FORMER TOP HEADHUNTER LAYS OUT HIS STRATEGY FOR LANDING THE BEST JOBS IN BANKING

How a Savvy Banker Changes Jobs in 2022...

... Instead of Just Waiting to be Recruited and 
"Hoping for the Best." (What most do.)
RESULTS: 207 bankers who took advantage of the process I'm about to outline were studied for this piece. 192 of them (about 93%) reported that after 18 months into their new position - they would accept the job again even with the benefit of hindsight.

High-performing bankers who are "in the know" have abandoned the common but old-fashioned ways of changing jobs...

(These include - chatting up former colleagues about jobs at their new bank, allowing themselves to be recruited, or even applying for jobs directly...)

...in favor of a new method that allows them to consider a variety of opportunities, research them thoroughly, and ultimately choose the bank that makes the most sense for them.

                                 The new method is called... The Commodity Reversal.

What the heck is that?

I know. Sounds weird. But once you read all of the details here... 

...you'll be clear on exactly what it is and why it's transformed how the best bankers manage their careers. 

Let's put a pin in that for a second.

First off, if you're a commercial banker and a pretty decent one at that...

Congrats! Other banks would love to hire you.

Right now... commercial bankers are in higher demand than ever!
 
Beyond the unyielding nature of shareholder pressure for banks to drive up revenue...

The demographics of bankers are going through a never before seen transition period.

Baby boomers are retiring en masse and there aren't enough young people coming up to replace them.

This has created fierce competition in the marketplace for folks like you.

I doubt this comes as much surprise based on the amount of LinkedIn messages and e-mails you've been getting from those pesky errr - enthusiastic recruiters!

***Full disclosure - I spent the first 13 years of my career as a recruiter before discovering The Commodity Reversal.***

The problem with allowing yourself to be recruited is that it often leads to you making a job change that you come to regret. 

That's because the recruiting cycle is an inherently flawed process. 

It's flawed for all parties involved. (except maybe the recruiter)

It's flawed for banks because it often leads to hiring a bad fit which in turn leads to high turnover.

But let's focus on how it impacts you.

Leaving yourself vulnerable to being recruited will often lead to you having to make a rash decision on something of extreme importance... 

                                                                         ...based on incomplete information.

Think about it...

When you're interviewing with a bank... 

...it's just normal for both you AND THE BANK to present the best version of yourselves. 

The candidate always seems to take the rap for embellishing during the interview but almost always... 

...the bank is painting the rosiest picture of themselves as well.

So you're usually walking away with about half the story.

Then you're pressured to say yes to an offer as they have other candidates "waiting in the wings."

Or...

You just allow the bank to dictate the interview process in a way that leads to them making you an offer...

...but still not giving you a full picture of what you're getting yourself into.

This leads to you making a leap of faith and accepting a new job... 

...but then having that sinking feeling of regret in the pit of your stomach bubble to the surface as soon as you try to get your first deal through... 

...when you realize too late that their approval process is a nightmare.

But you suck it up and deal with it because... 

...you don't want your referral sources to think you're nuts by jumping right away to yet another bank.

Sound familiar?

This then leads to you being unfulfilled with your work...that thing you spend most of your time doing.

Which can lead to erosion of your health, your wealth, and just a general sense of pride in what you do.

More importantly... (and perhaps the most unfortunate) is that it tends to take a toll on the relationships with those around you that you value the most.

No fun.

             Alright, let's move on.

Let me ask you something...

Don't you think it's crazy that most folks will scour the reviews on their next $50 Amazon purchase...

... yet, they're willing to leave something like choosing their next job to chance??

Yeah? Ok. If you accept that premise...

Then is it not LUNACY that if you're actually a good enough banker...

... that several banks would make you offers if they knew you might be available...

AND YOU STILL LEFT IT TO CHANCE?!

By the way... I'm not calling YOU a lunatic... because it's not your fault.

It's likely you aren't aware of any other way to change jobs than what you've always done and what you see most of your peers do.

There are just no obvious options for you to take advantage of the fact that you're in demand in order to land the best possible job.

If you're a high-performer... you're not gonna reach out to banks directly.

That gives off a smidgen of desperation and you're not interested in being lumped in with the masses... 

...and being treated like just any other candidate.

So you just wait for something interesting to come your way.

That makes sense.

But like the masses you're trying to avoid being lumped in with...

                                 ...you're still making a reactive job move. 

