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Relentless interviews: the new reality for banking jobs in 2023

If you want a new banking job in 2023, you're going to have to interview. And you're going to have to interview a lot. As banks become more uncertain about hiring decisions, recruiters say that multiple interviews are increasingly being deployed as a delaying tactic. Sometimes they're a prelude to a hiring decision. Sometimes, they're not.

Meridith Fiedler Dennes, COO at New York search firm Harrison Rush Group, says some candidates are going to a succession of interviews only to discover that "the firm is not actively looking to bring anyone on in the near future." Headhunters in the UK have similar tales of woe. "I’ve got a whole lot of people interviewing like crazy, but there’s a not a lot going on," says one." Another London recruiter, says "processes have frozen" and "decision-making has slowed." Hiring is happening, but no one is busting a gut.

The exception to the lassitude seems to be when it comes to hiring from Credit Suisse, where something akin to a feeding frenzy is underway. "The spillout from Credit Suisse has created its own hiring momentum," says Russell Clarke at Figtree Search. Across the world, rival banks are all over Credit Suisse staff, trying to work out who's good, and who's not - but this too involves a lot of interviewing without much to show for it (yet).

The spanner in the hiring works is - needless to say - the collapse of Credit Suisse and SVB and worries about future rate rises, each of which have added hesitation to the process. Nonetheless, headhunters on both sides of the Atlantic stress that hires are getting over the line.

Yesterday's results from Jefferies (shown below) offer reasons for optimism. Even if investment banking revenues were down, things weren't going too badly for US banks' sales and trading business in the three months to February 2023: fixed income sales and trading revenues were up dramatically on last year.  The real question now is what happened from mid-March.

Jefferies' Q1 results:

Source: Jefferies

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • ph
    29 March 2023

    I'm long used to interview process taking a long time, but often it's because managers are incapable of making decisions. But far worse is the ghosting; firms and hiring managers that never tell you that you've been rejected, or do so a year later, or, months after an interview, provide absolutely no update, like whether you are still in the running. It doesn't help that poorly designed 'career' sites make it hard or impossible to even look up your status. I recently spent 20 minutes trying to find that on a top bank's career site. But I shouldn't complain; it's only been a month since the last interview.

    A semi recent trend - on LinkedIn, they added 'QuickApply'. You frequently tell whether that goes to the hiring company, or a 3rd party recruiter, and the actual company career site often has no record that you applied. So you don't know if it's real or a hoax.

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