Nurturing Talent Even in Goodbyes: Finiti’s Guide to Positive Candidate Exits

| 5 minutes

In the rush of finding that perfect candidate and the busy back-and-forth about contracts and start dates, it can be easy to overlook a really important part of the recruitment process: unsuccessful candidates. 

Every aspect of the recruitment process is a reflection of your brand – both as a business and as an employer. 

Though someone may not have been the perfect fit this time, a positive exit makes sure candidates only have good things to say to other job hunters and peers, leaving the door open for a positive return tomorrow. 

Here’s how to build your talent pipeline by handling goodbyes with grace and empathy. 

Insightful Constructive Feedback 

One of the biggest questions a candidate is left with after a rejection is “why?”. But few businesses provide an answer: 94% of candidates say they’d like interview feedback, but only 41% have actually received it. 

Mitigate potential concerns from the legal team by keeping feedback factual, constructive, and forward looking. Communicating any feedback in writing can also help avoid miscommunication and give candidates time to reflect before responding. 

Timely and Transparent Communication

Hiring is a time-consuming process, particularly when you’re inundated with applications. 

Increasingly, that means communication slips. The latest Talent Board report found that over a third of candidates were waiting several months or more to hear about next steps, a 48% rise from 2021. 

Whether it’s good news or bad news, responding to candidates quickly goes a long way towards building a positive employer brand. 

Personable Rejection Messages

Words matter, especially when you’re communicating something you know will be disappointing. 

This isn’t a job for ChatGPT. Make sure the messages you send are warm and personable. Although it might just be one of hundreds of template-based rejection emails for you, it’s a big deal to hopeful candidates. 

If you’re using templates, work with your brand or marketing team to spend time crafting ones that convey the key information and fit with your employer brand. 

It’s their last point of contact with you, so make sure they leave the process with a positive impression. 

Encouraging Future Applications

Be clear that just because someone wasn’t right for this particular role, you’d still consider them for future opportunities. 

Show you really mean it by including a link to your current vacancies page; you could even consider starting an email list to alert them to new opportunities with your organisation. 

Not only are you leaving that candidate with a positive impression, you’re building a talent pipeline of candidates you know are interested in working for you. 

Networking Opportunities and Resources

Whether it’s an online event that you’re hosting or a course you know is particularly useful for your team, consider sharing ways a candidate could usefully progress their industry knowledge to make them an even stronger candidate next time. 

Not only will this attention to detail set you apart from other potential employers, it also shows that you’re invested in your team’s learning and development – even before they’ve started. 

Rejection in Context

Rather than thinking about an unsuccessful candidate in isolation, put it in the wider context of the value of building and maintaining your employer brand. 

A positive employer brand can speed up the hiring process, decrease your average cost per hire by 50%, and significantly boost the number of strong candidates applying for your roles. 

If your team is short on time, find a recruitment partner that’s able to ensure candidates have a positive experience. 

Remember, candidates often won’t differentiate between internal recruitment managers and external recruiters, so make sure you work with someone that knows your industry and business to leave a positive last impression. 

From curating a short list to handling goodbyes, Finiti Search is the only recruitment company specialising in Fintech sales roles. 

We get to know candidates and companies inside out in order to find the perfect match. Learn more about our talent network or get in touch with the team today about your vacancy. 

Strategies for Maximising Job Packages: Navigating Salary Constraints

| 5 minutes

You’ve done it. You’ve found that next big hire for your Sales Team. They’re perfect for the role. Job done, right? 

Finding the right person isn’t the end of the recruitment process. Before you start planning their induction and forwarding meeting invites, there’s still the delicate process of finalising the job package. 

But what happens when you don’t have any wiggle room on salary? 

Here’s our five top tips for taking a more holistic approach to job packages that can make all the difference between losing top talent and making sure they sign on the dotted line. 

  1. Unlocking hidden benefits 

When there’s a lot to communicate in a job spec, benefits are often the first thing to get condensed or cut. 