Reacting to whoever is trying to recruit you at a given moment.

And again - exposing yourself to the potential risk of ending up in a job you might regret.

OK - point made. (hopefully)

Are you open to considering a different approach?

I encourage you to adopt a proactive strategy... 

... a strategy that positions you as an in-demand free agent... (not an applicant)

...allows you to examine opportunities at multiple banks... 

... and ultimately come to an informed decision based on whatever factors are most important to you.

      Sound good?
  
8 years ago I made the decision to stop recruiting bankers and start REPRESENTING them.

Why?

I had reached a point in my career in which I was one of the top banking recruiters in the US. 

(At least based on annual search fees generated.)

Yet, I was completely burnt out and over it.

I was waking up every morning just dreading the thought of peeling myself out of bed and going to work.

I think what wore on me was that deep down I knew that in order for me to be successful at my job...

... I had to convince people to trust a process that I had come to discover had serious flaws.

I noticed a pattern emerge whenever I had a really good candidate.

                     I would engage in a conspiracy of sorts with the bank I was recruiting for.

We'd say things like...

"We gotta do what we can to make sure the candidate accepts the offer before we lose them."

I didn't want to lose out on my fee if the candidate chose to go to a bank that wasn't going to pay me.

So I'd do everything in my power to speed up the process in order to reduce the risk of losing them.

I wasn't trying to be a slimeball. But it's just human nature to worry about your own interests.

(Now also consider that banks have an interview process that is structured for them to make sure that you are the one they want. But...not necessarily to make sure that they're the bank you want. And that's how you end up having to take a leap of faith without getting the full picture.)

Anyways... after enduring these crappy feelings about my work for a few months... 

I finally had to confront the part that I played in contributing to these ineffective hiring practices that would (by design) keep the best candidates in the dark... 

                ...and often lead to them making job changes they would come to regret.

Once I was honest with myself about that... I just couldn't go back to business as usual.

The Catch-22 of not wanting to do the only real job I'd ever known...

...yet still having hefty bills to pay with only one known way to pay them... 

...led to me having to innovate my approach.

I was desperate to feel like I could do meaningful work that actually made a difference for people...

... instead of just being a salesy middleman.

That desire led to me noticing the smarter business sense of switching allegiances and representing the party that had the supply and demand factor squarely in their favor, the solid commercial banker...

So I now represent commercial bankers like an agent would an athlete or a movie star.

You could say, after my crisis of conscience, I'm now like the Jerry Maguire of banking. Looks aside ;)

I help my clients leverage the fact that they're in demand by uncovering what opportunities would look like for them at multiple banks...

... assisting them in determining the quality of each opportunity...

...and positioning them to get the highest offer possible for their services.

You will get to make the best possible choice on where you should go work next based on what's most important to you at this point in your career.

FYI - I will do this at NO COST TO YOU.

As recruiters have already created a market value for talent...

                      ...I'm able to charge my fee directly to the bank that lands you.

However, I make it crystal clear to the bank that my loyalty is to you and not to them.

(In real estate, think buyer's agent, and how they get paid.)

I position myself so that I'm going to get paid no matter which bank you ultimately choose.

This frees me up to focus on what's the best fit for you. Not whether or not I'll get paid. 

(i.e. What a recruiter has to worry about.)

Now you might be thinking, "That sounds great for me but why would banks want to work with you if you're not recruiting for them?"

Fair question.

Here's how I've successfully pitched this to banks like JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Truist, Silicon Valley Bank, and dozens of other national, regional, and community banks...

The Pros and Cons of doing business with me from a bank's perspective:

CONS: 

1 - Banks know they will have to compete with other banks for your services.

But here is what I say to them to make sure they consider the big picture...

"Here's the thing... the vast majority of the time, if you're interviewing a quality candidate, you're in competition for them anyways. You just may or may not know about it."

2 - They have to pay me a fee.

My fee is priced to be comparable to what they're already paying recruiters. As they only have to pay me if they land you - I focus their attention on the end result of either paying for a candidate that might be joining them after having been persuaded and given limited information OR paying for a candidate that's almost always of a higher caliber (see #1 in the next section) and who has made an empowered and informed choice after carefully considering other options. 

Which kind of candidate do you think they are more likely to have success with?

PROS:

1 - They will have access to the best quality of talent.

I offer a unique value proposition to top performers considering a career move; which makes it much easier for me to attract the best people than traditional recruiting can.

