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3 ways to navigate bidding wars for Quants talent

Posted on October 2022 By Selby Jennings

Bidding war for Quants talent

Bidding wars are becoming a regular occurrence in the Quants market. Historically, a Quants professional could have 1-2 competing offers on the table, but nowadays that number is closer to 2-4 offers. 

There are a variety of non-monetary factors for job candidates to consider when in a bidding war for them, and for businesses wanting to snap up the very best Quants professionals, we have seen the three following steps have the most impact in securing top talent: 

1. The time when issuing an offer  

Finance firms are sometimes hesitant to be the first to make an offer, as they don’t want their offer to be leveraged against other competitors. However, here at Selby Jennings we do recommend to businesses be the first to offer in the current market, as it allows a firm to have more control over timelines and positions themselves more strategically, being proactive, not reactive when it comes to acquiring top talent. 

When a company is the first to offer a competitive package, it bodes well with Quants professionals, and it gives them a positive impression and experience. At Selby Jennings we have had top talent take the first offer that was monetarily lower because the job candidate appreciated that the company was the first to move forward within the range they originally requested. 

Separately, if the first offer is competitive, it gives financial firms the ability to entice top talent to withdraw from other competing processes and move forward with their offer. This may not always be the case, particularly in a hot market, but it’s definitely worth a try and has helped to avoid a bidding war altogether in some cases we’ve experienced at Selby Jennings. 

2. Establishing a quick, yet fair offer deadline

If a company is slow to put together an offer, there is a greater chance for a competing offer to arise. It is therefore vital that an official deadline is in place and that offers aren’t sitting for multiple weeks. While you want talent to join your firm of their own volition, the longer an offer is sitting on the table, the more time there is for something to go wrong. 

It is crucial for finance firms to be proactive here and it is beneficial from the very start to be transparent on how long you expect the process to take. If a company is fair and upfront about their own timeframes (say for example if a hiring manager is on leave which could slow a process), they should expect the same from Quants professional within the process. At Selby Jennings, we recommend setting a deadline for accepting an offer, and also giving professionals the chance to discuss the offer to help further fast-track talent processes. 

3. Regular touchpoints with talent

Ideally, businesses hiring will have a few touchpoints following the final round of interviews in order to put their best foot forward with their potential new team member. The first follow-up call after the final interview can include a verbal offer, but an informative call should answer any questions on the backend. A final call serves as a last attempt to sell the firm and role before the decision needs to be made. 

There could be a few more calls depending on the type of position, but we recommend coffee meetings, dinner or something similar, as the personal touch is very important. We advise firms to issue an official (written) offer within 48 hours (ideally 24) after giving a verbal offer and adding a 7-day deadline. This shows commitment while at the same time signalling that you aren’t willing to wait forever. 

As innovation and new technologies move the financial services industry forward, there is an increasing technical demand for quantitative research & trading professionals that make it harder for firms to find the right talent.

With nearly 20 years of extensive experience and a well-garnered client network, Selby Jennings has unrivalled expertise to secure the brightest minds from systematic traders, modellers, developers, portfolio managers, to risk analysts. We shape the talent landscape and influence the trajectory of growth for global investment bankers, boutique hedge funds, management consultancies, software providers, and everything in between. Connecting top professionals with industry-leading opportunities, while providing complementary market research and insights, we harness our network and pair our expertise with advanced technology to secure Quants talent with speed, accuracy, and a reach that spans three continents.

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