the hiring manager hasn’t been able to ascertain whether the person’s experience is relevant for their hiring needs.

A similar thought processes can be applied to when you are applying to an advert. Why use your generic CV to just be quick? On average over 80 candidates apply on-line for each job in the Operations and Middle Office sector. So you need to make sure your C.V. is as relevant as possible in order to draw the attention of the recruiter, how else will a recruiter know you are applicable if it doesn’t say somewhere it on your C.V.?

Returning to the dating site analogy; when you are just about to message that person, you would look at their profile and structure a message that will be relevant to their interests. Applying for a job should hold similar comparisons – take a little longer to read the spec and send a CV that includes the requirements of the role. As clients look to hire experienced hires through recruiters – that’s what they pay us for- If you apply for a role and you don’t have the relevant experience disclosed, you will not be considered further.

On the flip side, your CV should not be the length of War and Peace. You only really need to detail the last five to ten years of your experience, because this should be the part that is relevant for the role you are applying for. You don’t need to add multiple points to a role much past the ten year mark, because this forms less relevance in your application, keep those roles to just a couple of points will do.  

So, how long should a C.V. be? Long enough to ensure you have all relevant experience to get an interview and don’t make it so short you miss valuable information. However there is a rule of diminishing returns, and as you get onto that third and certainly the fourth page if you were to find yourself there, you should be asking the question, is this next point adding to my application?

There are three main qualities you need to have to succeed in a job in the City: a corporate mentality, determination and a strong work ethic.

Having a corporate mentality is very important if you want to succeed in this environment. Many people come to work in the City because they want to earn significantly more money, but you have to appreciate that you are working for a conglomerate and that, fundamentally, thriving in that environment takes the right kind of individual coupled with the right attitude.

The City is renowned for hiring the crème de la crème of the market – and indeed that’s the way it should be. To get there, having the determination to succeed should go hand in hand with also having the right work ethic.

To be better than everyone else in the City, you have to be relentless.

You have to try your best and make sure that you surround yourself with good people. You are only as good as the people around you, and having a good boss who you believe in is crucial. 

The most important lesson I have learnt over the years is: look after yourself.

To do this, work with a manager who will give you clear and measurable goals that are in line with your expectations.

The best piece of advice I could offer to anyone who wants to work in the City is: don’t try and run before you can walk.

It is highly unlikely that you will land your dream role straight away, so the first job that you have in the City is not the job you’re going to be doing forever. Whilst many people want to land the perfect role immediately, sometimes to achieve your goals you have to do things you don’t really want to do to get there, especially when you’re starting out.

When trying to get a job in the City, it’s really important to ensure that you can clearly communicate why you should be hired above other people.  

Competition is fierce. What are your unique selling points? What it is that makes you stand out when hiring managers are looking through countless CVs? 

Fundamentally, the City is a great place to work, and the financial rewards can be great. 

People who work in the City are paid, on average, 40% more than someone doing a similar role outside of London. However, in order to get here, you need to be at the top of your game. The things that will make you stand out are your personal traits and your ability to you fit into a firm’s culture. So if you want to get a job in the City, don’t be disheartened if you do really well in the interview, but then get feedback that says they don’t think you’ll fit into the team. You have to trust that those managers are making their decisions based on the current make up of their environment. Keep going at it, don’t give up, and do things that other people are not doing. David Beckham didn’t become the best free kick taker by just training with his team mates and kicking a ball all day – it was because he used to do all that work and then stay behind after training every single day to practice 100 free kicks. You need to be doing that. 

On this Valentine’s Day, there is not much point in analysing relationships from a purely scientific point of view. There are not many people that fall in love only if all their boxes are “ticked.”

The nature of relationships is such that there is so much more involved than basic (logical or illogical) compatibility. There is an animal magnetism that is often unexplainable, a mutual understanding that goes far beyond any common beliefs, and a naturalness in their company that starts from the moment your eyes meet theirs. Well, there are a thousand variations on this theme, but you get the idea….

The same thinking could equally be applied to your career.

Thinking about your current job – are all your boxes ticked? I doubt it. Do you enjoy it? Possibly. Do you need every box to be ticked to love it? Absolutely not

A job is something that grows on you – you can learn to love it. Your relationship with your job is a lot more complex than a simple list of preferences. What you put in equates to what you get out – passion and determination are key ingredients for a love affair with your career.

Therefore, as the economy gets better, and more people start to think about making some strategic moves, it is worth bearing in mind that there is no perfect match for your next step either. When a company meets a candidate at interview, it will be extremely rare that they will meet every requirement. When a candidate considers their options of which company to join and which role to take, there will have to be certain compromises.

The more flexible you are initially, the more interesting possibilities open up. Companies could take a chance on seeing those candidates who aren’t perfect on paper – they may have that special something when you meet them. Candidates might choose to go to an interview that on paper might not seem ideal, only to understand that it was exactly the challenge that they were looking for.

This concept also applies to internal projects and change in job scope. Everyone enjoys being confident in what they are doing, but sometimes a change can bring out a new aspect to your abilities. It may not seem like a logical move to start with, but if you welcome the new activity with open arms, more often than not you will be adding a new string to your bow.

Everyone has career goals – that is very healthy. You might want to be a Sales Director one day, but there is no set path to get there. If you are flexible about your journey, then you are likely to become a far more rounded candidate. If, on the other hand, you only take on the projects and roles that are on your “list”, you will miss out on an awful lot of learning.

With the introduction of technology, the world of work is changing rapidly for many. New boxes to be “ticked” are appearing every day. Be open to as many new experiences as possible, and your career will undoubtedly benefit.

Your dream career might not quite be what you expected, but you will have every chance of getting there if you are more flexible in your expectations.