Capital2's Blog

Recruitment and Career advice for the High Tech and Banking Industries

Q2 Update

Q2 is looking much more positive on the hiring front. We will complete assignments in France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands….. and many of our clients are feeling better about market conditions moving forward.

The banking sector remains flat, but technology, particularly among pre IPO companies seems to be keeping its head above water.

Let’s hope this positivity continues!!


May 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Additional Geographical and Sector Focus

As we have expanded our team, we have added in consultants with new areas of expertise. As well as our core markets of banking and technology in Southern Europe and the UK, Capital2 Solutions is now well placed to deliver on recruitment assignments in the following territories:

  • Germany
  • DACH and Eastern Europe, including Russia
  • Middle East
  • South Africa
  • Singapore

We have also added the following sector specialisms:

  • Mobility Solutions (including Telco)
  • Renewable Energy

The idea is that through growth, we are able to increase our service offering, without distracting from our ability to deliver world class recruitment solutions.

2009 is shaping up to be a difficult year, but our commitment to our clients’ needs, coupled with our flexibility should enable us to thrive in an increasingly challenging market.

February 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sub Prime woes continue. Boooooooo

France’s biggest retail bank Credit Agricole made a loss in the last three months of 2007, hit by a hefty charge at its Calyon investment banking arm. Credit Agricole lost 857m euros ($1.3bn, £657m) in the fourth quarter, after Calyon took a 3.3bn-euro charge on losses related to the credit crisis.

That charge is worse than Credit Agricole’s forecast in December of a 2.5bn-euro loss.

The bank also dismissed rumours that it might bid for Societe Generale.

March 5, 2008 Posted by | Banking News, Macroeconomic News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How we operate / deliver……

Capital2 Solutions is not a volume driven agency. We only work in close partnership with key clients across EMEA.

We do not have a huge database of candidates, we do not use the major job boards…. we use our extensive network and research-led headhunting techniques to go out and find the right candidates for our clients.

We do not employ inexperienced people and then micromanage them with demanding sales-targets… we partner with a range of experienced recruiters and, if our internal team needs further help we employ experienced freelancers on a ‘fee on success’ basis, so our clients can be guaranteed of quality delivery from quality, career recruiters.

There’s how we’re different…… we’re a company of human size and human capabilities. No empty promises on delivery, just open, honest and highly expert work. Intelligent and Innovative recruitment.

February 25, 2008 Posted by | Capital2, For Employers | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Basic Interview Questions, Hints and Tips

Capital2 Solutions generally works with experienced, senior candidates. However, even at this end of the career ladder some candidates make basic interviewing mistakes which can harm their chances of getting the job they apply for. Here are some basic guidelines to ahere to, whether you’re going for a Director level job or an entry level position:


Find out as much information as possible about your prospective employer in advance. Many now have websites which are packed with information. Familiarise yourself with mission statements, past performance, future goals and current analyst ratings. Be aware that if your prospective employer does have a comprehensive website, you may seriously compromise your chances if it becomes apparent you have not taken time to research it.

If there is no company website, it is still easy to research your employer. All national newspapers and professional magazines have online sites with archive articles. You can also utilise web search engines just by entering the company name. Talk to anyone you know who has worked at the organisation. If all else fails do try phoning the company and requesting general information. 

Interview tips

  • Greet your interviewer standing, with a strong, firm handshake and a smile! Good body language is vital. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Speak clearly and confidently. Try and maintain a comfortable level of eye contact throughout.
  • A standard interview will generally start with an introductory chat, moving on to questions specific to your application and experience. General information about the company and role may follow, finishing with an opportunity for you to ask your own questions.
  • Be familiar with your CV and prepared to answer questions from it. Similarly, ensure you have read any job description thoroughly and think of ways in which your experience will benefit your potential employer.
  • Listen to what is being asked of you. Think about your answers to more difficult questions and do not give irrelevant detail. Give positive examples from your experience to date but be concise. Avoid one word answers however. Prepare yourself in advance for common interview questions.
  • Be ready to ask questions that you have prepared beforehand. This can demonstrate you have thought about the role and done some research on the organisation. Ensure they are open, thus encouraging the interviewer to provide you with additional information.
  • Show your enthusiasm for the role, even if you have some reservations. These can be discussed at a later stage.

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Answer: Identify some of your main attributes and memorise them. Describe your qualifications, career history and range of skills, emphasising those skills relevant to the job on offer.

Q: What have your achievements been to date?