Two-thirds say benefits are as important if not more important than salary, with a similar percentage saying benefits will be a key priority when applying for their next role.  

Whether it’s tangible benefits, like healthcare or an on-site gym, or culture-based benefits, like team events and remote working, make sure you communicate the full breadth of benefits the job package includes. 

  1. Tailoring bonus structures

There might not be any stretch when it comes to base salary, but there are many different bonus structures out there that can help attract and retain top sales talent. 

Think about which activities drive sales for your business and get creative with a tiered bonus structure. You could also add in activity-based bonuses for the initial few months to make sure the candidate’s take-home gets a boost right from the start. 

What’s great about generous bonus structures is that when they win, so do you. 

  1. Negotiating equity and stock options 

An alternative to a bigger salary in the short term is to offer new starters a stake in the company. 

The exact amount you’re able to offer depends on a number of factors, with the average equity share in startups hovering around 1%

Offering equity or stocks shows that you’re committed to both them as a team member and to the company’s growth in the long-term, even if the short term salary might not be what they had in mind. 

  1. Customising benefit packages

There’s much more to a job package than just the salary; the right benefits can be the deciding factor between two similar offers, even when the other salary is higher. 

Over four in ten employees don’t think their current company’s benefit package meets their needs, and half even say they’d accept a pay reduction for a more tailored benefits package. 

To use this strategy effectively, talk to the candidate to find out what they really value. If they have young kids at home, flexible working might be the benefit that wins them over, or if their family is overseas the ability to work from a different timezone for a month a year might suit them best. 

Take the time to understand the things beyond salary that matter to a candidate and create a benefits package that’s perfectly tailored to what works for them. This shows that you’re being as flexible as possible in the areas where you do have stretch. 

  1. Emphasising career growth opportunities

If you’re talking salaries with a candidate, chances are they like you as much as you like them. They’re picturing themselves as part of the team – they’re invested. 

Capitalise on that interest and a great mutual fit by painting a picture of what their long-term career with you could look like. 

Progression could mean a promotion, but it can include other learning perks too. A huge 86% say that they’d change jobs if another company offered more opportunities for development. 

Where possible, share examples of others who’ve joined your business at the same level and have progressed, as well as how you support learning and development throughout your business.  

Communicating your offer

Articulating the full range of what you offer as an employer is crucial to navigating that tricky final stage of the recruitment process. 

Taking a clear, proactive approach to understanding a candidate’s expectations at the start of a process can also avoid losing time or, even worse, a successful candidate at the final hurdle. 

We’ve been curating our network of top Fintech sales talent for twenty years, often placing top talent multiple times throughout their career. 

To learn more about how we ensure a smooth, successful recruitment process by getting to know candidates and their expectations, get in touch with the team at Finiti for a friendly chat.  

Fintech Valuations: Navigating a changing landscape

| 5 minutes

Sky-high valuations are so 2021. Faced with soaring interest rates and cautious investors, the overnight Fintech unicorn is back to being a myth.

 Fintech firms are facing a new reality, and with it new valuations that cause headaches, create challenges, and present new opportunities. 

The Decline in Fintech Valuations

According to analysts at Jefferies Group, listed Fintech firms saw their valuations plummet by 70% in 2022. 

Even the biggest names aren’t immune. In early 2021, payments giant Stripe achieved a funding valuation of $95 billion, but its secondary market valuation has since dropped by 73% to $52.5 billion

Cautious investors, cooling valuations

The changing valuations in the Fintech industry reflect the uncertain economic conditions. As interest rates rise and the global economy remains unsteady, investors are becoming more cautious and reevaluating their strategies. 

Combined with the high-profile collapse of Crypto Exchange FTX and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March, investor confidence in Fintech has cooled and so have the valuations. 

Disaster or recalibration? 

At first glance, it seems like bad news for Fintech. If valuations are down, does that mean Fintech’s heyday is over already? 

