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02:02 PM
Alan Geller
Alan Geller
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Trust & Commitment In Today's Financial Services Industry

We know that consumers don't trust financial services firms, but The Caring Recruiter points out that financial services industry employees don't even trust each other.

Editor's Note: Alan Geller, managing director at AG Barrington, will write a regular column titled "The Caring Recruiter."

After reading the following email exchange you may simply think that it's just an example of what happens when a job candidate removes himself or herself from consideration for an opportunity. "Suck it up," some of you might say, "it's a harsh business."

Harsh business or not, this is the third time in two weeks that I've witnessed this type of behavior from financial services industry professionals that mysteriously vanish as quickly as they appear -- not caring one iota about the wreckage left in their wake.

Similarly, it seems that many hiring managers don't care a whole lot either. As a managing director of a global stock exchange recently confided to me: "I'll go through the motions for them (his employer) but I honestly don't care. Why? Because they don't care."

I'm sorry, if we truly don't want another subprime mortgage crisis, or another Ponzi scheme and/or another insider trading scandal to occur anytime soon, someone needs to care!

I urge you to look beneath the surface here to the confusion, distrust and opaqueness that characterize the financial services industry as a whole. An economy can be said to be the sum total of its transactions and transactions are driven by individuals.

What will you do when you're in a meeting with your senior management or a client and doing the right thing is thrown out the window for expediency because "that's the way we've always done it around here?" Will you go with the flow? Or, will you not take the path of least resistance and actually do something about the situation?

The lack of consideration, which translates to a lack of trust, is found throughout the industry. Recently, I received this short note from a candidate:


I appreciate the time you spent discussing the opportunity with me. After careful consideration I've decided this is not an opportunity I would like to pursue at the moment. Again, I appreciate your taking the time and the conversation.

In response to this candidate, I sent the following reply:

Dear Candidate,

I mean this sincerely and with all due respect. Up until now I've lived up to my word:

1. I presented you with the high-level details of an opportunity that you said that you were "definitely interested in."

2. Based on your "definite interest" I then forwarded you the specifics about the opportunity.

3. We spent approximately half an hour discussing your professional reasons for wanting to leave your present position (at a leading multi-billion dollar global financial technology provider) due to your perceived "lack of advancement and growth potential within your division."

4. We discussed the Solution Architecture opportunity in-depth, which you stated that you wanted to pursue and I attempted to obtain specific information about your background, skills and accomplishments which would enable me to present you in the best possible light.

5. For the second time, you expressed interest in pursuing the opportunity and explicitly committed to forwarding your resume for formal consideration.

When a representative from an admired, Fortune 100 organization such as yours makes a business commitment, I take it seriously and fully expect them to live up to their word.

I find this behavior disappointing. As financial services industry professionals, our stated commitments need to mean something. Progress cannot substantially be made by individuals whose unwritten creed is to take two steps backward for every step forward.

There's no need to go back on one's word. Life shouldn't be so uncertain that professionally we simply cannot accept the word of our fellow man (or woman) at face value.

In response to my email, I received the following:


I apologize if I may have made you feel that you've wasted your time.

Fearing the candidate was missing my point, I replied:

Dear Candidate,

This isn't about wasting my time. This is about honoring your word.

Tell me: What practical basis do we have to move forward together if you're the type of individual that reconsiders your commitments so quickly?

What if an employer made you a commitment in the form of an offer to join their firm and you accepted and resigned from your current position only to receive an email the next morning that, "after careful consideration we've decided to rescind your offer?"

Please consider the impact on lives and the unnecessary inconvenience that such next day consideration causes to others.

Do you think the industry is suffering from a lack of trust? Let me know in the comments below.

Alan Geller is the Managing Director of AG Barrington, a specialized financial technology recruitment and placement firm. View Full Bio
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