Labor Day has long been viewed not just as the dividing line between summer and fall, but as the time when people – advisors in our case – get back to thinking about their businesses overall.
It’s when questions like these often come to the surface…
- “Am in in the right place to grow my business?”
- “Are my clients best served here?”
- “Do I have the support I need?”
- “Am I fulfilling my life’s purpose?”
So as the days get shorter, the kids head back to school, and the world wakes up again, we expect to see an increase in the number of advisors looking to explore options beyond their current firms. As such, I thought I’d share some things that curious-minded folks should look for as they set the due diligence process in motion.
Meet the Hiring Manager
My firm belief is that the due diligence process that an advisor engages in with a hiring manager is a microcosm for what life could be like working for him. While it isn’t always true that the managers who are the most impressive before you are hired make the best managers overall, it is definitely true that someone who drops balls, is disrespectful to your junior partners and staff, is pushy and a poor listener while trying to woo you, is not the person you want to work for.
Here are 5 traits and behaviors you should be paying attention to:
1. Is he intuitive and a good listener?
Is he asking the right questions so that you come away feeling heard, clear on his firm’s ability to support your business, and confident in his ability to deliver on promises made?
2. Has he delivered a clear sense of “what’s in it for me?”
Instead of spewing platitudes, does he show you how he will solve for whatever your issues may be? Anyone can deliver a script outlining the many benefits of joining one’s firm, but the person you want to work for is able to connect the dots and customize the message in a way that’s relevant to you.
3. Does he badmouth the competition?
There is no greater turnoff or reason to be alarmed by than someone who isn’t confident enough in his own firm’s value proposition without undermining someone else’s.
4. Is he able to keep momentum going?
That is, does he respond to your requests and questions with information, references, documentation and connectivity to the right people? If the process is slow now, it’s likely to indicate it won’t be much better when you are working together.
Does he demonstrate a deep understanding of your business, as well as your personal and professional goals? That understanding is key to identifying an environment that is rooted in support for growth and respect.
The sad truth is that the best thing some advisors can say about their manager is, “He leaves me alone.” That seems to be a pretty low bar. And while there are managers out there that are nothing more than glorified compliance monitors, there are many who prove their value every day to the advisors they support by creating a relationship based on mutual trust. They do business and goal planning with their cohorts on a regular basis, proactively suggest solutions, deliver on promises made, and act as a tireless advocate and facilitator.
As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And it is that first impression of the hiring manager that will leave an indelible imprint, often providing an unedited forecast of things to come. As such, consider the 5 questions above as the qualifiers and then trust your instincts before moving forward.
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