It's essentially, "Let's leverage your performance history and the fact that you're in demand to get you in front of a few different banks and help you vet them so that you make the best choice... oh and it's free."

Further, my model forces me to be selective with who I choose to represent as I won't get paid unless a bank decides to hire them. So I only work with bankers that most banks would want to hire.

So when I approach banks and say, "I have someone you should consider," they listen.

2 - If the bank lands you, they're getting someone who they know has made an empowered and informed choice after carefully considering other options. This makes you more likely to be a great, long-term hire.

3 - If they miss out on landing you because you decide to choose another bank instead of them, I offer them a detailed postmortem on why their bank isn't as competitive at attracting top talent as other banks.

This is a unique benefit as this feedback is almost never available to them from recruiters.

4 - I offer banks a one-year money-back guarantee on my fee. (Unheard of from recruiters.)

I can offer this confidently because I know at the end of the day you are walking into your new situation with your eyes wide-open to the challenges and that you only came to this decision after carefully considering all of the relevant other options.

I've had to pay one refund out of 224 deals since 2013. (As of Jan 2022)

All of that said... having you as my client instead of the bank, frees me up to break free of banks' ineffective hiring processes.

I'm going to ask them to expand their interview process to include you being allowed to interview with any and everyone that would help you make an informed decision before accepting a position.

Think anyone that has to do with your ability to be successful. Credit authority, back-office support people, etc.

I'll put a premium on what the relationship will be like with your potential new boss as that is often more important to your success and satisfaction...

                                                                                 ... then which bank it is in the first place.

I'll have you and your potential boss take our Predictive Index® behavioral assessment.

This will predict with spooky accuracy how well you're both naturally wired to work together...

...as well as strategies for communicating with each other that will allow you to get the most out of that important relationship.

(Side note: I did this with my wife and it actually made a huge difference in how we approach our partnership. If this interests you, just ask.)

I'll make sure that clear performance expectations are communicated to you prior to making a decision...

...and that incentive compensation is broken down for you in a detailed way so that everyone's on the same page.

Deeper than the interviews... 

I'll help you get in touch with people who used to work at the banks that you get offers from...

... in order to get candid feedback on what things are really like before you make your final decision.

The intention of all of this is to eliminate you having to take a "leap of faith."

Look - every bank has warts. 

Better to know what the impact on you will be upfront so you can factor that into your decision...

               ... instead of just starting the job and "waiting for the other shoe to drop."

Okie dokie... moving right along.

Now would you care to hear my wildly innovative secret* of how I successfully market my clients to banks? *sarcasm

I go to the top of the bank and not the bottom.

Top = (C-Suite, senior management, sometimes board members)

Bottom = (Low-level HR and internal recruiters)

You see... most recruiters have to spend their time dealing with the talent acquisition people in HR. 

Now, I don't mean to disparage these folks. They have a lot on their plate.

But in my experience, they're often unable to tell a good banker from a can of beans...

...precisely because they have a lot on their plate. 

They have to screen for all of the open positions a bank might have.

You can't expect them to understand the nuances of what makes for a solid middle-market RM... 

... or what syndications are in corporate banking... 

...when they also need to fill a spot for a retail banker and replace the network admin in IT that just quit.

And you can just forget about it if there's not an official open position.

They won't even consider it. They have no motivation to.

As a recruiter... this can be maddening if you're trying to get traction for your candidate.

But alas, I'm not a recruiter anymore...

So I'm not beholden to the bank and they're ineffective (bordering sabotage) hiring bureaucracies.

I will go straight to the people who are in a position to cut through the red tape.

Ok... So maybe it's not all that innovative to approach the person who can actually do something. 

But sadly, these days, it's unique.

Now, here's something interesting...

None of anything I've said so far has a whole lot to do with why banks are going to drop everything and roll out the red carpet to interview you when they get the chance.

Want to know what it is? Or have you already guessed it?

Yes. I'm finally talking about The Commodity Reversal.

You see - the whole darn system is set up for the Job to be the commodity.

The Commodity Reversal flips that dynamic on its head and makes you the commodity instead.

And this is all about taking advantage of the... power of Context.

Now here's the definition of Context I'm using...

Context: The interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs.

The context of how I'll present you to banks goes against the grain of what they're used to...

So it stands out ... and it positions you to be very attractive to them.

