In any job search, preparation and preparedness are key. The most useful question you can ask yourself before any application or interview is often: ‘What do employers look for?’
As Fintech Week has progressed here on Siliconrepublic.com, you’ve heard about how many job opportunities the fintech sector offers, and taken a glimpse at some of the top fintech employers hiring right now. You might now be interested in taking the next step, so that question becomes: ‘What do employers look for from fintech candidates’?
According to some of the people we spoke to, that largely depends on the role.
A recruiter’s perspective
James Milligan, senior business director for IT and talent solutions at Hays, gave some indication of what might set you on the right path.
“They like people who have had previous experience within the sector,” said Milligan. “Or they like people coming from an innovation background, where they can point to development – something that may not have been in the fintech sector, but they have done something new and different and interesting and innovative.”
Milligan goes on to say that required skills are a lot more fluid.
“Experience is very technology-specific, so it depends on anything from what package a technology’s being developed in, to what technology is required. So it depends on how the organisation operates.”
What employers want – ability to adapt
Experts at some top fintech companies spoke broadly about what piques their interest in candidates.
For Sinead Nevin, lead resource consultant at IFDS, dynamic candidates who are flexible in their approach will always stand out.
“We [at IFDS] are changing because our business is growing,” said Nevin, “so we need people who are open to change.”
That’s something that crops up again and again when talking to employers – flexibility.
It’s very important to Accenture, where – according to Graham Healy, MD with responsibility for fintech – “In an ever-changing world, we focus on innovation, motivation for continuous learning and an ability to adapt.”
Fidelity Investments, too, values people who, in a collaborative and innovative environment, can enjoy constant change.
According to Carmel Mitchell, Fidelity’s human resources director, interview preparedness can go a long way towards making a candidate stand out, but there are other key qualities that she would look for.
“We look for employees that can embody the Fidelity values of integrity, honesty and respect for all,” said Mitchell.
Nevin spoke about how highly IFDS prizes problem-solving skills, and said how important it is to find candidates who are the right cultural fit.
At Accenture, people who are “collaborative, exhibit drive and resilience, leadership potential, critical thinking and teamwork, and value creation will always stand out,” added Healy.
You may be surprised to know…
But what about that little niche skill? That one thing that can make you stand out from the madding crowd?
Again, that depends on who you ask.
For Milligan, it’s simply being able to demonstrate an interest in the fintech sector: “Having a broader understanding of financial services is going to be extremely advantageous, particularly from an operating perspective. Not just being a techie. It gives you context.”
For IFDS, it’s twofold. Firstly, Nevin looks for people with the right mindset. IFDS, she said, wants people who, when something goes wrong, will try something else. But they also value people with unusual skillsets.
“I like to ask people, ‘What would you consider to be your strongest skills?’ What might they say? Because I think sometimes you just don’t know how people are going to be on a team. We don’t just want more of the same. We want people who can bring different skills to the table.”
Fidelity’s approach is a little more business-oriented. According to Mitchell, they like their employees to be able to network “and building relationships across the organisation is key”.
At Accenture, collaboration and learning shine through as the most important areas, with Healy saying “a desire to mentor, coach and support colleagues” will get you far.
So now, armed with the answer to ‘What do employers look for?’, venture forth and find the perfect fintech job for you.
What’s standing in your way?
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