This week, we sat down with Aren Besim, AVP within Banking and Finance in Los Angeles, specializing in Systematic Trading & Research. Aren brings seven years of recruitment experience to GQR. Learn more about Aren’s experience, why he joined GQR and is excited about the platform!
“Let’s start by discussing why you chose to join GQR and what your candidate experience was like.”
- What made GQR stand out for you during your interview process?
I was impressed by the quality of the people that I had met throughout the process and the fact that they appeared to be very selective about whom they wanted to bring on board. Most impressively, I was given the strong impression that the people I was speaking to were highly intelligent, motivated and good at what they do. I want to excel in my career and it was clear to me that I would be joining a culture of excellence whereby I would be challenged to hit audacious goals. Furthermore, the opportunity to join a company with a global reach that offers me the opportunity to travel the world and meet one of my long-held ambitions of moving to the US was exciting.
- What does GQR offer that was previously unavailable to you?
GQR’s unique collaboration model offers an opportunity to maximize one’s efficiency by monetizing every aspect of my output. I don’t believe this is available elsewhere in such a quantifiable way. Furthermore, GQR has an established legacy within the systematic trading market which means there are long-held relationships in place with leading firms which would have taken me some time to develop myself. Finally, the opportunity to collaborate and mobilize across global offices is something I didn’t have access to previously.
- How did GQR’s culture code factor into your decision to join the business?
I wanted to join a company who shared the values that I consider to be essential to becoming successful. So, learning about GQR’s culture code was a key part of my decision. Interestingly, during my interview process, it was pretty clear that the people I was speaking with, held these values at their core; and that is something which happens naturally by recruiting driven people.
- How did GQR’s strategic pillars factor into your decision to join the business?
The focus on specialization was the factor that I considered most actively. I was specifically looking for the ability to specialize and become an expert in a single, highly lucrative market. Furthermore, this was something which was encouraged from day one and a far cry from many other firms who are incentivized to go for the low hanging fruit. I loved the fact that I was expected to have a singular focus and excel rather than become a generalist.
- If you relocated for GQR, what was that process like and how did GQR support you?
The relocation process went pretty smoothly. GQR was very helpful in providing advice on where to live and how to settle in. I was particularly pleased that there was an evident empathy for the challenges which can exist when moving countries and there was/is an effort to make sure everything is going smoothly away from the office as well.
“Since joining the business, what has your experience been like so far?“
- How does the idea of “success” differ at GQR from your previous employer(s)?
Success at GQR is more than merely pulling some vacancies and doing some deals. It’s about building a scalable business founded upon strong relationships and subject matter knowledge. Furthermore, success at GQR seems to be as much about personal development as it is about driving revenue.
- How does GQR’s L&D platform compare to your last company?
My last company didn’t have one! I think the culture of learning here is fantastic and that is backed up by an excellent Learning & Development (L&D) platform. The amount of focus that goes into L&D is something that I think most recruitment companies would not consider a priority. However, the upside is definite, and I am enjoying that I am encouraged to keep on learning!
- What do you like most about working out of the Los Angeles office?
Other than being in Los Angeles? I am able to call candidates who are based in New York and Chicago after working hours with relative ease due to the time difference. So despite being two to three hours behind, I can actually maximize candidate exposure.
“How about we dive a bit more into your background?”
- What is the biggest misconception about the market you work in?
Candidates are used to talking with headhunters who will ask high-level questions without trying to really understand what they do. This means there is the perception that recruiters have no subject matter knowledge and are simply there so send job specs and set up interviews. In reality – a good recruiter will be able to challenge the conventional thinking of the candidates and clients they work with because they actually have a far clearer view of the landscape than they do.
- What does a day-in-the-life of a recruiter look like?
Typically, my day starts at 5:30 am when I wake up. I like to answer emails that may have come in overnight and earlier in the morning from New York and London and will respond to anything urgent right away. After arriving at the office, the bulk of my day will be consumed by headhunting and building relationships with clients. Before leaving, I will make sure I have achieved my goals for the day and begin planning for tomorrow.
- What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career to date?
There are lots. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You only get the amount of success that you ask for.
“Let’s get a little personal…”
- Highlight one thing you’ve mastered in terms of industry expertise and/or recruitment.
I feel an area of strength for me is being able to understand when a candidate is closed or if I need to have any tough conversations with them. So far as industry expertise, I’m very excited about the pace at which I am learning by speaking with candidates and clients.
- What is the biggest misconception about the talent acquisition industry?
Generally speaking, the recruitment market has a reputation for being a ‘cowboy’ industry where professionalism is hard to come by. Further, candidates do not think we know what we are talking about. I would actually say these perceptions are largely true for the wider industry! The good news is that, at GQR, we are able to separate ourselves from the pack very easily by having a true drive to become SMEs and wanting to achieve recognition for outstanding work.
- What books are currently on your nightstand?
Currently reading ‘The Laws of Human Nature’ by Robert Greene and have ‘Principles’ by Ray Dalio and ‘Prisoners of Geography’ by Tim Marshall. Bonus answer – my favorite book is ‘Total Recall’ by Arnold Schwarzenegger.