A. Select an achievement that is work-related and fairly recent. Identify the skills you used in the achievement and quantify the benefit it had to the company. For example, ‘my greatest achievement has been to design and implement a new sales ledger system, bringing it in ahead of time and improving our debtors’ position significantly, saving the company £50,000 a month in interest’.

Q: Are you happy with your career-to-date?

A: This question is really about your self-esteem, confidence and career aspirations. The answer must be ‘yes’, followed by a brief explanation as to what it is about your career so far that’s made you happy. If you have hit a career plateau, or you feel you are moving too slowly, then you must qualify your answer.

Q: What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it?

A: The purpose of this question is to find out what your definition of difficult is and whether you can show a logical approach to problem solving. In order to show yourself in a positive light, select a difficult work situation which was not caused by you and which can be quickly explained in a few sentences. Explain how you defined the problem, what the options were, why you selected the one you did and what the outcome was. Always end on a positive note.

Q: What do you like about your present job?

A: This is a straightforward question. All you have to do is make sure that your ‘likes’ correspond to the skills required for the job on offer. Be enthusiastic; describe your job as interesting and diverse but do not overdo it – after all, you are looking to leave.

Q: What do you dislike about your present job?

A: Be cautious with this answer. Do not be too specific as you may draw attention to weaknesses that will leave you open to further problems. One approach is to choose a characteristic of your present company, such as its size or slow decision-making processes etc. Give your answer with the air of someone who takes problems and frustrations in your stride as part of the job.

Q: What are your strengths?

A: This is one question that you know you are going to get so there is no excuse for being unprepared. Concentrate on discussing your main strengths. List three or four proficiencies e.g. your ability to learn quickly, determination to succeed, positive attitude, your ability to relate to people and achieve a common goal. You may be asked to give examples of the above so be prepared.

Q: What is your greatest weakness?

A: Do not say you have none – this will lead to further problems. You have two options – use a professed weakness such as a lack of experience (not ability) on your part in an area that is not vital for the job. The second option is to describe a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered to be a strength and the steps you have taken to combat it. An example would be: “I know my team think I’m too demanding at times – I tend to drive them pretty hard but I’m getting much better at using the carrot and not the stick”.

Q: Why do you want to leave your current employer?

A: State how you are looking for a new challenge, more responsibility, experience and a change of environment. Do not be negative in your reasons for leaving. It is rarely appropriate to cite salary as your primary motivator.

Q: Why have you applied for this particular job?

A: The employer is looking for evidence that the job suits you, fits in with your general aptitudes, coincides with your long-term goals and involves doing things you enjoy.  Make sure you have a good understanding of the role and the organisation, and describe the attributes of the organisation that interest you most.

Other common interview questions to consider:

  • How does your job fit in to your department and company?
  • What do you enjoy about this industry?
  • Give an example of when you have worked under pressure.
  • What kinds of people do you like working with?
  • Give me an example of when your work was criticised.
  • Give me an example of when you have felt anger at work. How did you cope and did you still perform a good job?
  • What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with?
  • Give me an example of when you have had to face a conflict of interest at work.
  • Tell me about the last time you disagreed with your boss.
  • Give me an example of when you haven’t got on with others.
  • Do you prefer to work alone or in a group? Why?
  • This organisation is very different to your current employer – how do you think you are going to fit in?
  • What are you looking for in a company?
  • How do you measure your own performance?
  • What kind of pressures have you encountered at work?
  • Are you a self-starter? Give me examples to demonstrate this?
  • What changes in the workplace have caused you difficulty and why?
  • How do you feel about working long hours and/or weekends?
  • Give me an example of when you have been out of your depth.
  • What have you failed to achieve to date?
  • What can you bring to this organisation?

Remember, these tips are just guidelines, and it is important that you don’t trot out the same old robotic responses to these questions. Try to appear engaging and interested, also be sure to add in personal anecdotes and stories aimed at showing your true personality and way of working.

 Oh, and GOOD LUCK!

January 28, 2008 Posted by | Capital2, Interview Technique | , , , , , , , | 46 Comments


Quotes and maxims guiding the thought processes of the Capital2 Teams across Europe:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Oscar Wilde

“August 9, 1995, will go down in history as the day the dot-com boom was born. What set it off was the initial public offering of Netscape, a tiny, two-year-old software maker in Silicon Valley that had almost no revenues and not a penny of profits.” Alan Greenspan

“Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand” Homer J Simpson

“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.” Winston Churchill

“Action is eloquence” William Shakespeare

“All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind” Aristotle

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” Voltaire

“Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.” Diderot

“A banker is a fellow that lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining but wants it back the minute it starts to rain.” Mark Twain

“Wax on, wax off”

“Life is what happens to you whilst you’re making other plans.” John Lennon in 1980

“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” De Gaulle

“Europe will never be like America. Europe is the product of history, America is the product of philiosophy.” Margaret Thatcher

“The important thing is this: to be able to sacrifice at any moment what we are for what we could become.” Charles du Bos

January 21, 2008 Posted by | The Team | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US enters recession according to Merrill Lynch, will this knock on into EU?

