As banks, funds and corporates all go through the same cycle of 1) contingency plan 2) realistic assessment of the overall scenario and 3) action plan for “the day after lock-downs”, the situation can be stressful for a student in advanced talks, going through the recruiting process or even that who had received an offer.
The first thing to do, is to avoid panicking and give in to the urge to call every day your potential employer. Instead, at Breaking into Finance we suggest you have the following decision tree handy and, when reaching out to your would-be employer, do it in a calmed and planned way:
If you have an offer and you have already received confirmation that it is still valid (post lock-down started) and you will start in June or after the Summer: then nothing else to do but to prepare to start in the best possible way
- If you have an offer but have not yet confirmed, then reach out to your point of contact. Either if it is an HR or your future boss or a future colleague, use the occasion to gather information on how they company is doing and what is the house view. I suggest you send a crisp e-mail (always sent on weekdays and during working hours, to avoid being washed out with overnight or weekend traffic) in which you suggest if it is OK to talk on the phone, then have a short phone call where you should have a few questions prepared in advance. Don’t let it transpire that you are too anxious, or worse, don’t waste anyone’s time with an unprepared call.
- Your offer has been put on hold or cancelled: as unfortunate as it is, there is not much you can do or blame yourself for. I would suggest to use the occasion to speak with your potential boss or potential colleagues, as it may be an occasion in which, out of feeling sorry for having canceled or delayed your entry, they might be more willing to help, suggest alternative courses of action, give you more insight on the market and even point you to other firms in the market that may still be interested in hiring you.
- You are in an advanced process, but it has stopped altogether: as is the case if you have an offer, I suggest you reach out in a professional way to your point of contact to try and get the latest news and any clarity on the continuity of the process. Always best to have a clear e-mail with a suggested phone call to follow up.
- If you have already spoken and they have told you that the process is on hold until more clarity is gathered, try to use the information given to you by HR or the front-office to improve your candidacy (they might hint to room-for-improvement aspects of your profile) or your overall search process (they may give you information regarding the market and other players).
You will see a similar course of action suggested for either option. This is because in Finance it is always best to play it safe, be professional and not show too much anxiety, while at the same time signaling you really want to be part of their team. Stay tuned for more tips from Breaking into Finance and always use the opportunity to make yourself an ever-stronger candidate.