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The News Is All Good For Compliance Attorneys

By:  Anne Angowitz

Many will say that it is about time.

 Those attorneys who had the courage to step out of the box and focus on regulatory and compliance, when caution and the norm dictated the safer “generalist” route, are seeing greater demand from companies for their domain expertise.  Companies in all regulated industries (i.e. all companies) are seeking attorneys with specific skills to bring in-house, and they are being handsomely rewarded for their knowledge and skill (more about that later).

 What is probably most interesting are the roles and responsibilities these specialists are afforded in such organizations.  The compliance officer is no longer relegated to simply acting as a watchdog, charged with the tedium of  regulatory schemes. The green eyeshade is gone.  Compliance officers are investing quality time with business-units, contributing to strategy, developing policies and procedures and implementing training programs. This often translates into greater visibility at the most senior levels.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that compliance professionals, even those with limited experience in the field, are predicted to see compensation rise by 3 to 4 percent this year.  The Journal further reported  that getting a professional certification in ethics and compliance can earn an attorney up to 22 percent more take-home pay as a director or manager, and 11 percent more as an assistant or specialist.

So, a career in compliance is looking pretty rewarding.  Instead of merely being reactive, doing surveillance to uncover past transgressions, these are the leaders, setting the tone.  They are responsible for driving innovation and policy.  Michael Nolan, a global partner for KPMG’s risk consulting practice, told the Journal he sees opportunity for people with experience in highly regulated industries, such as finance, telecommunications and health care, especially people with global experience.  “Deep industry knowledge in the right context can be of high value in areas where we are hiring,” he told the Journal.

Shake Hands Like You Mean It

It is all about impressions.  Every meeting, planned or by chance, results in an impression made by the participants.  Be sure that the impression you make, in an interview and in life, is the best you can.

The handshake, a simple, often overlooked gesture, has the potential to say a lot about you.  A proper handshake portrays confidence and an engaging, positive personality.  A weak handshake, just the opposite; a lack of confidence and timidity. 

The proper handshake is right handed, web to web, one or two down and up motions and firm.  It is that simple.  No finger to finger, no 5+ seconds of vigorous shaking and no “dead-fish” lack of pressure.  However, keep in mind, firm means firm.  Shaking hands is not a strength competition in which your opponent submits by saying “uncle”.  The last thing you want to do is injure your participant.  That would not leave the right impression, though it would leave a lasting one.  A word of advice for a guy shaking hands with a woman.  Let her set the pressure and respond in kind.  This should avoid insulting her with a weak handshake or listening to the sound of her knuckles rubbing against each other.

And remember to always make eye contact.  Shaking hands is a social gesture, even in a business context.  Eye contact is always of paramount importance.

The greeting and conclusion of every encounter, will both provide the opportunity to properly shake a person’s hand…make each one count. 

Is That Your Phone?

“What is that ringtone?”

This is never a line you want to hear during an interview.  While most candidates know how to interview, it is surprising how often mistakes are made on seemingly basic issues.  So, here is the first in a series of tips that are sometimes overlooked but can be vital to the success of a candidate.  Under the heading of our “How NOT To Interview”, otherwise known as “How to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”—read on.

Turn off that phone and iPad prior to walking in the building.  Really.  Even if you are on the deal of the century and you think your partner may call you non-stop.  No one is indispensable.  Of course, if you are in the middle of a closing or being absent will land you in hot water, reschedule the interview. The interviewers will understand.  No one expects you to jeopardize your current job for an interview.  But, if you have decided to show-up for the interview, you must provide your undivided attention.  Put that deal out of you mind along with all other distractions.  Give it your best shot.  You owe that to yourself and the interviewers.

Real Life Example:  We had a candidate lose an in-house position, he was dying for, at the final lunch.  The lunch was proposed as a “get to know you better” – a formality.  Everyone was engrossed in conversation and things were going great.  The candidates phone rang.  He did not take the call.  He did not look at the phone.  But, the fact that he forgot to turn it off was enough to sink him.

Fair or not is beside the point.  These things happen and they are totally avoidable.  So, while all of the above is probably obvious, whatever you do, don’t forget to turn off that phone.  Do you really want a prospective employer to know that you have chosen “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie as your ringtone?