Industry thought leaders and some investors see it differently, framing today’s lower valuations as a much needed recalibration. 

At the end of September the European Investment Fund (EIF) held a VC event in Luxembourg. They made it clear that they see the valuations of 2020 and 2021 as the issue – anomalies – and today’s valuations have got things back on track. 

New valuations, new opportunities

Decreasing valuations open up opportunities for traditional banks to enter the Fintech space through strategic acquisitions. 

JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. lender, jumped on the Fintech acquisition opportunity early, acquiring Renovite Technologies Inc, a cloud-based payments technology company, in September 2022. 

Traditional banking institutions have seen the demand for more innovative financial services. They’ve seen which startups have flourished, and now they have a chance to snap them up at a bargain rate. 

Bucking the trend

Like every good trend, there are some exceptions. HR and payroll-focused firms have seen their valuations hold or even increase. 

Despite the collapse of their banking partner, Rippling’s $11.25 billion 2022 valuation held steady in their recent $500M series E funding round.

HR-tech unicorn Gusto saw their valuation increase by 5% to £10 billion, and remote-working focused Deel remains one to watch as long as they continue to prioritise compliance.  

Their resilience is down to their focus in an area associated with business efficiency. As companies prioritise digital transformation and remote work, the demand for streamlined HR and payroll services has increased. 

For Fintech firms that can identify market trends and position themselves in resilient, growing sectors, overnight success could still be a dream come true. 

Building the team

Building the right team to navigate a changing market, fluctuating valuations, and even possible acquisitions is hard. 

Creating a sustainable revenue pipeline is key to achieving that all-important growth and maintaining valuations. 

We only recruit in one sector, for one type of role: Fintech sales. With our talent network, we know the top fintech talent personally, taking the time to match preferences and personalities as well as job specs. 

To tell us about a sales leader recruitment brief or just to chat to us about the shape of your Sales division, get in touch with the Finiti Search team.

Unicorns in waiting: 5 Fintech startups to watch

| 5 minutes

The pace of innovation is just one of the many reasons we love working in Fintech; yesterday’s idea can quickly turn into the billion-dollar unicorn of tomorrow. 

There are already more than 300 Fintech unicorns, with four new companies making the cut this year and three previously public companies rejoining the list. With a combined value of $1.55 trillion and counting, there’s no doubt that these giants will continue to shape the Fintech industry.

But who will be next to join their exclusive club? Here’s the top five unicorns-in-waiting that we have our eyes on. 

Codat

Founded in 2017, this software startup has rapidly emerged as a key player in Fintech. 

On a mission to streamline the exchange of financial data between small businesses and financial institutions, Codat has experienced exponential growth. In just six years, their client base has grown to over 10,000 businesses worldwide. 

Fueled by substantial funding, they’ve secured a total of $176.8 million from big names including JP Morgan Growth Equity Partners and Shopify which they’ve invested in enhancing their platform and hiring top talent. 

As they continue to scale, Codat is perfectly poised to revolutionise how businesses interact with their financial data and become a business must-have. 

Clarity AI

Another 2017 startup, Clarity AI leads the way when it comes to sustainable finance. 

Their values-led approach has clients and investors queuing out the door. They’ve secured over $80 million in funding, enabling the company to expand its operations, develop cutting-edge technology, and attract top-notch talent. 

This year, their valuation has skyrocketed to an impressive $450 million. It’s a valuation that’s only set to rise alongside demand for ESG-driven solutions and a more responsible, ethical financial landscape.

SentiLink

SentiLink, an innovative identity verification startup, has rapidly established itself as a leading player in the cybersecurity industry. 

Since 2016, it’s attracted widespread attention earning a place on Forbes’ Fintech 50 list and achieving a valuation of $430 million

Their technology that enables businesses and financial institutions to detect and prevent fraud has been widely adopted. Securing over $85 million in funding, their 300 customers include other major Fintech players and seven of the US’s 15 largest banks. 

As companies look to stay compliant and protect revenue through proactive risk management, we predict it won’t be long before SentiLink become a unicorn. 

