Q&A for Candidates with Mahian Rab, Risk Regulation and Compliance
Pubished 22nd November 2022
How long have you been working in recruitment and what's your specialism?
I’ve been working at InterQuest’s Risk, Regulation and Compliance Practice for 6 ½ years now.
I lead the Risk function’s London team, where we support a majority of large Banks, challenger Banks, lenders, payments specialists, FinTech and start-up/scale-up business across the UK, EU and US.
I work with our partners to develop and establish robust financial and non-financial risk teams, whilst also ensuring we identify exceptional talent to build first-class analytics and data science functions.
The mandates I own individually range from Senior Manager to Chief Risk/Compliance/Credit Officer and Head/Director/VP of Data. Whilst the remainder of the team ensure the delivery of mandates from Analyst to Manager level.
2. What would you say are the key challenges in the market now?
From a candidate perspective; We’ve seen frequent movement over the last year and a half with many people changing roles. The market and competition for talent remains high. However, given the macro-economic conditions, clearly at some point the market must settle down and I think we are approaching that point. There is is understandable nervousness around what the future may hold for businesses.
Given the state of the economy, the perception of Fintechs and smaller lenders appears to be that they are riskier in comparison to joining a large well-established business. Whilst this can be true, making it difficult to persuade individuals to apply for these roles, we usually see significant cuts within larger businesses as opposed to the smaller ones who are usually more streamlined to begin with.
Counteroffers are a core challenge too. Given the difficulty of identifying talent, within budget, to backfill the role we are seeing ridiculous counter offers. It’s a double-edged sword which causes significant challenges for candidates coming to the end of their search process, as it can make it difficult to make a rational decision. If their motivator to leave was based purely on compensation, then it is understandable, however most people are usually looking to leave due to a multitude of reasons. Therefore, taking counter offer just isn’t rational as circumstances don’t change and employees remain disgruntled around other factors. The stats don’t lie, as approximately 80% of people who accept counteroffers are back on the market within 6 months.
3. Are there any market trends you are seeing?
The market trends I’m seeing at the moment are more specifically focused on experience.
In financial services, the key focus on analytical experience across the board is something which everyone can see. There has been a shift in the use of programming tools across all types of organisations now, where open-source programming with Python and R is more prominent and desirable as opposed to the traditional SAS or SQL.
The alignment of risk and analytics in business strategy has resulted in a further trend of requiring individuals with effective communication and stakeholder management skills. In terms of progression for candidates, these skills are really important now to progress and secure some of the best roles out there.
Demand among our clients is rising for this dual skillset, whilst technical skills are great, the ability to communicate and explain what you are doing in a clear and concise manner is potentially more important.
4. What advice would you give to candidates given the competition in the market space?
I think first, collaborating closely with a good recruiter, whoever the recruiter is, is important in saving the candidate time and effort.
Think about why you are looking and what’s important to you. Flexibility with expectations is key. If you need a role to tick all your boxes before you apply, then you may struggle to find your perfect role and you will also be missing out on some great opportunities too.
5. What kind of advice would you give to candidates seeking a role?
Think about these three questions; Why do you want to move? What do you want if you are to move? Where do you want to be in 2-5 years?
Your ‘Why’ is most important, as that will help you navigate the two questions which follow.
The best way to go about finding ‘What’ you want is to speak to different businesses. There is so much variety in the market from large banks to start-ups. Consider which businesses can offer you the right role.
To find ‘Where’ you want to be, I'd really encourage people to think about a 2 - 5-year plan and be open about short, medium, and long-term goals. We provide expert advice so you can execute your career development plan. Whether it’s specific experience you want to gain or a level of seniority you want to achieve, there are certain things you're going to need to do to get you there.
6. Tips for interviews?
Don't be late and prepare thoroughly. Those are your classics.
Preparation is key, use approaches like STAR to highlight some of your career highlights or milestones.
Put yourself in the perspective of the hiring manager. If you were hiring for this role - What would you ask? What would you want to know about a person? Use that and the provided information about the role and business to build out your preparation.
Always ask questions, it can be anything inquisitive. It should really ignite the hiring manager to sell the business to you. It's also important to come out of an interview with everything you need.
7. What advice would you give to someone who's thinking about making a change?
Aside from giving me a call? 😊 .. It's like any advice that I'd give to candidate.
Think about why are you looking? You don't want to waste your own energy or other people's time. If you like your job, then great! If there's something that can be done about your happiness in your current role, then firstly go and speak to whoever it is that can help internally.
If it’s factor that can’t be resolved, then really think about what you want and why you want it? Think about the two-to-five-year plan I previously mentioned.
After doing that, contact a recruiter. That's going to open a lot more opportunity than going direct to through a lot of businesses. Run through your current situation and career plan openly with the recruiter to then understand your options.
If you are uncertain about some roles but slightly interested, then still speak to the business. Have that initial chat or interview and really understand what you liked or didn’t like about it, it will really help you refine your search.
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