How to best increase your chances in the recruitment process
Jade Harvey, Recruitment Consultant, provides insightful advice to those seeking employment after school or university
When it comes to job hunting, it’s really hard to decide what you want to do and then know how to position yourself; particularly within the ultra competitive nature of the graduate job market. The gap between university and the skills you need for the commercial world makes the process even more difficult.
With the average number of CVs per graduate or internship role often running into the hundreds, it’s important that your CV is clear, concise and showcases your skills in an accessible way, so using bullet points instead of prose, as well as putting the most relevant information first on your CV is the best approach. It is important to include any work experience, even if it’s not in a relevant industry, and also any hobbies and interests as these demonstrate the skills and competencies you will bring into a company and will be one of the key areas where you can differentiate yourself from other applicants. Relevant work experience is hard to come by so recruiters don’t expect to see this, however, even something seemingly unrelated to fund management for example, such as a supermarket checkout job, would be relevant for a graduate programme role as it demonstrates a number of skills, not least the ability to deal with a very diverse array of people.
I have been in recruitment for 10 years and I do read CVs, I don’t gloss over them and I certainly don’t screen people in or out based on the institution they have attended. I am looking at the quality of the academics, however we are also looking for a validation of skills such as resilience and teamwork and we are not expecting people to be picture perfect as that is not what we need. We look for more well-rounded people who can effectively build relationships, influence, assimilate information, and make good, well-reasoned decisions. Any kind of activity you’ve been involved in, any kind of sports team, amateur dramatics group or hobby shows your proactivity and skills acquisition outside of academics, this demonstrates the unwritten skills development that we require of our graduates.
If you are thinking about fund management in particular, conviction coupled with humility are essential attributes. The ability to make a decision when the stakes are high, in the absence of certainty and the presence of risk, is something of a skill that it seems university does not teach effectively, and therefore budding investment analysts should take opportunities to develop these characteristics, whether it be through virtual investment games, or through other means such as university societies or leadership roles. You’ve got to have that resilience and capability to justify your actions but also take responsibility for your decisions, even when they are wrong. It is evidence of these behaviours that we often look for in applicants to this industry.
Similarly, commercial awareness is a non-negotiable requirement; if you want to work with the markets you need to follow and develop your passion for them as well as your understanding.
While good academics is a bit of a given, we are also looking for signs of someone who is developing a sophisticated grasp of the financial markets, and who will be able to make decisions that hopefully beat the market. We want to see evidence that you don’t just read the papers but that you interpret the information and form opinion with conviction. We are information rich, what we need are people who have a unique way of thinking and interpreting the data.
The recruitment process
Graduate and internship application processes tend to be made of various stages before the interviews or assessment centres take place. This is to allow the company to gather evidence of the candidates’ aptitude, and helps differentiate one candidate from another in the absence of experience, which more senior level recruitment processes rely on.
Stages such as numerical reasoning, testing and video interviews help recruiters filter down and find evidence of skills and behaviours that are suitable for the role.
What makes someone stand out?
Poor preparation for an interview is one of the key areas that candidates fall down on. Simple things like understanding the business, its unique selling points, and really understanding what they do and why they do it are essential and yet commonly poorly understood by candidates attending an interview. Don’t just memorise the first page of the website, engage with the information and through it form a commercial perspective such as, why do clients choose this business, how does the business create value for both itself, its clients and its shareholders, and then think about the specifics of what you’ve applied for and how that role adds value to the business. How are you going to help and contribute to the business and what is the purpose of the job.
The resources on the internet are phenomenal and will really help you to develop your understanding and grasp of this; it just takes research and preparation. Schroders and Cazenove Capital produce a wealth of information to help people understand the business and market perspectives, so make the most of YouTube, Twitter and the internet to build your knowledge and develop your insights.
Your thought processes:
• Interviewers are trying to get behind your prepared answer to understand a little more of how you think. Don’t be afraid to give conviction behind an answer or get things wrong.
• How do you construct an argument and what is your rationale?
• What are the pros and cons?
• We need people to make decisions.
Most importantly, be yourself
Social media: rules of engagement
1. ‘Google’ yourself – Make sure you know what is on the internet about yourself. You can see this easily by searching your name; doing this gives you a good idea of where to start when it comes to managing your online presence.
2. Take control – Social media is by nature about sharing and engaging with others, but it’s important to utilise social media account privacy settings to manage where possible what information is available.
3. Think before you post – Always consider your audience, anything you wouldn’t want your existing or potential employer to see is probably not appropriate for social media.
4. Be aware of digital and social media policies – Familiarise yourself with corporate policy (where applicable); make sure that you aren’t posting anything that poses a risk to the company’s reputation or even breaches the security and compliance regulations.
5. Join the “world’s largest professional network” – It’s really useful to have a LinkedIn account set up, it can work as a digital CV and employers will often use it to recruit by posting about available roles and researching candidates.
This article is issued by Cazenove Capital which is part of the Schroder Group and a trading name of Schroder & Co. Limited, 1 London Wall Place, London EC2Y 5AU. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Nothing in this document should be deemed to constitute the provision of financial, investment or other professional advice in any way. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested. This document may include forward-looking statements that are based upon our current opinions, expectations and projections. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. All data contained within this document is sourced from Cazenove Capital unless otherwise stated.