If you want a truly sympathetic, client-oriented, timely, and informed service from the person you're entrusting with your career, are you better off going to a former banker for it?
The likes of Adrian Ezra (Execuzen), David Reynolds (Scott Reynolds), Alex Tracey (Clifden Partners), Steven Hones (i-Search), or Logan Naidu (The Cornell Partnership) would probably say yes. All did their time in banking before moving into search/recruitment.
"I was talking to a trader the other day, and he was surprised that I actually understood the market," says one trader who's now reincarnated as a headhunter. "He finds most people in the recruitment industry really don't know what he's talking about."
Unfortunately, finding a former banker to deal with in a recruitment context may be hard until you reach VP level or above - away from managerial roles, there aren't many financial professionals in so-called 'contingency recruitment' firms. In most cases, you'll have to be headhunted to come across them.
The downside to dealing with a recruiter with an industry background will be that it's harder to beguile them with exaggerated tales of your outstanding performance. If they're operating in your area of specialism, the chances are that they know people you've worked with and can verify/falsify your claims.
The other downside is that they may be unduly judgemental. "They can come in with a lot of assumptions about people and almost too much knowledge about what they think's going on in the market," says the director of one recruitment firm.