2022 Holiday Humor from KSB Consulting

Thank you for your support throughout the year.  Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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2021 Holiday Humor from KSB Consulting

Thank you for your support throughout the year.  Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Posted in Holiday Humor, KSB Consulting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to Identify a Toxic Work Environment During the Interview

This infographic was sent to me by a colleague and has some useful information about how to spot a potentially toxic work environment throughout the interview process.  Please read through to the end – there are 7 great questions to ask during your interview!

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2020 Holiday Humor from KSB Consulting

Thank you for your support throughout the year.  Have a safe and happy holiday season!



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The Interview – A View from Both Sides

As an executive recruiter, I hear a great deal about the interview process from both sides: the candidates I have presented to clients and the clients who are interviewing the candidates.  Here is what I have gleaned from these conversations:

What Candidates Say:

  • Opportunity for growth and career development programs are a priority for both younger workers and for seasoned bankers who may be stagnating in their current roles. Candidates want to hear about the growth plans for the bank and their careers. This may be more important than a larger compensation package.
  • Given the business impact of COVID-19, many candidates are hesitant about changing positions right now if they have a stable situation. It’s important to address how your bank views the implications on your balance sheet, financial performance, and staffing. Do you have a plan for next year? Right or wrong, many feel it is not good to be one of the “last in” if the bank is forced to reduce headcount.
  • Many of today’s candidates are interested in flexible schedules, a focus on health and well-being, and a sense of purpose greater than just contributing towards the profit of the company.

What Clients Say:

  • Clients want to hear more than what you are doing in your current job. They need to understand what you’ve accomplished.  Focus on specifics regarding the value you have delivered to your current employer in the interview.
  • In our industry, clients understand that you may have had many job moves due to mergers and acquisitions.That said, they want to know that you will be a loyal employee.  Loyalty isn’t about longevity, it just means that you are a committed and responsible employee who will pursue the company’s mission with gusto!

Please let me know your thoughts from either side of the table (or Zoom meeting!).

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Holiday Humor from KSB Consulting

For the past 10 years, KSB Consulting has been poking fun at the industry with a bit of holiday humor.  This year’s cartoon pokes fun at rebranding after a merger.  If you would like to see a retrospective of our cartoons for the last 10 years, each one reflective of unique circumstances in our industry, please click here for our 30 second slideshow.
KenanSoperBryant 2019 Holiday Humor
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10 Year Retrospective: Holiday Humor from KSB Consulting

For 10 years, KSB Consulting has been poking fun at the industry with a bit of holiday humor.  As seen in this retrospective of our cartoons, each one is reflective of the unique circumstances in our industry at the time it was created.  Each slide will display for 3 seconds before shifting to the next slide.  Enjoy!



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Why Are Good Younger Bankers So Hard to Find?

I’d say that I have some version of this conversation with my clients at least once a week.  The reality is that it is getting harder and harder to meet the demand for strong bankers who have a well-rounded skillset of credit, sales, and communication, and a strong book of business.  Let’s examine why, and explore some ideas on what to do about the issue.

Financial Services organizations, particularly in banking, lost popularity during the financial crisis of 2008 and the challenging economic years that followed.  Many newly qualified college graduates were frankly not interested in pursuing careers in the industry. Fast forward to current, and there are fewer young, up and coming bankers in the market. These candidates have been increasingly in demand as the economy has improved and banks have continued to expand.

Additionally, many bankers under 40 (ish) were NOT given the opportunity to participate in formal training programs as many who came before them, and have been forced to ‘piece meal’ their training during their careers.  I hear regularly from clients that today’s younger bankers do not have the same training (particularly credit) as their predecessors.

What can we do about this issue?  In my opinion, there are both short-term and long-term strategies to mitigate this issue. In the short-term, banks need good talent to drive and support growth.  In the long term, however, the industry must adjust to attract, train and retain good people.

Let’s start with short-term:

  • Differentiate your bank and your culture. This is not just for your clients and prospects, but also for recruitment of new employees.  Benefits, flexibility of schedule, training, stability, work environment and compensation are all factors to consider.
  • Cultivate relationships with bankers you want to hire. Keep a list.  Take them to lunch.  Get to know the people and their motivators.
  • Be prepared when opportunity knocks. This is not really an environment where you can budget to add a banker in Q3 and start recruiting in July.  The best policy is to keep an open door for good people and, if possible, be ready when the right person reaches that tipping point.

Some other near-term options that could work depending on your circumstances:

  • Go Out-of-Market: An option that may work for some banks is to go out of market for talent.  Particularly if you are in a market like Asheville, Charleston, or Greenville, SC which may be appealing to Gen Z or Millennials. While you do not get the market knowledge, you could potentially get someone who has the skillset and is motivated to move and become ingrained in a particular community.  This is a more difficult option if you need someone to build a book from ‘zero’ with limited ramp time.
  • Other Industries: Attributes of a good banker include attention to detail, the ability to build relationships, discipline, problem solving, and good communication.  What other types of industries/jobs require these skills and is there one that might yield some strong candidates?


  • Train and Retain: Many larger banks already have strong recruiting programs in place for MBA or Masters in Finance/Accounting students at universities with well-reputed business schools.  If you don’t have a strong training program in place for new or early-career bankers, consider developing (and marketing) a program that is designed to elevate young, talented bankers to the next level.  Leverage this for current employees and external candidates.  I know it can be expensive, but consider that again the cost of not having the right people on your team.  The reality is that your best bankers in the long run might be those you train and develop, and the pipeline for external options is not necessarily going to grow in the next several years.  Bottom line,  be prepared to invest in the long-term future of your bank, not just for next year’s production.

To sum it up, you should really have both short and long-term strategies to attack this challenge.  If industry players can all pull together on this issue, perhaps we fix can it over the next 5-10 years, ensuring the next set of strong bankers for our clients!

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Creating Teams That Reflect Your Customer Base

“Decades of filling senior roles with executives from inside the industry have dulled the skills necessary to attract, assess and successfully assimilate talent from wide-ranging industries and experiences.”  Robert Voth and Jane Bird, Co-Authors

As an executive recruiter, my role is to put the most qualified set of candidates in front of my clients.  Clients need people who will fit into their culture and perform at a high level in a fairly short period of time.  Those are understandable goals, and not unique to the banking industry.

However, as I read this article, it forced me to reflect on how well we are doing as an industry on the bigger picture of creating teams internally that are more reflective of the communities we serve.  As noted in the article, there is data to support the idea that companies whose leadership teams reflect their customer base significantly outperform peer companies.

A question to consider:  Is a focus on short-term results and immediate productivity overriding your ability to hire more strategically for the future?  

I understand that there is not a lot of ‘cushion’ at smaller banks for long ramp times, and we need to hire people who have the skills to hit the ground running in a given position.  However, I’d challenge ALL OF US to work together and look for those situations where the company can flex, bring in someone who might not check all the boxes on required skills, but can bring an important perspective by way of experience, race, and/or gender.

As an industry, we need to think more broadly for the future of our organizations as we continue to work day-to-day to meet our current objectives.

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Holiday Humor from KSB Consulting – 2018

Thank you for your support throughout the year.  Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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