Conducting a successful job interview in the City

In major Cities the number of applicants for a single role can be overwhelming, especially in the financial sector. Once you have filtered through the pile of CVs on offer, there are several important factors to keep in mind when you interview, to ensure you secure that vital talent.


As a recruiter you need to be familiar with what questions you are and aren’t allowed to ask a potential candidate, steer clear of any questions that may be deemed inappropriate or in some cases even illegal.

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Flexible working; what it means for CityJobs

flexible working

The impending changes to Flexible Working won’t have escaped you. From Monday 30 June, any employee that has worked for a firm for 26 weeks or more has the right to request flexible work. Gone are any caveats around dependants or long-term illness, which opens up flexible working to all employees regardless of gender or family. 

The reaction in the City has been mixed, it’s worth noting that the UK is the last European country to come into line with this work change and that we have resisted flexible working changes twice before, under both Labour and the Conservatives. Debates around greater flexibility in working hours and how this impacts productivity and economic recovery abound; however those of us who work in the City are traders or have ever sold to foreign markets will be all too familiar with the timeliness of flexible work…

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Female boardroom quotas: Germany climbs aboard while the UK fights EU positive discrimination

British companies’ reluctance to appoint women to boardroom positions – and the government’s inaction to force through change – was drawn into sharp focus this week when the European Parliament voted overwhelming for proposals to force big companies to fill 40% of non-executive posts with women and Germany, which had long objected to quotas, said it would force its companies to have 30% female boards by 2016.
We asked Rupert Neate – who is currently reporting from Berlin – to explain why Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has changed its position on the quota while Britain is refusing to crack the glass ceiling.

Just six months ago Angela Merkel, the German chancellor and most powerful person in Europe, lead the opposition to a proposal that would have forced German companies to fill their boards with at least 20% women by 2018. As recently as this summer, Germany joined Britain in campaigning against the European commission’s proposal for a legally-enforced 40% quota.

But it was all change this week. Merkel’s CDU party, which lost its coalition partner in September’s election, was this week forced into agreeing to introduce a 30% female quota for listed German companies’ supervisory boards within three years.

Before the announcement had even been publicly made Merkel was attacked by Germany’s all-powerful car industry, who she is well-known for going to great lengths to defend from European Union proposals to crackdown on carbon dioxide emissions.

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Attracting and Interviewing Passive Talent

This is a subject I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, but I’ve been prompted in to action after seeing the following Tweet last week:


‘Passive talent’ is a phrase I’m sure anyone involved in recruitment & hiring will be very familiar with, but for the benefit of those new to hiring, it’s a catch-all phrase to describe high calibre potential employees who are not actively looking for a career move, but who might move if the right opportunity were to find them.

It’s widely accepted that around 80% of the workforce in the UK (or 79% worldwide according to those in the know at LinkedIn) fall in to the category of being ‘passive’, whilst the remainder are those who are proactively searching for a move.

When searching for the best available talent for a vacancy, it therefore makes sense to be fishing from both ponds, rather than just posting an advert online and hoping that the best candidate will fall within the 20%. Another widely held view is that the 80% contains a higher proportion of quality candidates – those who are most effective in their given role, and are therefore well rewarded and happier in their existing employment.

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Retail ring-fencing could lead to compliance hiring headaches

The recent Vickers report calling for the ring fencing of high street banking operations from their investment banking arms may have fallen short of the full separation that Vince Cable was calling for but could still cause hiring headaches in the years ahead.

The skill sets required will be very different for any potential separate departments.  While from an investment banking perspective, compliance professionals have had to be front office facing in a business partner capacity, the banks would also need a more audit and control approach to deal with the financial segregation aspects.

So even though the ring fence is not as tight as had been feared an element of rebalancing will be required if compliance functions are to cover both investment and retail operations.  Those compliance professionals who have been hired specifically for an investment bank may not have all the correct skills for the retail banking side as typically, compliance officers specialise in investment or retail specific compliance rules and products.

The upshot is that against a backdrop of ever evolving regulatory change (Dodd-Frank, MiFID 2, RDR, change of regulators etc), it’s a rather challenging time.  There’s a fairly broad skill set required at present – it’s a far more strategic role than the old box ticking image and the real need is going to be for those who can offer regulatory interpretation. Consequently, candidates will need to be objective and flexible in their approach and job search, in this ever-changing market and employers are going to have to define what they need with the utmost care.

Michelle Myers is Head of Compliance at Twenty Recruitment

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