Catherine Jack, Director of Asset Finance at THC Recruitment Ltd
I joined the wonderful Julie Ramsay and the THC Recruitment team in November 2019. Having over 20 years’ experience in financial services executive search both locally and internationally I thought I had seen plenty of challenges…roll forward to July 2021 and here we are! Asset Finance is a truly niche marketplace, and that can lead to a number of challenges for recruiting – a lack of diversity, preconceptions from candidates about organisations from third-party conversations, Chinese whispers leading to lack of confidentiality and a demand exceeds supply candidate pool. This cuts across all areas of the sector – from brokers to funders and the tech platform providers. Coming out of any of the previous global economic and catastrophic disasters that we have experienced over the last few decades, every business needs both a tactical and a strategic approach. In my experience hiring becomes a real issue and we are already seeing that – you need good tactical hiring to deliver what you need to do today but you also need to think strategically about your purpose and your future plans and hire to that plan. It’s paramount too, that every shortlist is a true representation of the diversity in mindset and skillset in our communities for you to keep innovating. That requires an experienced recruitment partner who not only knows the marketplace but also understands your business challenges and can advise you on the best approach which may not be the one you have always used and may need you to think differently about how you work with that recruiter. We are seeing an increase in demand as we move out of the tactical hiring of the last 18 months – mainly within collections, recoveries, finance, legal and compliance and now into an increased demand for experienced Credit and Risk – both in the first and second line of defence and also business development – across the board, from the experienced hires as you would imagine but also, which has been great to see, more development roles for junior sales. The key to hiring strategically now is to plan where you can but also to look at different ways of attracting the best people in the market.
We are now in a candidate-driven market for a lot of roles. Companies are looking for the same skillsets and in a niche marketplace, the good candidate knows their worth and will be very specific about their requirements. These top candidates are not actively looking for a new role, they are what we call the ‘passive’ candidate – happy in their role, challenged, well-remunerated but if the right opportunity came along then they would consider a career move. The usual process of advertising, colleague referrals, and going to a large number of agencies to hire these people is unlikely to succeed. It may happen but the timeframes could be long and the hiring company loses control of the process. The only way to make sure you have access to this talent pool ahead of your competitors is to run it as a project – take control of it, approach the individuals through a confidential third party who is able to represent you, your brand, and the opportunity in the best light. Someone who knows the industry but who has the capability to be impartial and thorough. You will secure your diverse candidates within your timeframes and a committed business partner focused on delivery.
Candidates are naturally wary and hesitant as you would imagine, they need to feel confident that confidentiality is maintained and that there is a consistency of message. The key to hiring strategically now is to plan where you can but also to look at different ways of attracting the best people in the market. The headhunting methodology is not the domain of executive search – it is fundamentally necessary where demand exceeds supply and your talent pool is narrow and your hiring needs are business-critical.
Added value from your recruitment partner
- Interim Specialists – not just to transform a back-office function but also to help you pull together your new strategic plans, build a collections and recoveries team, professionalise your HR and People plans, look at new potential Partnership opportunities… and more.
- Talent Mapping – researching a particular market/skillset on your behalf, providing a comprehensive outline of the talent pool, salaries, geographies, motivations and drivers. Enabling you to build the right costs into your strategic hiring plans and move quickly to approach the individuals when the time is right.
- Team builds – hiring a number of key people quickly and efficiently, remote on-boarded, compliance screened and checked – particularly within collections and recoveries.
- Diversity – shortlists that represent the communities you partner with, looking outside your previous ‘go to’ markets, thinking laterally about where the skillsets and mindsets of good people could come from.
It is our role as your consultant in the talent marketplace to help you address these challenges, but we need your support to do so, partner with us, give us the commitment to deliver a quality service.