Member Musings – Talent Nation

Richard Evans

How to hire the right people in the responsible investment space



By Richard Evans, Managing Director, Talent Nation

If you’re a professional working in responsible investment, facing a recruitment challenge to find an addition to your team, often you’re presented with an array of impressive resumes. Experience in top tier, blue chip organisations, relevant qualifications at the highest level, it seems like this will be a no brainer- with skills, knowledge and experience like this what could possibly go wrong?


Unfortunately, a lot. What could be missing is a vital ingredient for anyone working in the impact space, including responsible investment: purpose as a driving motivator. The willingness to get into work each day and work hard to make the world just a little bit better. Someone not purely motivated by money and improving the bottom line, but takes a longer and broader view at whether they are improving the world around them, or detracting from it. That trait is not often found on a CV, or even revealed in a series of interviews, as usually there isn’t any probing about what gets them up in the morning and work in a way that gives them real satisfaction.


There may be strong potential candidates in the marketplace, but they have a gap in understanding of what options are available to them to break into responsible investment or any impact space. They have the passion and motivation to jump in and work hard to make a difference, but no idea where to start, what career paths there are and what salary to expect. They need guidance on the pathways they can take to get where they want to go.


If you look to hire candidates based on skill-set alone, you may be met with some real challenges. Salaries in responsible or impact investment may not always match those in the mainstream corporate sector, so there will be a need to manage expectations throughout the recruitment process. If you square away the salary package, and offer a competitive salary reflective of industry norms, you may have to manage a real clash in motivation. Motivation of purpose-driven individuals can be at odds with those in the mainstream sector (think impact vs financial), which may cause a division in an otherwise solid, connected team, and have a knock-on effect to your projects and business plans.


The Solution.


We’ve covered the challenges. How does anyone find people who fit their company in skills, experience and ethos? The secret to finding these individuals is tapping into the right network. Oftentimes these individuals are not actively looking for work, so need to be approached by people they know.


You need to understand what you’re looking for. Look for the following attributes:

  1. Empathy. Someone who cares about what is going on around them.
  2. Purpose. They can articulate what excites them, they’re passionate about, and how they want that to feature in their career.
  3. Commercial. Being purpose-driven is key, but so is an understanding of the commercial drivers of performance and how to embed plans in commercial reality.
  4. Comfortable with legislature. With increased focus on the impact space, legislation is continuing to change to better serve the marketplace. Candidates need to be aware of and understand relevant legislature, and know how to comply with the requirements of these.



To find these people, tap into a network that looks beyond CVs to uncover the story behind the candidate, their passions and motivations. Couple this with the right skills and experience, and you may have unearthed a keeper.


Purpose-driven people working in roles they are passionate about is like adding an accelerator to a small flame. The right chemistry (personality, workstyle and culture) can ignite something very special. There is no easy way to attract these individuals, retain them for longer, all the while meeting your profit and shareholder expectations. It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle with very human parts. You need the network, but not just any network. You need to know the stories of the people in your consideration set (or perhaps you need to re-think your consideration set)– to discover the things about them that just won’t come across in a CV, but will make them an amazing asset to your team. Someone who can truly drive your agenda forward, oftentimes even more than the most qualified, experienced individual.


Talent Nation is a recruitment company specialising in impact placements.