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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Job availability in the City up 51% as 2013 drew to a close

The City continues to move in a positive direction for job hunters according to this month’s Morgan McKinley London Employment Monitor. Despite the number of job opportunities decreasing by 42% from November to December, the year-on-year data paints a more positive picture with job availability rising by 51%.

The number of available roles dropped from 7,056 in November to 4,095 in December last year, however this can be attributed to the fact that City recruitment is always faced with a number of challenges during December. There are typically only three weeks of core business before organisations shut down for Christmas, and in December the situation was further exacerbated because certain organisations were encouraging their contractor population to take extended leave in order to maintain their cost base.  In addition, while some institutions had budgets signed off in December, many have waited until the New Year to release vacancies.

Looking specifically at the types of placements being made in December, the volume once again came largely from governance related positions – which are plentiful given the on-going regulatory changes – as well as roles across support, finance, IT and change management.

Our Employment Monitor also reveals that the average salary increase for those securing new jobs in December was 27%, compared to 15% the previous month. There were only two other occasions throughout 2013 when average salary increases exceeded 20% – January and August.  These shorter and often considered quieter trading months, point to more senior level, niche recruitment taking place.

After last year’s positive results, we expect the encouraging news to continue throughout the year. January is historically a time when we see a massive boost in recruitment and this month looks to be no different. This, coupled with the improvements in the EU – in particular Ireland exiting the international bailout program and returning back to bond markets and Greece’s economy stabilising – should see a positive knock on effect for City employment

Hakan Enver, Director of Financial Services

Morgan McKinley

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Financial firms add 10,000 jobs, putting optimism at its highest since the mid 90′s

In the third quarter, financial services firms in the UK added around 10,000 jobs and are looking to add a further 2,000 by the end of the year.

According to the CBI/PwC survey, this has put optimism in this sector at its highest level in the last 17 years.

This aside, the Financial Services Survey from the CBI this quarter showed that the business volumes actually fell by a small margin, but expectations for the following quarter are at their highest since 2010. found that the lastest Robert Walters European Job Index showed financial services leading the way in the sector last month as UK job adverts rose in all sectors. Another survey from InterExec last week revealed a 38% year-on-year ride in unadvertised executive vacancies in 2013 in the financial services.

Deborah Silver, Innovantage



Innovantage are specialists in hiring demand data collection and normalisation, tracking job postings across 150 job boards and over half a million corporate web sites.The resulting database of 100 million advertised opportunities, charted over five years, is the most comprehensive aggregation of the intricate details of the UK labour market demand in existence. They use this data to deliver a range of products to recruitment and talent markets that help to better inform their business decisions by allowing them to base them on fact. To find out more about Innovantage go to their website:

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A Buoyant Market for Operations Recruitment

James Manders, Head of Operations Recruitment at the Twenty Recruitment Group, provides a brief synopsis of the current Financial Operations recruitment market

There seems to be a perception in the market still that financial services businesses are still struggling to either make more revenues or cut costs further, to the annoyance of some loyal and very effective employees.

Whilst this may be the case with certain recruitment businesses, we are finding the market to be completely the opposite with entrepreneurial businesses still demanding quality experienced candidates to cover the shortfall in their teams.

These businesses include Banks, Wealth Managers, Brokers and in particular, the Clearing Houses or Exchanges, which comes as no surprise,  given the recent announcements of Dodd Frank, EMIR, CASS and FACTA. It is worth noting that regulatory changes mean that long gone are the days of vanilla settlements clerks and, with automation, these roles are changing into Transaction Reporting and Risk /Controls focussed responsibilities.

Thus far this year, there has been an incredible demand for data orientated candidates, as well as candidates with language specialisms. But most interesting of all, is the increase in the number of  roles at the Head of Operations level –  which clearly is communicating that businesses are thinking about their strategies and processes at all levels, including incumbent changes at the top senior/executive levels – very reminiscent of the 2007 boom.

With knowledge and industry expertise, it’s no wonder that clients keep returning to Twenty’s Operations team to help them provide rhetoric and market intelligence to their recruitment needs. We also provide a quality service that we are proud to publish so all our clients and in particular candidates can view. Twenty also hold the only group on Linked In for Operations Managers based in London. James alone has over 3,000 connections on Linked In, and broadcasts all roles through his updates.

Please see the below the promise we make to every candidate on our database – the reasons why clients come to Twenty, as a genuine extension of their talent sourcing process:

* Every role we receive will be forwarded via email to everyone who comes up in our search results and onto out LinkedIn page for maximum attention. This will include either a link to CityJobs or a Spec for the role.

* If you call us for a general update, we will do our best to return the call within 24 hours.

* We will keep you up to date on every role that you apply for, even if it is just an email at the end of the process so you can close it out.

* We will always provide honest feedback after your interviews to help you the next time if unsuccessful.

* If we haven’t already, we will meet you before any interview to make sure you have some personal assistance in you preparation. We will also speak at least to every hiring manager that you do, to aid your application.

* We will live by our 3 core values which are Life’s Short, be Eclectic and Crystal Clear. What does this mean for you – it means we will always provide you honest and transparent rhetoric, as well as the best professional service and enthusiasm to help at all times.

* Try our very best to help everyone that is looking for work and use our industry expertise to help identify the most relevant opportunities.

* You will receive a phone call from a member of our team as often as possible to make sure the details we have for you are as up to date as possible.

Whilst we cannot promise to be able to help everyone who is looking for work, it is our intention to achieve this for as many of you as possible. We want to be seen as a trusted recruitment partner to the Operations industry, and whilst many larger financial institutions are toying with the idea of offshoring certain Operations or Middle Office departments, the SME market that Twenty specialise in has remained and looks certain to be buoyant for the remainder of the year and certainly into 2014. We have increase our specialised staff by 300% in the last 6 months to cope with the volumes of roles and extra administration / processes that our clients are demanding.

With extra specialisms covering the Buy Side and Contract assignments, the future isn’t bright, it is Twenty.

Twenty recruitment have just released their new website which can viewed here

James Manders, 27 Sept. 2013


James is a seasoned recruiter with a wealth of experience within the Operations and Middle Office market – a sector he has recruited within for the last eight years with a range of boutique and specialist consultancies. He is extremely knowledgeable about his specialist area and has built relationships with institutions large and small both in the UK and internationally. His recruiting experience is backed up by first hand operations experience with Merrill Lynch, Mizuho and JP Morgan. He joined Twenty in April 2012 to head up the permanent and temporary Operations and Middle Office team.

James is jumping out of a plane in November to raise money and awareness for this year’s chosen charity, Teenage Cancer Trust. You can support him at


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