As human beings, we are naturally attracted to things that we think we might not be able to get.

And we're not as attracted to things that we think are easy to get and we take for granted.

Now I'm certainly not a psychologist but just think about it... 

                                                                          ...don't you find that to be true in life?

Just apply that principle to dating... 

                          ...and now look at the corollaries between dating and interviewing for a job.

When the job is the commodity and you know they're interviewing other candidates...

              ...you naturally want to see how you stack up and you're terrified of being rejected.

This applies to all of us when in that situation. (Rather we'd like to admit it or not.)

The Commodity Reversal flips the script as the banks are now fearing rejection from you.

When I make it clear to them that you're going to be considering other options... 

...it fires off those scarcity triggers in their brains that we all have and we're all victim to.

So just the mere fact that you're not a candidate that has either been recruited by one of their minions... 

...or someone that came to them directly... (pipelines that they're used to and take for granted)

...gives you a huge advantage.

The net effect of that advantage is often more offers and higher offers.

Now here is my go-to positioning for my clients when I approach banks leveraging this psychology...

"At this point in Jane Doe's career, she's going to be thoughtful about her next move. She is going to do due diligence on a handful of banks and pick the best fit. Your group potentially fits her criteria. Would you like to meet with her?"

It's not complicated. But it works... well.

This approach has yielded 63% of my clients ending up in positions that were created just for them instead of jobs that were already open. (141 of 224 since 2013 as of Jan 2022)

When that happens, it comes with the added benefit of not having to compete with other candidates.

Cool, right?

OK - Now here's the rub...

Obviously...

"Hey let me get you in front of a few different banks and help you vet them so you end up in the best job possible... oh and it doesn't cost you anything." ...

... isn't exactly "selling ice to Eskimos."

So... it's impossible for me to take on everyone who wants to get their next job this way.

In fact, I only accept a max of 10 new clients each quarter. 

It's all my wife will allow as we have 7 and 5-year-old boys who, turns out, are very self-centered ;)

The (admittedly selfish) benefit of having to be this selective is that it allows me to cherry-pick the clients who would be most ideal for me to work with.

So without further ado here's what I need out of my clients:

Spoiler alert! - I need you to be great at your job (with a history of crushing your goals) and good enough at interviewing that multiple banks will want to make you offers.

(Or you're at least coachable enough that you'll heed my advice on the ideal way to conduct yourself in these kinds of interviews. It's different than what you're used to.)

I also need you to have already come to the conclusion that in order to get more fulfillment out of your career the time has likely come to part with your current employer.

Lastly, I need you to be a pleasure to work with.

I value having a real connection with the people I represent.

We'll be communicating a lot throughout this process and that shouldn't be a chore for either of us.

For my part - I'm blunt. I'm casual. I like to laugh. But, I'm serious when it counts.

The trust that my clients place in me to help them achieve their career goals is never lost on me.

I work best with people who take pride in being great at what they do, but at the same time don't take themselves too seriously.

IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE YOU... I invite you to answer six super short questions that will help me determine whether or not you would be a good fit to work with.

If your answers indicate you're a fit, you'll be invited to book a discovery call with me.

During the discovery call, we'll discuss your short and long-term career goals and come up with a game plan of how to reach them!


Best,
Josh Hickock

Founder, Work Empowered


P.S. But wait, that's not all! - I've always wanted to do that. RIP Billy Mays

I recently taught a career strategy program for job seekers in banking and finance.

The cost was $7,500 per person.

While I'm no longer offering that, if you are accepted as a client you will have complimentary access to the following training from the program:

How to discover what type of role you're ideally suited to based on how you're wired (Includes: Predictive Index® assessment and coaching on how to take action on what you discover)

How to discover what organizational profile best suits you (Includes: What kind of boss should I be looking for?)

How to interview in a way that leads to offers (Includes: 12 Deadly Sins of Interviewing)

How to play the money game (Includes: How to put yourself in a position to get better offers without having to play hardball.)

I have multiple offers. How do I make the best choice?! (Includes: How to kick the tires and ensure you're stepping into the best situation.)

Avoid the new-job traps! (Includes: How to assert yourself in your new role while endearing yourself to your new coworkers.)

Again, the cost to be part of the program where I taught these concepts was $7,500.

You'll have free access to this training if accepted as a client!

See if you qualify here.

Josh hickock
Founder of
Work empowered
Work Empowered, LLC
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