"Help us find the top Risk people in three countries"
A leading Brussels-based Bank was looking at opening offices in central Europe. Most of their clients had numerous flows of business into or out of the region, converging most heavily in Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Although they had a successful Polish operation the bank was not familiar with these countries, so part of our role would be advise them on local markets from a labour and legal perspective.
SpenglerFox was asked to perform searches in each country to find their Head of Credit Risk.
Consulting closely with the client, we agreed on the ideal profile of the candidate, as well as the best places to look for them. Working with both the direct line manager and HR person responsible gave us a thorough understanding of the best-fit candidate, from which we were able to construct a complete and accurate job description.
The bank already had one potential candidate in Czech Republic but no prospects in Austria or Hungary. With this in mind we focused our networking attention on the Czech Republic and our search attention on the Austrian and Hungarian markets.
After identifying the five most likely banks in which we could find the best-fit candidate for our client in each country, we began the deeper search. We combed through many of the largest corporate banking leaders in Hungary, and arranged selective meetings to get some up-to-date market knowledge. We also began our research in the crowded Austrian market, digging through the many regional banks to get to the sometimes elusive credit risk departments.
Certain personal and professional networks were activated across the Czech Republic to supplement the standard research. Every Friday we sent the client an update of how many candidates had been contacted and which banks had been screened. This was meant that the client knew where we were in our process and could plan accordingly. As agreed in our timeline beforehand, we introduced a benchmark candidate within three weeks. We received positive feedback that we were indeed looking for the right kind of people.
We then began interviewing Czech candidates. This started with telephone screening to determine if they satisfied the client’s key criteria. If so, the candidate was invited for interviews with SpenglerFox. Because our screening process was so effective we were able to save time for ourselves and our client, and interview only the best possible candidates.
This meant our interview-to-shortlist ratio was very high. Out of the 45 candidates screened, nine were interviewed and three were shortlisted. Representatives from the bank met all three of them and chose one for further rounds in Brussels. The formal testing was performed on their side in Brussels, as they requested. However, in order to determine their suitability we presented the candidates with a mini-case study on a credit application during the SpenglerFox interview. References were taken up at the stage when the responses could affect whether the candidate received an offer.
A similar process was carried out in Hungary. There was a slight delay in Austria, as the market was still very fragile.
The original candidate that had been identified for the Czech Republic was chosen; however, our screening of the market assured them that they had the best candidate for the role. In Hungary we identified an excellent Risk candidate, who was hired. Unfortunately, he left during the guarantee period to take a higher role at his previous employer, but we soon identified potential replacement candidates. In Austria we hunted through the market and identified numerous people, although in the end the client decided to oversee Risk from Germany. Later though, we were able to partner with them again and found a Regional Corporate Banking Director for Central & Eastern Europe based out of Austria.