As a recruiter, I am often the proverbial fly on the wall, listening and only occasionally guiding conversations between branch managers interviewing prospective hires.
Most interviews are straight forward. But occasionally, one of my candidates will say things that make me want to hit the re-wind button. I can’t do that – but I can share their sometimes amusing gaffes with you and say: “Don’t ever do this!”
1. “I got my branch manager fired.”
The adviser, who was very anxious to leave his firm, informed the branch manager interviewing him that his former branch manager was both stupid and incompetent. And he, the job candidate knew just how to deal with incompetence: He regularly went over the head of the hapless manager and complained to the higher-ups who cut him loose.
And guess what. This producer, the head of a multi-million-dollar team, didn’t think much of his current manager either.
The branch manager conducting the interview never said anything about the producer’s boasts. Instead, he went through the adviser’s complex system of investments and found somethings his firm just couldn’t accommodate – even for a high caliber investing team. I wonder why.
2. “We go through sales assistants like crazy. We can’t find any that are good enough.”
I could just see the red flag flapping in the face of the branch manager taking in this comment: This is a high- maintenance adviser who is impossible to satisfy.
This would mean the new branch manager would constantly be wasting his time managing disputes between the adviser and his sales assistants or would have to always be on the lookout for new ones.
A waste of time. Further, long-term successful producers typically have long-term sales assistants who play critical roles on the teams, often earning overrides on total business.
Once more, no deal.
3. “We’re only in it for the money.”
No, the financial adviser wasn’t riffing on Frank Zappa’s spoof of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This otherwise shrewd businessman was telling the prospective branch manager that the only reason he was taking the interview was to get the upfront money.
Now, let’s be honest.
Money is a critical factor in these deals. But even if that’s your reason for making a change, branch managers still like to think that they have something special to offer, like a flexible investment platform, excellent support and client-oriented service.
Branch managers are unlikely to open their purses if they believe you are just a soldier of fortune ready to switch armies once your contract ends.
4. “You’re one of five firms that I’m speaking to.”