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How financial services companies recruit their staff

Thinking of getting into the financial sector and wondering how the recruitment process works, but not sure how? Whether you are looking to work for guarantor lenders, investment bank or big shot accountancy firm. It may be the case that a business needs an interim candidate for a high powered position or head of department and this for example, will throw up different challenges to a company looking for a fresh graduate candidate (source: Interim Partners).

Well, you’ve come to the right place. We take a look at the various ways in which financial services recruit their staff, so you can give yourself the very best chance of getting a position.

Who are the main graduate financial employees in the UK?

In the UK, the top financial services and accountancy firms are considered to be:

  • PwC
  • KPMG
  • EY
  • Deloitte

When it comes to investment banking, top companies include:

  • The Goldman Sachs Group
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Citigroup
  • Barclays Investment Bank
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Deutsche Bank

The vetting process

Recruitment in the financial industry can differ to other types of skilled employment. The vetting process, for example, is one of the main ways the financial sector is different (source: BrightPool).

Generally speaking, when you apply for a job, you submit a CV, possibly an application form too, and then if you have been successful, the next stage that usually follows is possibly having a phone or face-to-face interview.  Whilst this process can undeniably pose stress for the applicant, the general job applying process is fairly simple and straightforward. Similarly, this applies to the employer too, who will usually decide whether you are the right person for the position based on factors such as the skills that you already have, and your performance in an interview.

However, when it comes to the financial sector this can differ. If you are applying for a ole where you will need to handle third-party financial transactions or handle money, it is a governmental regulation that you must undergo a vetting process.

Usually, this means that you will need a clear credit history in order to pass the vetting process and secure a position. This means having a positive credit score in order to be successful. Otherwise, it is more than likely that your job application will almost certainly automatically be rejected if you have a negative score, regardless of all the skills or potential value you would add to the business.

There are other rigid regulations to take account

For the banking and financial services markets, there are also other regulations that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to the recruitment process in the sector.  The considerable amount of external intervention, as well as looming Brexit negotiations, means that securing excellent candidates is becoming increasingly difficult due to the prospect of upheaval.

Completing psychometric tests

Across Europe, completing psychometric tests as part of the application process in the finance sector has been extremely important. These are used by recruiters to help identify a potential candidates knowledge, personality and skill set. These tests are often carried out in the screening stage, or as part of an assessment centre.  There are two types of testing when it comes to psychometric tests. The first type is personality based. There are lots of variations of this sort of exam – such as the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)  or the Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ). more often than not, the financial sector relies more heavily on ‘aptitude tests’. This refers to questions relating to your cognitive ability, and assesses the following:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Error checking
  • Diagrammatic reasoning
  • Spatial reasoning

These tests will usually take place under exam conditions in an assessment centre (or online) and you will usually need to achieve a certain score in order to move onto the next stage. It is possible to do practice tests in advance – online there are often variations of these tests available.

Vocational finance qualifications are important

Whilst many of the largest financial services in the UK offer both work placements and graduate schemes (with usually a requirement of a 2:1 or a certain number of UCAS points) it is also important to note the special financial qualifications can be viewed by some employers as far more important than a degree.

However, some schemes will offer you the opportunity to study for a qualification whilst having a contract with them. For example, certain accountancy employers will offer the opportunity of getting a recognised qualification with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) whilst also being a part of their graduate scheme.

Other qualifications you can get in the financial sector include becoming a mortgage adviser, which requires having a CeMap qualification, or if you become a Financial Adviser you will usually be required to work towards a level 4 qualification. This is a huge advantage of working in the financial services, as you can not only build on the skillset you already possess but acquire new skills too.

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