We have been so blessed with the growth of the business that we are in the process of hiring two new employees. When I consider the headaches of the multi-million dollar advisor, most of them involve finding and keeping great team members. Here are some of the steps we use to create our own “dream team.”
1. The Ad
We used to run free ads on Craigslist, but lately we have gotten a lot more strategic about where we place them. Now we still use Craigslist, but find we get much better results from some of the paid job boards, like LinkedIn or ZipRecruiter.
It really pays to spend time crafting the right ad. We want it to appeal to our target candidate: someone who is smart, has some experience in financial services, and buys into our culture of putting the client first.
The ad not only lists the duties of the position, but also tells something about us. One of the things I added recently was the phrase “We change lives every day.” This really helped us eliminate some people who were looking for a job.
We want folks who are interested in something much more than a job. Our ideal candidates want a career. These people see our work as a mission or a calling, not just a way to earn money. I noticed with this crop of candidates that they frequently made a comment about wanting to do “meaningful work.” This is very important to us, because they are more likely to have our values.
2. Reviewing and Checking
My first scan is to review the candidate’s experience and education. We have learned the hard way that all of our employees need a college degree with at least a B average. When we tried to save money on hires who hadn’t completed college or had poor grades, I found that they just couldn’t keep up with the complexity of our work. Candidates who graduated with honors are given preference.
The second scan looks for typographical errors, misspellings or even poor punctuation. I also look for how the page is laid out on their résumé—do the columns all line up? Is it pretty? Any typographical errors and they go in the trash. My thoughts are when you are dealing with clients’ money, you have to be very particular about the details. Any prospective employees who are not particular about how they present themselves, will probably not be careful with our clients’ funds.
If the candidates pass this step, we will look them up on the Internet, such as on LinkedIn or Facebook or just Googling their name. This is the way we learned one candidate had a DUI on her record—needless to say we passed on her. We need employees who can withstand a careful search by our clients, so we don’t want to see photos of our employees in drunken drug parties wearing scanty clothes.
3. The Phone Interviews
In a perfect world, both our COO and I will call and talk to the candidates in advance of a face-to-face meeting. I found it very helpful for us to do two separate calls. Our COO, Josh, does a preliminary screening and eliminates any who do not come across well during a phone call.
I like to do these calls to get a good sense of the candidate before our face-to-face interviews. I always start off by asking if they have any questions for me. This tells me if they have done their homework on us. Surprisingly few have! It should be pretty easy to find out information about me and the firm—all you have to do is Google my name. I am amazed at how few people actually do this. Our business philosophy and what we clearly stand for is all over the Web; smart candidates will familiarize themselves with our firm and each of the team members.
I also use this time to cheerlead Josh and the rest of the team. He is smart, dedicated and an amazing COO and I want any candidate to appreciate how much they will enjoy working with him.
4. The In-Person Interview
A couple of things we do to create a great experience for our candidates—we have a welcome sign with their name on it. We want them to know, whether they come to work with us or not, they are special to us.