In addition to using online job sites and personal networking, another resource that will pay off in your hedge fund job search is working with executive recruiters. The best recruiters know people at many of the top hedge funds and often hear about job opportunities that are not revealed publicly.
Cultivate relationships with one or two highly competent recruiters early in your hedge fund career, and maintain these relationships even if you’re not actively looking for a job.
Instead of waiting to get a call from a headhunter, be proactive and actively research, qualify and approach recruiters with the best reputations. Ask friends, relatives and business colleagues for their recommendations. Check out industry associations for recruiters who are members, and see whether the association itself has any formal relationship with recruitment firms. Check out the top recruiters’ profiles on their web pages and LinkedIn or Facebook pages. Then approach them as carefully as you would approach a prospective employer.
You will also meet recruiters by being visible in your industry. They will notice you from articles you’ve written, postings on blogs, and participation in industry events and networking groups.
Keep in mind there are two types of recruiters: retained and contingency. Some recruiters are retained by a firm to fill an open position and paid a set fee for the placement. Others work on contingency, meaning they only get paid if they happen to find the right candidate who is eventually hired. They receive a percentage of the salary paid to the new hire as their fee.
Both types of recruiters are interested in finding a candidate who fits the specific criteria set out by the hiring firm. They will turn to their existing database of candidates first. Some may work their network of people who are currently working in the hedge fund industry, to see if they can lure them to a new firm. Last on the food chain would be newcomers approaching them with their resumes.
Nevertheless, try to meet in person with the recruiter so you can both get an idea of the chemistry and whether you can work together. A face-to-face meeting also gives the recruiter an idea of your personality and ability to present yourself, something that can overcome limitations in your experience or the lack of a “brand name” school or company on your resume. Don’t be surprised if the interview moves beyond typical questions about your work experience or goals and explores your personal background, why you are interested in finance, early influences, and more.
Be sure to share information about where else you’ve interviewed and other jobs you’re applying for. Recruiters probably know people at these organizations. If your interview went well at one particular firm, they probably know other firms with similar people and culture.
You need to interview the recruiter as well. How long has he or she specialized in the hedge fund industry? What type of firms does he have as clients?
Next time, we’ll look at some tips for working more effectively with hedge fund recruiters.