Archive for November, 2015

Recruiting in banking is wacky. Bat $h*t nuts. As such, I encounter some unique situations and stories. Those stories I lock away in the “vault.” In fact my colleague John Morris often says “keep my number next to your lawyer and psychologist .” One of the many things he means by that is we are discrete. Our confidentiality and trust is a key reason why we have existed at this level for so long. Having said that, below are three interesting stories I came across this year, simply doing my job. These aren’t the most salacious or earth shattering. Just some of the ones that I think back on. Obviously I have done two things with these stories…1.) Cleared it with the folks involved and 2.) Left their privacy intact.

Up in Smoke
Our first story is one I never expected. I had a contact in the Mid Atlantic that was a prominent, strong, senior commercial lender; a well-known banker in the market place, working for primarily large banks over their career. I first spoke to them about a decade ago. They started out as nothing more than a “Thanks for calling Adam, but I am not interested” person. Over the years they became a contact. More willing to listen, think, refer, and speak to me. Eventually, they became a candidate.

One day a few months ago I called them to catch up and was surprised by our conversation. This SVP of commercial lending with a large bank was not only leaving banking, not only moving…They were not only embarking on a whole new life, but they were headed to Colorado to sell pot. I talk to bankers all day, every day. I do not get this often, for many reasons.

What was even more surprising (but shouldn’t be since this person was such a savvy business professional that had been working with other business owners their whole life) was that they had a whole business plan and model they explained to me. They had not made this decision lightly. They were prepared to succeed or fail and they were very serious. They were leaving and letting their banking career go up in smoke.


Team Chemistry
This is one that always brings a smile to my face. A story that represents a small piece of what I get to be apart of from afar. There is a real impact in being a part of someone’s career and a company’s growth plan. I will not romanticize it any further, because at the end of the day I am just a headhunter. (Another dude making calls).

One of my candidates had been through an in depth interview process with my client. They had spoken to, sat down with, and flown out to meet many folks. I think they even took a few personality tests too.

The key group that this candidate had to mesh with all sat together at the same office. They worked as a cohesive unit and should my candidate get the job, they would be working with this group. This team had already felt my candidate was the right fit, but what followed may or may not have cemented that.

They invited my candidate to join them for an outing. Said outing involved discussions of banking, leisure, and a few adult beverages. Said outing ended with the Market Director in a Porta Potty, being shaken from the outside by my candidate and one of my client’s top producers. Laughter ensued. They got the job. That my dear readers is the science of chemistry. One man’s Porta Potty is another man’s boardroom. Deals get closed there and everywhere.


The Valid Reason
I see a lot of resumes. Many of them, given the nature of corporate America and the nature of banking, have some movement on them. Sadly, some of them have way too much movement. Like people who have a new job every year….for two decades.

Recently, I encountered a candidate that had a new job every 18 months. This movement spanned about 20 years. They had essentially the stability of a jello mold. I asked them, as I always do, why they made their moves. After asking the question a few times the candidate stopped me and said “let me explain.”

“Since my second job I have been following the same manager. They have recruited me to each place. Always for more money and a better opportunity. At each bank, we have unrolled his business model and either sank or swam”.

‘Well, looks like you are sinking the ship and then swimming away’, I thought. How is that business model working out? For 18 years, you have followed someone 11 times. What?

There is always a reason for everything and this one is by far NOT the most interesting or amusing one I have gotten this year, let alone this week. However, it’s one I hear variations of often. It is an example of what people are “thinking” when they make moves or at least what they claim to be thinking.

Stories make up our lives. A lot of interesting stories make up my week, month and this case almost…year. I hope for many more.

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