Hiring Tips for Success

As an advisory firm the relationships you have with your clients is what I like to call “the secret sauce” of what makes your business successful. The people that work in your firm largely drive the value that is delivered to your clients. So the most important decision you make in the running of your firm is the selection of who joins your firm as a new hire. Building a team takes a commitment of time and resources, persistence and paying attention to the details of whom you recruit and why. As the firm leader, you need to set a strategy for human capital and look for the most appropriate people to support the firm’s value promise to clients.

Making a bad-hiring decision costs a firm in real dollars as well as lost productivity to fire or manage out the bad recruit.

Not to mention the possibility of having a negative impact on your most prized possession, your clients. So to help you make the best hire for your firm follow these tips:

  • Focus on hiring a candidate who matches with your firm culture. Values, work ethic, and attitude can’t be trained so make sure your interview questions are designed to screen for the qualities and characteristics that you can’t train.
  • Create a recruiting profile that blueprints your most successful employees. Think about who your best employees are and answer these questions: What are their key characteristics that make them successful? What are two or three core values or beliefs that they all share? Use this profile to recruit and screen candidates.
  • Prioritize what is most important for you to find in a candidate and what would be nice to have and screen based upon these elements. For example, if you are recruiting an experienced advisor to take over servicing existing clients and generate new business then the “ must have experience ” is a proven track record of servicing clients and bringing on board new clients. A “ nice to have experience” would be someone who has high visibility in the committee with a large network. I knew an owner who hired a candidate into an experienced advisor role ignoring that he did not have the required experience, but was so impressed that he did have great community ties and a large professional network. The recruit didn’t have a proven track record of servicing clients and closing new business and as a result he didn’t last a year with the firm.
  • Develop a pitch book to help get the word out about your firm and the job opportunities. You invest in marketing materials to attract the right clients so follow that same strategy in the search for the right employees to join your firm. Your pitch book should contain: firm profile, services you provide, your firm’s unique value proposition, the ideal client profile, business beliefs, culture, description of the role, general compensation & benefits information.
  • Make sure that finding key talent is an on-going process in your firm, not an activity that is pursued reactively when someone quits or the firm has reached maximum capacity. Recruiting should be something that is always being worked on and a priority for all of the senior management team.
  • Build your recruitment strategy around the concept of creating leverage for your professional staff. Additions to your team are most effective when they contribute to greater leverage at the advisor level, ensuring that advisors are not bogged down with administrative tasks and instead can spend more time on high-value tasks, like bringing in new clients and assets.