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Banking recruiters in Singapore and Hong Kong annoyed by "very spoiled and entitled" job seekers

The post-bonus hiring season is (in theory) upon us. In Singapore and Hong Kong, however, recruitment isn’t expected to be as strong as last year as banks delay face-to-face interviews in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

If you’re dealing with recruiters in a challenging job market, you need to act as professionally as possible when you meet them (most likely on a video conference) for an interview. Recruiters in Asia have told us how they hope banking professionals will behave his year.

Show you’re adaptable

As banks in Hong Kong and Singapore ask employees to work from home or across split sites in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, recruiters are increasingly looking for adaptable candidates who can demonstrate that they can cope with unexpected changes in their jobs. But one Hong Kong-based recruiter tells us he is struggling to find enough Millennial and Gen Z candidates who can effectively show they have what it takes to deal with change. “I’m finding that many young job seekers here are very spoiled and entitled,” he says.

Be less self-obsessed

“I hope to see banking candidates focusing less on the ‘me-me-me’ issues at interviews: what can the company do for me? What can I learn? How can I progress?” says Angela Kuek, director of search firm Meyer Consulting Group in Singapore. “To increase their chances of landing a job, they should shift their attention to what they can contribute to the bank. Candidates forget that banks aren’t paying salaries for them to learn on the job, particularly if they’re senior and expensive.”

Contact us after the interview

“Most candidates ask us a lot of questions in preparation for an interview, but too few are equally pro-active when feeding back afterwards,” says Singapore-based recruiter Jay Abeyasinghe. “It’s imperative to call us soon after an interview or write a detailed email, particularly about the challenges you faced. The more information we receive, the greater the chance that we can position you in a positive light. It also shows that you’re really interested in the role, giving us extra confidence in you that we can then convey to the bank.”

Tell us how much you earn from the outset

“Candidates are often wary of telling us their current compensation, but banks demand this information up front so both parties have realistic expectations from day one,” says Kyle Blockley, managing director at Phoenix Global Search in Singapore. “Every business unit has an approved hiring budget, for directors down to analysts. If you’re too expensive from the outset, there’s no point in representing you. Having recruited in-house at Goldman in Singapore, I know the challenges hiring managers face to get headcount signed off.”

Tell us where else you’re interviewing

“Many candidates don’t tell us whether they’re interviewing at other banks. But we do need to know this,” says Blockley. “It lets us tell the bank, our client, how quickly we have to move forward with interviews. I know there are cowboy recruiters who will try to chase those other jobs, so my advice is to be careful what information you share but let your recruiter know you have other options. This shows you’re in demand and can also help in your salary negotiations.”

Don’t spam your CV

“We get too many CVs that have been mailshot everywhere,” says Blockley. “If I receive any email which isn’t addressed to me personally I immediately delete it. So personalise your approach.”

Don’t ramble through your resume

It’s a common frustration for recruiters: they put forward candidates who seem right for the job but who fail at interviews because they talk too much about the nuts and bolts of their resume. “At the outset, ask the interviewer what the challenges and deliverables of the role are. Then explain what you can bring to the job, using real examples to emphasise your points. Don’t just go through your CV,” says Christina Ng, executive director at LMA Recruitment in Singapore.

Photo by Damon Zaidmus on Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager
  • An
    13 February 2020

    Tell us how much you earn from the outset

    “Candidates are often wary of telling us their current compensation...."

    What does this figure have to do with what the candidates expectations are? Too often resourcing and talent professionals focus on what a candidate is currently earning as an indicator of their worth. It's an incredibly outdated approach that has a huge number of variables that can effect their current package. If that candidate has done their own market research and you as a resourcing professional know the market rates, then an informed chat between the two parties can set the expectations.

    Their current package shouldn't even come into it at all.

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