Mike Richards has been around the world of Treasury Recruitment for over twenty years now. He has seen how the role of treasurers has significantly changed. And he sees that the pool of potential treasurers seems quite small. How should companies and candidates act in these difficult but interesting conditions?
It is not about you; it is about them
The one thing companies need to realise now is that in this extremely tight market, the wants and needs of the candidates have to be met. According to Richards, it is all about candidate attraction now. “Professionals from mid to senior levels need to be aware that it’s about candidate attraction. I say it’s not about you anymore; it’s about them.”
This is quite different from the situation fifteen or twenty years ago. Back then, the candidates came running if you just put an advert out there. But these times have definitely changed. The job of treasurer is not very well known, even among finance specialists. And the way people look at their work also has changed a lot, so the needs of the treasurer might be quite different compared to before.
It’s not just all about the big names anymore
The way companies need to recruit their treasurers has to be adjusted to their wants and needs. It is not just the normal job description with all the obvious information that attracts candidates. It takes a lot more to pull people over the line. Companies have to talk about their vision and about their values because they are not only interested anymore in big names like Porsche. They need to be able to identify themselves with the company’s impact on the world. So it is also important to mention sustainability goals in the job descriptions.
Although these things are essential, according to Richards, he also thinks that the needs and expectations have changed because of the big changes the world experienced with the rise of the internet and digital technologies. “It is all about information and access to information. This changes the way people look at their potential employers, and they want and need to know as much as possible to make a well-informed decision. There is a flip side to this information growth as well; companies can get to know a lot more about their candidates than they sometimes need to.”
Treasurers have to be aware of their (and their companies) external image as well
Most treasures Richards knows can be characterised as outgoing people. It just goes with the job, but it also means they must be careful about what information they share.
One story especially comes to Richard’s mind here: I got to meet a junior guy who was trying to go for internships. He’s putting his name forward, and we met up. He told me he had locked down his social media accounts. And I said, ‘Look, you must be really careful. Why not just take them down?’ But he was sure he took care of it and got rid of the stuff he’d done at college that he was worried about. He had been a real party guy. At one point, he went off and got me a beer. When he came back, I asked him how Tijuana was and showed him a photo of him and his mates on holiday. He was shocked and asked me, ‘How did you access that?’ And I said, ‘I just used this very little known thing called Google.’ “
It is really important to be aware of all the information out there because it is also accessible to all your clients and external stakeholders. So during the recruitment process, it is essential to be aware of this and talk to candidates about the fact that they must also be mindful of the company’s image in their Treasury roles.
If you’re not asking how your people are doing, someone else is
One of the things that count in recruitment and that people are not always aware of, according to Richards, is the fact that they need to keep their current Treasury team happy as well. “This might sound a bit strange coming from a recruiter. Because why wouldn’t I like a high turnover? It could mean that I just got to recruit more and more people. But it is just not like that. When companies aren’t able to keep their treasurers, something is wrong. And even the very best recruiter with the very best candidates won’t be able to help them out.”
There is a saying, ‘If you’re not asking how your people are doing, someone else will’. Meaning: you need to check in regularly on how your Treasury talents are doing to avoid being snatched away by another company. And you can start recruiting all over again. The only way to prevent this ánd be even more attractive for new talents is to keep your Treasury team as happy as possible, according to Richards. “In the end, it is quite simple; people just want to join happy teams. This also applies to treasurers.”
More in-depth insights into Treasury career development?
Would you like to know everything about the career developments for treasurers? We have interviewed more experts in the field next to talented Treasury professionals. You can read all about their opinions and insights into the current market and the future of Treasury in the report ‘Hidden Gems, The Subtle Art of Finding Your Next Treasurer.”