It’s been a wild year for Fintech. Elon Musk sent Dogecoin to the moon, Robinhood caused a scandal online by restricting trades for liquidity reasons, and the US Federal Reserve announced it is considering issuing digital dollars.
Fintech seems to be just about everywhere these days, with 41 fintech unicorns collectively valued at over USD 150 bn, it’s no wonder that qualified professionals in this field are more in demand than ever.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the main challenges in Fintech recruiting, and also cover some of the differences between technology headhunters and finance recruiting firms.
What is Fintech?
It’s very possible that advertising business models will simply never do as well on mobile devices as those oriented around transactions.— Patrick Collison, Founder of Stripe
Fintech is short for «financial technology» — and it is what it sounds like, any technology that enables users to use money or make payments in new ways is Fintech. While the term itself may be new, innovation in the money and payments space goes back a long time, with credit cards being one of the first examples.
Many people immediately think of crypto when they hear the word Fintech, but this is far from the only example, and arguably not even what most of the space does. Banking, payment API solutions such as Stripe, FOREX and stock exchanges are at least as important as crypto is in this space.
Many of the core skills in these areas overlap, but some don’t, so it’s important that you’ve clearly defined your needs and expectations when looking for a Fintech candidate.
Which roles are most in-demand
When developing your recruiting strategy, it’s important to know which roles are the most in-demand so that you can plan your fintech recruiting solutions accordingly.
As you may have expected, software engineering jobs make up most of the vacancies in the industry, followed closely by operations.
So, how do fintech recruiters find the talent they need in a really competitive labor market?
The Fintech Recruitment Process
Good recruitment strategy in fintech has a lot in common with recruiting fundamentals you can apply to any sector.
One of the first things that you will want to do, make sure that you have a strong employer brand.
Especially in a cutting edge field like fintech, applicants are attracted to innovative workplaces where they know that they’ll be making a direct impact, and this is something that your branded employer portal should communicate.
You can use images, videos demonstrating your fintech software in action, employee testimonials, statistics, or anything else you think will help show candidates how your company is one of the best in the biz — making real changes to the way people use money and technology.
If you are a startup, you’ll also want to play up the «cool» factor here. Remember, as fintech expands globally you are now competing with big banks and financial institutions for the same limited set of skilled employees, and a small company that’s just completed one funding round is unlikely to be able the same salary as HSBC or Goldman Sachs.
But what you may be able to offer is more interesting and impactful work. It’s also possible to make up for what may lack indirect compensation with things like stock options.
Clearly define the role and expectations
When writing your job description, avoid vague descriptions like «super-star programmer» or «payments ninja». Terms like these are confusing and don’t make it clear what exactly the person’s responsibilities will be, and research also shows that it can discourage women and minorities from applying — as it suggests a certain «frat bro» style office culture.
Once you have developed a well-written and clearly defined job description, it’s time to post it and start sourcing candidates.
Another thing to consider here, although this is something you will do during the actual interview, is to assess the commerciality or business-mindedness of the candidate.
Fintech is primarily concerned with the exchange and making of money — and this needs to be something that candidates understand. This is not to say that you need to compose your team entirely of Gordon Gecko types, but just that anyone you hire needs to be interested in the business as well as the beauty of the code. Somebody who sees themselves as a technical genius who is «above» petty things like business is unlikely to fit well in a Fintech organization.
Sourcing Channels for the Fintech Recruitment Process
The next step is to post your vacancy on all the major channels, remembering not to neglect sometimes overlooked channels like Facebook and Whatsapp.
With Fintech, you may also want to put more emphasis on channels like AngelList, StackOverflow, and similar platforms that attract tech and startup talent almost exclusively (as opposed to platforms like Indeed which have job seekers from all sectors.
You can also advertise on forums that are likely to be frequented by specialists in the space, eg. cryptocurrency and FOREX-focused subreddits and industry specialists news sites like PYMNTS.com and Coindesk.
Reach Out To Passive Talent
Much of the best talent out there is passive, and this applies doubly in Fintech where there specialists are even more in demand than in IT writ large. This especially true for organizations that are staffing not just teams but are also in the executive search process. In this case, you will almost certainly want to reach out to specialized fintech recruitment agencies to assist you in your search. Luckily, there are a number of specialized financial services recruiters to choose from.
Be sure your recruiting team has a strategy in place for communicating with and hiring passive talent, and a few good email nurturing sequences prepared as well.
You can also look at candidate information from previous vacancies you advertised. There may be somebody who wasn’t the best fit for the last role but is perfect for this new one.
Take Chances and Develop Talent
In the tight labor market we have now, you may simply not be able to find your ideal candidate for every single role. Therefore, you should have processes in place for placing computer science grads in fintech graduate jobs, and train them into the specialist of your dreams. This is not something you will be able to do for every vacancy of course — you can’t hire a fresh grad with no work experience to be a team or department lead — but where possible it’s something you should be open to.
You need to do this thoughtfully though. If you train up an employee but don’t adjust their compensation and benefits to match their new skills, you do run the risk of them being recruited by someone else (someone who is reaching out to passive talent!) and collecting what the tech industry, somewhat cheekily, terms the «disloyalty bonus».
Fintech Recruitment Solutions
Recruiting in Fintech can be a lot to handle, especially if it’s just one silo of your business and not your exclusive focus. In this case, you may want to seek help from recruitment specialists.
A quick google search for Fintech recruitment will bring you lots of results, with most of these focused on executive search, marketing and operations roles. These have their place, but headhunting agencies who specialize in finding one «rainmaker» may not be as effective when filling multiple, team-level roles for an organization. They tend to focus more on bank recruiting or financial services recruiting.
If you are looking for software engineers and fintech developers, you may want to go with a specialized tool for IT recruiting, such as Employa.
Employa is an AI-driven recruitment solution that can be integrated with your existing ATS, or used as an external agency, combining human and AI talent to source your organization with the best candidates on the market.
If you’d like to see Employa can do for you, you can give it a try for free.