Abound

What happens when a former EY director focused on lending and credit analytics and the Global Head of Digital Lending at McKinsey team up? Abound. 

The dynamic duo set about to revolutionise the way individuals access financial assistance with a little help from AI. Focusing on inclusion and responsible lending, Abound wanted to deliver a user-friendly interface with transparent lending options. 

Hugely successful in terms of funding, they recently raised over £500 million which will be used to develop their B2B capabilities and grow their headcount. 

Founders Dr Michelle He and Gerald Chappell predict their balance sheet will hit the $1 billion mark by 2025, but we think these two have the potential to exceed even their own expectations.  

Cleo

Calling Gen Z, your personal financial assistant is here: meet Cleo. Jargon free and powered by AI, this increasingly popular app enables users to take control of their personal finances and make more informed financial decisions.

Named one of the best money saving apps of 2023 by the Metro, the Cleo team have already secured $137.5 million in investments, $80 million of which was in June this year, which they plan to use to grow their team by almost 60%

With their valuation now sitting at the $500 million mark – five times their 2020 valuation and huge potential for B2B integrations, Cleo is set to become the go-to money management tool of the digital banking age. 

Creating unicorns

Achieving this kind of growth doesn’t happen on its own – it needs a great team, and having the right sales leaders in place is a critical hire for any Fintech startup. 

We’re incredibly proud of the role Finiti Search has played in finding the right people to take startups from ideas to unicorns-in-waiting and love watching business grow into household names. 

If you’re looking for the perfect person for an open role or want to chat more about shaping your future sales team, get in touch to find out more about Finiti Search and our talent network and unique approach.

Happy 10th birthday unicorns! What we’ve learnt from a decade of raising unicorns

| 5 minutes

You know what they say: they’re all grown up before you know it! 2023 marks a decade of the so-called unicorn startups.  Rare and valuable, achieving “unicorn” status is a start-up dream-come-true for founders and investors alike. But the unicorns of 2023 are starting to look a little different to their mythical friends from previous years. 

What is a unicorn? 

Venture capitalist and founder of Cowboy Ventures, Aileen Lee created the term in 2013 to describe billion-dollar software companies. 

Some believe the term only applies to startups, whilst others pin it down more, defining unicorns as VC-backed companies valued at $1 billion or more. 

Companies lose their unicorn status if their valuation drops below $1 billion or they no longer need VC backing due to being acquired or going public. 

How common are unicorns? 

According to PitchBook’s Unicorn bible, there are currently 1323 active unicorns globally, a huge increase from the 39 startups that met Lee’s criteria back in 2013.  

Some of the best known and most valuable include Chinese sensation ByteDance, Stripe, and the now infamous OpenAI

Are they endangered?

Despite the huge increase in billion-dollar valuations over the last ten years, unicorns are starting to become more rare again. 

Companies achieving unicorn status hit a peak in 2021 when 606 startups proudly donned their shiny white coats and placed glittery single horns on their heads. 

That number dropped by 42% YOY with only 349 unicorns crowned in 2022. Now halfway through 2023, only 44 startups have achieved that billion-dollar valuation.

Where can I find a unicorn? 

Much like in Fintech, the US is the place to go if you’re looking for unicorns; just over half (695 companies) call the US home. 

China has around a third of that number (265), with India (66), the UK (45) and Germany (27) below the 100 unicorn threshold. 

But don’t saddle up and head for the US just yet. In 2023’s class of unicorns, less than half are in North America (48%), with the percentage of unicorns in Asia growing to 32%, up from around 20% in 2022. 

What does my unicorn do all day? 

This year’s unicorns are also a little different when it comes to how they make their billions. 

In the 2021 peak, the top industries for unicorns were IT, healthcare and consumer-facing products and services. 

Whilst IT remains first past the post, B2B and energy focused businesses have climbed up the tables, taking second and third place respectively. 

