The head of HR at a top Wall Street bank explains what she looks for in new hires

Many people think you have to be a “Yes Man” to get ahead on Wall Street.

But that’s not the type of person Liz Lieberman wants working at her bank.

Lieberman recently joined RBC Capital Markets as managing director and Head of US Human Resources.

Before joining RBC Capital Markets in October 2016, Lieberman was the Global Head of HR at the Royal Bank of Scotland. She also held top HR roles at Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, and Deutsche Bank, according to her LinkedIn page.

RBC Capital Markets finished 2016 ranked 10 for investment banking fees in the US, according to Dealogic, increasing its market share. According to data firm Coalition, the firm ranked ninth for total investment banking revenues, including banking and sales and trading, in the Americas in the first half of 2016.

In an interview with Business Insider Lieberman shared some advice she received when she first started her career that informs her hiring decisions today.

“When I was starting my career, my boss told me: “Whenever someone asks you your opinion, you give it,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman said she is drawn to people who aren’t afraid to challenge others and speak their mind. And those are the qualities she looks for in new hires.

What else does Lieberman look for? A sense of humour, of course.

Here’s the relevant passage from the interview:

Frank Chaparro: What qualities do you look for in new hires?

Liz Lieberman: I’m drawn to people who show a natural proclivity towards learning and individuals who aren’t afraid to have an opinion and challenge others. When I was starting my career, my boss told me: “Whenever someone asks you your opinion, you give it.” It taught me to trust my instincts and stand strong in my convictions and I look for those same qualities in potential hires. Also, I look for humour — I spend a large portion of my week at work and I want to have a laugh with colleagues, especially during high stress, looming deadline moments.

More generally at RBC, we look for team players who demonstrate a collaborative approach, people who say “we” not “I.” We want people who are the “right fit” and this means that they complement our culture which is purpose-driven principles-led and performance-focused. We call this our “Collective Ambition” and we want people who show integrity, put the client first, are accountable, inclusive, and innovative and encourage diversity.

Read the whole interview here.

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