Fund finance and the virtual interview: Here to stay?

brickfieldBy brickfield02/19/20214 Minutes

The pace that we have all adopted virtual meetings over the last year has been impressive. The financial and legal industries especially have managed to mitigate the effects of lockdowns and social distancing to a very high degree by embracing change and reacting appropriately to ever-changing circumstances.

This has also meant that one of the most important types of meeting most of us ever attend – the job interview – has gone online. So, now that we’re all doing it, albeit while not necessarily preferring it to the traditional setting, will we continue interviewing virtually in the post-COVID world?

The message from the candidates and clients we work with has been an overwhelming yes. At the beginning of the pandemic, we like, all other recruitment specialists, were highly curious as to how the industry would handle the switch to the virtual environment. In our debriefs with clients and candidates it quickly became apparent that none felt it had a negative impact on the interview’s success or failure, or on the ability of either side to express themselves positively.

What also became apparent early on was that candidates greatly valued the positive aspects of virtual interviews – the fact that they no longer had to book significant blocks of time for in-person interviews meant a far greater degree of flexibility, not only for the candidates but the prospective employer as well.

For both sides, the virtual environment has also proven to lend itself to informal discussions that would be more difficult to schedule in person. The fund finance industry is fortunately a relatively small one in terms of headcount, and is also a close knit community where people have often already had personal contact prior to being in a potential hiring situation together. Having already met the interviewers also helps candidates feel more at ease, but also helps clients when vetting candidates in that they are often not making decisions based entirely on the virtual experience.

At the moment, the overall expectation among the law firms and banks we work with is that while in-person interviews will undoubtedly return at some point, they are more likely to be reserved for late-stage and final interviews, with virtual meetings the norm for informal and early-stage discussions. The convenience and cost savings are too great for there to be any way back.

But whatever the final balance between in-person and virtual turns out to be, everyone is going to welcome a return to being able talk face-to-face once again. As one of our senior bank sources recently said: “Much like ‘office work’ in general, remote recruitment is here to stay and will be a part of the process – there are some advantages, after all. But hopefully we’ll still be able to see actual people in person soon”.

Brickfield is the only international talent acquisition specialist dedicated to fund finance. If you are seeking to grow your fund finance team, or if you are looking to move to a new position in the space, contact Rory Smith at Brickfield Recruitment by emailing [email protected] or by telephone on +44 7800 963 594.