The next decade of unicorns 

In the current economic climate, funding is harder to come by and investors are more wary. 

Startup valuations reflect this. In Q1 2023, only 71% managed to achieve a higher valuation than previous rounds, with almost one in five experiencing a “downround”.  

Unicorns are becoming rarer, and that’s a trend that’s likely to continue. But that might not be a bad thing. Unicorns are supposed to be rare. They’re the magical exception to the tough reality of startups. 

Being less focused on racing to the billion-dollar valuation might just give some promising startups the room they need to breathe, reflect, and to build a sustainable business that’s a trusty steed rather than a glamorous myth.

Need your next jockey? 

Whether you’re at the billion-dollar mark or fresh out of the stable, we focus exclusively on putting the right sales team in place to grow your Fintech business. If you’d like to find out more about sales roles in the start-up sector, we’d love to hear from you. And if your business is growing in this industry and is looking to attract some great talent, we think Finiti Search can help. 

Get in touch to find out more about how we can help – no more horse puns, we promise.

Dream job or risky nightmare: How to assess whether that startup leadership role is too much of a risk

| 4 minutes

When you’re a C-suite leader looking for your next challenge, there’s only a small pool of top roles to consider. It’s a shrinking pool too, with the number of CEO roles in the US alone declining by 19% over the past ten years. 

For those in the traditional finance sector, economic instability has led to even fewer options with the number of banking sector employees decreasing for the first time since 2020

With fewer opportunities at familiar names, many C-suite finance leaders are considering making the leap into Fintech and joining a startup. 

The idea of leading a company from rookie to household name is a big pull, but how can you assess whether a startup leadership role is a great opportunity or a huge risk? 

Startup survival odds 

Recent research has put startup failure rates as high as 90%

There’s a common misconception that most fail in the first year, but that only accounts for 1 in 10 failures. Most fledgling businesses fail between years two and five

When researching a potential startup employer, look at how long the business has been operating to get an idea of whether the risk level is at its peak. 

Money, money, money

Understanding how much funding a startup has is key to evaluating the risk. In the UK, 38% of startups fail simply because they run out of cash. 

Websites like Crunchbase and Pitchbook are great for getting an understanding of how much funding an organisation has secured and when. 

Estimate the runway

The amount of funding is only half the story. What may seem like a great level of investment won’t offset the risk for a very cost-heavy business. 

In the startup world, firms often talk about their “runway”: their burn rate minus revenue. 

You won’t be able to calculate this precisely as an outsider, but when you’re researching the company, think about whether it’s a cost-heavy business model and the size of the team. 

Though Fintech startups often have low-cost setup costs, team costs can spiral. Payroll is one of the biggest startup expenses; as a rough guide, payroll costs average $300,500 per five employees in the US. 

Who’s got their back

As well as how much funding they have and how they’re spending it, look into who their investors are. 

More than one investor is reassuring as it reduces dependency and is a positive reflection on the business’s potential. 

Seeing major VCs listed as investors is also a good indication that the business is stable and going in the right direction. 

Meet the team 

In a small business, everyone’s actions influence the company’s success and direction – positively or negatively.

The most important piece of due diligence you can do is to look into the team currently running the business. 

Use LinkedIn to get a feel for whether current business leaders are operating in their area of expertise and whether they’ve had previous successful ventures. 

High team turnover can also be visible on LinkedIn and is an important red flag to consider. 

Further down the recruitment process, be sure to spend time with the founder(s) to get a feel for how involved they are in the day-to-day running of the business and whether they’re someone you could work with. 

Taking the plunge 

Even a well-funded startup led by a great team can go bust, but in today’s uncertain markets, the risk of redundancy is unfortunately just as real in established financial institutions

Leadership roles at startups offer pace, stretch, and the ability to really see the impact of your decisions – your leadership – on the company’s success. 

If you’re interested in leadership roles with some of the most exciting new names in Fintech, get in touch to tell us a bit more about yourself and take the first step to finding that dream startup role.