This is the third in a series of blog postings on succession planning for an advisory firm, with a focus on how to find, hire and retain good employees for your advisory firm.
In my 25 years as an employer, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to run a small financial advisory firm. Some lessons I’ve learned along the way haven’t come easy, but they’ve been invaluable to helping me and my team evolve into a more successful firm. Though there’s no foreseeing every pitfall that can derail your hiring plans, here are a few common mistakes you can avoid making:
Mistake No. 1: Hiring Too Quickly
No matter how diligent you may be in your hiring practices, chances are there has been that one time where you rushed to hire someone. Did you need to fill a critical spot during tax season? Did you need to snag that top advisor before some other firm snatched him/her up? Maybe you bypassed checking all of the references or you overlooked a few “minor” red flags during the interview process. You’ll find that just as quickly as you drop someone into a key role in your practice, you may discover that they just don’t fit. It can be a costly lesson to learn too late.
The Solution: Take a Deep Breath
No matter how badly you need that new position filled, take one step back and consider the cost of not taking the time to find someone right for the job. Have the candidate visit 3-5 times, meeting with different people in your firm as well as different locations. Have lunch and watch the way they interact and behave, and also put them in situations that they will be in if hired – and observe. Does this person share your outlook on client service? Do their long-term goals line up with yours? Check their references. Study their employment history. Don’t be distracted by shiny accolades or accomplishments. Most importantly, listen to your “little voice” – if something seems amiss it probably is! If you’ve already hired someone who isn’t meeting expectations, assess the damage; it may be time to roll up your sleeves and see if clear expectations and guidance can help steer them your way. Lastly, know when to call it – if someone simply isn’t right for your firm, don’t waste time trying to make it work.