The new job application: clients select future advisors

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A pitch, a discussion and an interview with clients in one day. Eight enthusiastic people applying for the position of Income & Wealth Specialist and four of our clients kicked off our new recruitment concept. ABN AMRO believed that the traditional recruitment and selection method needed a makeover.

We felt it was high time we did things differently, try out something new. Diane van Galen Last  Diane van Galen Last - van Leeuwen Recruitment Business Partner Retail & Private Banking

Job interviews are often conducted internally to decide whether a candidate fits into the organisation. As a recruiter, I talk to the applicant. We felt it was high time we did things differently – time to try out something new. In the end, it’s all about the client, so why not involve them in the job application process? We put this to the test in a ‘customer arena’.

Gaining trust

A customer arena consists of various elements. For example, we allow clients to grill the candidates on various subjects. They asked questions like, ‘How do you build up a long-term relationship?’ and ‘How do you decide which clients to visit fist?’ It quickly became clear that clients wanted a specialist who is sincerely interested in both the business and personal aspects of a client relationship. And somebody who can gain trust by giving personal advice and putting clients’ interests first, even if it’s not in the bank’s best interests. Involving clients in the job application procedure allows us to show clients that we take their opinions seriously. I’m really proud of our contribution.

Getting a complete picture

By having clients participate in the procedure, I could observe how candidates presented themselves. You can see much more clearly how they make contact with other people. During the customer arena, I paid special attention to attitude and behaviour. You can acquire knowledge relatively easily, but you can’t ‘learn’ empathy or experience. I gained a lot of valuable information by observing the candidates. How open are you in a group? How helpful are you, and how easily do you make contact with clients? As a recruiter, these are very important aspects to me because they help me get the complete picture of a person.

Fast track

The interesting thing about this new recruitment and selection method is how quickly it goes. It only takes one day for us, the client and the candidate to gain new insights. The candidate we ultimately selected was euphoric. How cool is it to leave an interview at the end of the day with an employment contract in your pocket? Plus you’ve already gotten to know your client and your new manager. Now that’s a great result!


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