How The Best Brands Attract & Recruit The Best Finance Talent

No matter how many times you go through it, the hiring process always seems long, drawn-out, and tedious for all parties involved.

As the manager, you have to create a job posting, figure out where you’re going to post it, modify it for the platform, promote the position, recruit for the position, filter through multiple cover letters and résumés, interview, interview again… It’s a lot of work!

To top it off, the process rarely goes smoothly. And for many organizations, there doesn’t seem to be a surefire way to get a favorable outcome.

In our fast-paced world, and especially the fast-paced world of finance, efficiency is key—if we can automate something, we will! The less time we can spend doing administrative work (reading that résumé, sending that email, following up on that phone call), the more time we can spend meeting with our executive team, strategizing for annual goals, making important decisions and balancing the budget.

Well, what if we told you there are a few tried and tested measures you can put in place TODAY to filter your pool of candidates before their applications reach your desk and help you find the right fit the first time around?

Here are a few best practices, gathered from major organizations who are doing it well, to keep in mind when you embark on your next search for the best upcoming talent in the financial industry.

Build An Attractive & Inclusive Corporate Culture

Many companies underestimate the importance of maintaining a good company culture. It’s very easy to put culture on the back burner given all the other issues and decisions that business leaders have to deal with every day.

In a 2013 letter to his Airbnb team, co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky stressed the need to protect and promote their corporate culture:

The thing that will endure for 100 years, the way it has for most 100 year companies, is the culture. The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products.

Having a shared culture—a shared passion and belief system—keeps everyone on the same page and allows the company, as a whole, to run a lot more smoothly.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t talk about the group of workers who will make up the majority of our workforce in the next two years: millennials.

Millennials are the youngest generation in the workforce, and they’re doing a lot to reshape long-standing practices. According to Forbes, these are some of the core values that millennials prize more than their predecessors when it comes to organizational culture:

  • A sense of shared responsibilities/ownership

  • Flexible hours/work-life balance

  • Positive criticism

  • Office perks (e.g., gym access, healthy meal options, casual dress code)

This generation values purpose, professional growth and respect—and some would rather take a pay cut than work at a job that doesn’t align with their beliefs and needs. It’s important to consider these changing values when strategizing how to attract, recruit and retain new talent.

Another value that millennials cherish is diversity—and that means diversity of thought, as well as an inclusive environment. Millennials are the most racially diverse generation to date. About 43 percent of American millennials are non-caucasian, and that number grows annually, according to a 2014 Pew Research survey. But millennials don’t necessarily define diversity solely by class and color…

Take a look at this data compiled from a 2015 Deloitte report:

Infographic on Wants Of Employees.png

This graphic shows the dissimilarity in mindset between the generations when they hear the word “diversity.” It’s important to keep these generational differences in mind when engaging with a potential hire, millennial or otherwise.

Still, however your target demographic defines diversity, diversity in the sense of representation is still important and should not be overlooked.

Etsy, for example, has a great approach to corporate culture with a strong focus on the inclusion of underrepresented groups. They recognized a problem in their team dynamics that stemmed from a lack of female engineers, so they shifted their focus and their hiring process to attract more women. Here’s a framework that worked for them, which you can use as you recruit financial talent:

  • **Be serious, but inviting: **Don’t lower your standards, but do work to make the talent you want feel welcome.

  • Look for balance: Aim for a balance of traits (e.g., gender), a balance of skills, and a range of team sizes.

  • Optimize for building together: Focus on partnership and collaboration—“Let’s build things together” rather than “Let me prove to you how smart I am.”

  • Optimize for data gathering: Lots of data will make it easier to evaluate the results of your hiring changes.

  • Conduct your experiment publicly: Being open about your goals and the changes you’ve made to achieve them will keep you accountable.

**The bottom line: **Treat all your candidates fairly and equally. And if recruiting with a focus on diversity is new territory for you, be open to learning as you go, and educating the rest of your staff along the way.

Share Your Company Values & Mission

To touch again on the point from Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, prioritizing organizational culture means not just building it, but maintaining it—to constantly be living your values and holding everyone to the same standards.

But often there’s a disconnect, and people—both internal and external—don’t know what your company values are. That’s when you need to pause and ask yourself whether you’ve done a good enough job of communicating them.

In a Gallup report from 2013, only 46 percent of managers and 37 percent of lower-level employees strongly agreed that they knew what their company stood for. And this report indicates that less than half of workers worldwide feel strongly connected to their organization’s mission.

Not only do well-communicated values help guide your employees, but they can also help your recruitment and retention efforts. If your own employees don’t know what your company stands for, how can you expect those ideals to resonate with new hires? You cannot expect to attract the right talent if candidates can’t tell whether your values align with theirs.