From the BBC:

The feared recession in the US economy has already arrived, according to a report from Merrill Lynch.

It said that Friday’s employment report, which sent shares tumbling worldwide, confirmed that the US is in the first month of a recession.

Its view is controversial, with banks such as Lehman Brothers disagreeing.

But a reserve member of the committee that sets US rates warned that it could do little about the below-trend growth expected in the next six months.

“I am concerned that developments on the inflation front will make the Fed’s policy decisions more difficult in 2008,” Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said.

He was referring to the problems faced by the US Federal Reserve, which might want to cut interest rates to avoid a recession, but is worried about inflationary factors such as $100-a-barrel oil.

January 8, 2008 Posted by | Macroeconomic News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


As this blog is an informal forum on which individual members of the Capital2 Solutions team can post, we have been asked to make it clear from our management that this Blog does not in any way represent the views of Capital2 Solutions Ltd or Capital2 Solutions SARL as a group of companies. All posts reflect the views only of the individual posting the blog.

Ah well now that’s cleared up we can get on with putting the world to rights!

January 7, 2008 Posted by | Capital2 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2008 Predictions

Happy New Year! Bonne Année!

The New Year always brings a rash of predictions for the 12 months ahead. Here are a few lighthearted ideas about what 2008 will bring in our world of European Recruitment for the banking and high-tech sectors, and also in the wider, weirder world:

  • With the price of oil continuing to rise even after hitting the magical $100 dollar mark, company cars and fuel cards become a thing of the past as high tech firms begin to offer company unicycles instead. This is fine at HQ in California and actually increases productivity, but this is matched by dismay in the Nordics where the idea of unicycling to work through 2 metres of snow is not widely appreciated.
  • The Banking sector continues to mask the true extent of the sub-prime lending fiasco by flooding the market with equity and funding several high profile M+A rounds….. the public is satisfied that the global economy is strong and consumer confidence increases. That is until the memoires of the ex Merrill Lynch boss are published in june entitled ‘you bunch of fools – how we let banks rule the world badly’.
  • Hiring at Google continues apace and a new initiative is launched whereby using their search technology they can pinpoint geniuses (geniuii??) actually in the womb. A six month foetus provisionally named Jean-Lucien becomes head of R+D in April.
  • The search for Credit Risk analysts in UK retail banking becomes so competitive that new graduates are offered £40k.
  • The Private Banking world decides that Switzerland and Luxembourg are not private enough for their clients and the entire industry decamps to a remote iceberg off the coast of Antarctica. With the summer seas warming up around April, many analysts and money managers slip off and drown in June-July. Frustrated by the dwindling talent pool, UBS begin training penguins as client managers.
  • Monaco declares war on France as Nicolas Sarkozy insults the principality by going ‘on the pull’ there in September after his acrimonious split from yet another supermodel. His lewd comments at a photo of the then Grace Kelly infuriate the Monegasques and lead to a diplomatic crisis and ultimately war.
  • Monaco wins and abolishes tax on income in France.
  • Bloomberg enters the race for the US presidency.
  • The US election leads to either a democrat or a republican in the White House (a bold prediction)….. nothing really changes.
  • Capital2 Solutions continues to grow and develop as a company…….

Have a very happy and prosperous 2008, we wil revisit these predictions at the end of the year to see how close we get. In the meantime our website is now LIVE! So visit us at

January 3, 2008 Posted by | Banking News, Capital2, Macroeconomic News, random, Technology News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Macro News….

As reported by the BBC, the european commission is now re-forecasting its economic growth figures:

Brussels is now forecasting 2.4% growth in the 27-member union in both 2008 and 2009, compared to 2.7% this year.

In the 13-member eurozone, growth is expected to slow to 2.2% next year, down from the 2.6% projected for 2007.

European banks have not been immune to the global credit crisis triggered by the slump in the US housing market.

Several German and French lenders have already experienced problems due to bad mortgage-backed investments, although not nearly on the same scale as in the US.

November 11, 2007 Posted by | Macroeconomic News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment