Recruit the Right Advisor for Your Firm in 5 Steps

Kristen Terpstra
Kristen Terpstra

11.16.22 in Marketing & Practice Management

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes (928 words)

Marketing and Project Management

Recruiting the right advisor to strengthen your firm or drive growth has never been easy. For the past year (and counting), the “Great Resignation” has significantly complicated the advisor talent shortage in our industry. But there’s good news! It’s possible to address today’s challenges by reimagining your hiring practices with these 5 steps:

  1. Consider alternatives before you hire

  2. Use a targeted screening profile

  3. Be savvy about your search tactics

  4. Focus the interview on “what” and “why”

  5. Steer clear of common hiring pitfalls

1. Consider Alternatives Before You Hire

The wrong hiring decision can be costly, so before recruiting an advisor, consider your assumptions and whether the following alternatives would make sense.

“I want to hire a potential successor.”

Alternative: Establish a continuity plan with another advisor in your firm while you search for an ideal successor.

“I want to share ideas with another advisor.”

Alternative: Look for other ways to connect with advisors, such as networking and business events or LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

“I want to share overhead costs.”

Alternative: If your firm's compliance rules allow, rent part of your space to a CPA or an attorney—who could also be a referral source.

“I want to hand off service to C and D clients.”

Alternative: Prune your C and D clients or move them to a lower service tier.

2. Use a Targeted Screening Profile

If you’ve decided to hire an advisor, determine the relationship you want to have with this individual. Are you looking to hire an associate advisor to work behind the scenes or directly with clients? Do you want to hire this person as an employee, share clients with them, or simply share space with another producing advisor?

Once you’ve clarified the advisor’s role, make a list of what you’re looking for, such as:

  • Years of experience or point in career

  • Production and business mix

  • Knowledge, skills, and designations

  • Client service standards and service model

  • Investment philosophy

  • Growth trajectory and business goals

  • Client niche

  • Personality and personal values

Once you’ve compiled your list, use it to create the job advertisement you’ll share with your network, job boards, and candidates.

3. Be Savvy About Your Search Tactics

Since 2020, many businesses successfully shifted to virtual interviewing and remote working. This change means geography doesn’t have to limit your talent search. Use the following resources to either focus or expand your recruiting efforts in any location.

  • Referrals. Tapping into your professional network is still the gold standard. Alert trusted professionals, including other advisors and centers of influence (such as CPAs, bankers, attorneys, and wholesalers), that you’re recruiting.

  • Industry-specific directories and job boards. If you need a CFP® practitioner, the CFP Board Career Center offers a recruiting search tool. The Financial Planning Association Job BoardNational Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and eFinancialCareers are also helpful sites for finding qualified candidates.

  • Non-industry job boards. Job sites like Indeed.com are still common places to post your ad. The job search board for a local chamber of commerce could also be a good source of leads.

  • Universities offering CFP® courses or finance degrees. Check out university job boards in any locale and consider reaching out to their alumni groups.

  • LinkedIn. Post a status update announcing your job search to your feed or upload a free listing using LinkedIn Jobs.

  • Google. Google’s powerful algorithms will enable your advisor talent search in any ZIP code. Even if the advisors you contact don't want to make a move, they may know a candidate who's interested.

4. Focus the Interview on "What" and "Why"

After you’ve identified some leads, a good first step is to review their work history on FINRA BrokerCheck. Next, you’ll want to meet your ideal candidates and sell your story. To determine who’s a true match, focus on questions like “What’s in it for the candidate?” and “Why does this advisor want to make a change?”

What’s in it for the candidate? Think from the advisor’s point of view—how will this individual benefit from affiliating with your firm? What’s your firm’s value proposition, and why is your practice the right place for this advisor to land? Be ready to talk about:

  • Your service model

  • Access to a client niche

  • Opportunities to shift to a fee-based or financial planning approach

  • Use of technology and systems

  • Systematized client processes or systems within your firm

  • Peace of mind with succession or continuity

  • Collaboration and camaraderie

  • Your office location

  • Use of professional staff

  • Career development opportunities

  • A potential path to partnership (if appropriate)

To bring top talent into your firm and recruit the right advisor, you need to create a compelling story that explains the role’s benefits and addresses the candidate’s goals.

Why does this advisor want to make a change? And why now? People are motivated to find a new situation for many reasons, and it’s important to know what these reasons are. Ask questions such as:

  • Why are you looking to make a change?

  • What are your goals for this role? 

  • How could this position fit into your long-term goals?

  • How do you acquire clients? 

  • What service model do you prefer?

If you’re hiring to drive your firm’s growth, you’ll want to learn about this advisor’s achievements and prospecting experience.

5. Steer Clear of Common Hiring Pitfalls

Beware of forcing a round peg into a square hole. Hiring mistakes can usually be traced back to an initial misalignment of goals or expectations. Successful advisors are skilled at persuasion and selling themselves, so stick to your goals and don’t let yourself be charmed by an individual who isn’t a good match.

Avoid making concessions or believing someone will change to meet your vision. Focus on what the advisor brings to the relationship in their current state—not what you see as potential.

Patience Goes a Long Way

Last but not least, take your time with this decision. The hiring process can be long, especially given the advisor talent shortage resulting from the current low unemployment market and post-pandemic environment. Stick to your profile of the ideal advisor and continue looking for alternate solutions until you find the perfect candidate. Trust in the process and keep working toward your firm's future growth.

Why Hiring a Next-Gen Advisor Can Be Good for Your Business - CTA@2x

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2019, but we’ve updated it to bring you more relevant and timely information.

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