Brian McQuade, Managing Director, Human Resources for Mizuho Americas began his career with the firm nearly 20 years ago. Over that time he has seen many changes in the way firms select and assess top talent. When he started, online recruitment was in its infancy, and LinkedIn had yet to be founded. But while the tools may have changed, the need for talent remains the same. Brian shares his thoughts on what he looks for in an applicant.

Over your long career as a human resources professional, have you seen an evolution in the skill sets necessary to be a standout candidate? 

Being an expert in your field with demonstrable results and the ability to tell your story will always set candidates apart. But the work environment across all industries is changing and increasing in complexity. ‘Business as usual’ has a whole new meaning and we’ll likely never return to prior definitions. Candidates that can navigate and succeed in complex environments are setting the new standard for defining what’s in demand.  

Why do you think that is? 

For various reasons, companies across industries are reevaluating how they run their business. Innovating new products, adapting technology and continuous process improvement are no longer viewed as novel initiatives. It’s the new norm embedded in business areas across organizations. These issues are impacting positions at every level creating unprecedented change in the workplace. It’s requiring us all to be more of an innovator, problem solver and entrepreneur. 

Has this entrepreneurial spirit also been reflected in what companies offer potential hires? 

Absolutely.  Traditionally, companies invited to ‘come stay with us’. Today it is more like an invitation to ‘come partner with us,’ or ‘come help us solve this problem.’ Beyond the traditional total rewards, it’s also about what companies are offering that will enhance the skills, experiences and ultimately professional market value of someone that joins that organization. With the workforce being more mobile than ever, this is increasingly valued. I’ve found that people are attracted to Mizuho for similar reasons.

And that is what Mizuho seeks to offer potential employees?

It’s certainly one of the things offered. We work hard to create the right culture and give our employees the tools they need to succeed. But it’s how we’re evolving our business platform in the Americas and globally that’s creating dynamic opportunities for our employees. Whether it’s developing solutions for our clients or building a first-class infrastructure, our employees are driving work that’s innovative, leveraging emerging technology and making a difference for our clients. 

You receive dozens of resumes for every open position, how can a candidate best stand out?

Be concise but impactful. Submit your resume or online career pages for others to critique before applying to a position you want. You may be too close to the subject matter to be objective. And definitely leverage your network to find connections to the positions you are seeking. Referrals from Mizuho employees or those with relationships to the hiring manager are the personal touch that goes a long way.

What is the best way for a candidate to prepare for an interview at Mizuho?

Know our business, be very familiar with the position you are interviewing for and be ready to provide specific examples of how you can add value. We hear too often how many candidates have a problem answering the question “what do you know about our business and the position for which you are applying?” A fairly well-prepared answer to this question, or those like it, should be the start of a broader conversation on why you want to work for Mizuho and why you are right fit for the job. It is a missed opportunity otherwise.

What are some common missteps people make in an interview?

There are those who listen and those who wait to talk. In an interview, you want to be someone who listens. The interview for any job at any company has a basic underlying premise – ‘we have a problem to solve and how can you help us solve it.’ A good candidate will listen, diagnose that problem and address why they are the solution. It makes a big impression.

So, to sum up, what makes an ideal Mizuho candidate?

We look for flexible, commercially minded candidates with proven problem solving skills and a passionate and personable disposition. Regarding that last part, while it is important to be good at your job, it is also important to be good on the job. We want a working environment that meets our business goals but is also a gratifying place to work.

For more information about job opportunities at Mizuho Americas, please visit our Careers page.