Now, your mission statement: That is your ID card, your brand. It lets the public—and, therefore, potential candidates—get a sense of who you are, collectively, as a organization. If you’re clear in your purpose, you’ll attract the right people from the start, which will make your hiring process much easier. This will also help you hold on to your top employees long-term.

A Gallup report from 2014 found that a clearly communicated mission and purpose was the second most important factor for keeping employees, from ALL generations, from leaving their current workplace.

How about you? Do you know what your company stands for? This kind of messaging has to come from the top down, so take the time to reflect on it. Make sure that your practices align with the messages you’re trying to send, stay accountable, and lead by example.

Make It Easy For Great Talent To Find You

When someone embarks on a job hunt, they’re willing to exhaust all avenues in the search—between LinkedIn, Indeed and good ol’ fashioned Google searching, they’ll see endless job postings along the way.

How does your company stand out amid the noise? The trick is to reach potential hires in more unique and purposeful ways. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Be transparent about what you do: Not unlike vocalizing your mission, you must make your company and its services known. Have a clear ‘About’ page, keep your social media profiles up to date, and be reachable when potential recruits try to contact you.

  • Have a presence at corporate events: You won’t attract great talent unless people know who you are. Speak at, sponsor and attend events where talent might be spending time. This type of interaction creates a more lasting impression than an online ad.

  • Nurture past relationships: Keep in touch with old colleagues, peers, volunteer partners, etc. All of these people could prove to be valuable contacts when you are looking for new talent.

  • Share your job postings on multiple channels: Don’t limit your potential talent pool by posting your job to only one or two channels. Spread it across multiple job sites, networks and communities where your audience might be spending time.

Integrating these best practices into your current hiring efforts will help you stand out from the pack.

Embrace The Power Of Referrals

Referrals are important—yes, even for finance roles! Not only are they important for the applicant, but they equip you, the hiring manager, with valuable insights to make a more educated hiring decision.

This infographic, shared by The Undercover Recruiter, breaks it down:

The-Value-of-a-Referral-Infographic.png

As you can see, the highest quality applicants come through referrals. The referrer does not want to risk his or her reputation by suggesting a less-than-qualified candidate, and you can rest easier knowing that you’re relying on the word of someone you already know and trust. The effects translate across industries.

When was the last time you and your team hired through an employee referral? If you’re straining to remember, consider these tips going forward:

  • Make sure your team knows that you want referrals: Perhaps your staff haven’t handed you any referrals because they don’t know it’s something you’re open to. Make it known that their opinions matter and go to them first when you start your hiring process.

  • Offer internal rewards for quality referrals: Many companies offer incentives—monetary or otherwise—for employees to refer star performers. Create a referral program with guidelines that entice employees to refer but discourage over-saturation from any one entrant.

  • **Give your team the chance to network and meet new people: **A lot of referrals can come through volunteering and speaking engagements. Give your staff the freedom to get out into the community and attend industry-related events, student career expos and coffee chats that can help them source more leads for your organization.

  • **Make it easy for employees to make referrals: **Once you have a referral program in place, streamline the steps for submission. This will allow for more efficient submissions, easier tracking, and fewer headaches all around.

If you try the above and still find yourself stuck, the next step is to hire a great recruiter. The folks at Asana shared what they’ve found to be the key qualities of a great recruiter:

  • Someone who is incredibly driven

  • A story teller, someone who can pitch your company nearly as well as you can in a genuine way

  • A pattern of building entire teams and processes from the ground up

  • A desire to build the company the way the product team wants to build the product

  • Basic metrics that show they can recruit

Wrapping Things Up

Attracting finance talent is not that different from attracting talent in other industries. The key difference is recognizing that many Finance professionals aren’t going to have the same level of personal branding and online presence that you might find for a technical hire or marketer.

That’s why it’s so important to create a culture that is attractive. That’s why it’s so important to create an organization and vision that inspires both the internal team and external world. If you can do just a few things on this list, it’s likely that you’ll be better equipped to connect with the next wave of finance talent in a meaningful way.

To summarize:

  • Build a welcoming, quality corporate culture, ensure company-wide adoption, and regularly tweak it along the way.

  • Make sure your company’s mission and values are clearly articulated to the world.

  • Have an active presence in your industry and throughout your local and global communities.

  • Look to referrals as an easy and trustworthy way to fill positions.

As with anything of quality, you’ll need to spend time putting in the pre-work. Invest the time to build the reputation you desire for your organization. If you set yourself up to attract the best talent in finance, the process that follows will be more efficient and will yield the candidates you’re looking for.

Published March 23, 2018 in Financerecruiting

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