Illustration: A. Richard Allen/© theispot.com

When hiring, you should strive to be thorough and precise, but at what point does the process become a deterrent? Because the current demand for new advisors and planners is high and supply is small, you need to be prepared to make a decision and not worry about what other more qualified candidates might come later.

Here are some other common causes that lead to an unnecessarily extended search and interview process, and how to avoid them.

Lack of role clarity: When firms are not sure what they are looking for because they do not have a clearly defined role and a clearly articulated job description, it is impossible to find a good fit within a reasonable time frame. Of course, it’s hard to even know a good candidate when you see one if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for.

You may be stuck either thinking all candidates are equally good and must be extensively vetted to narrow the field, or that all are equally bad or uncertain fits. Before starting the process of trying to find a good hire, be certain you have specific and clear responsibilities thought through and written down.

Too high of expectations: Sometimes a firm’s compensation offering does not match with the candidate they are seeking. It’s going to be hard to attract an A+ candidate with a B+ opportunity. When firms try this, what inevitably happens is as the interview process progresses, the A+ candidate realizes it is not the A + opportunity they could get from another firm.

Of course, most firm owners like to think of their opportunities as being A+, but the reality that we see — across a wide range of firms that are hiring, and what candidates are interviewing for — is not all of them really are, so be careful your offer is in line with the candidate.

Not making hiring a priority when it’s time: Firms that do not plan their hires often hire when they’re feeling the most crunched, and as a result take on time-intensive recruiting engagements at the exact inopportune time when they are busy with year-end client work, tax season, software conversions, quarterly reporting, etc. One firm we worked with lost out on a superior candidate due to the firm owner’s lengthy vacation schedule, and significant time out of the office.

Strive to take on hiring projects at least three to six months before you need someone, and consider initiating the process during what are usually the slower summer months. Be aware, though, that if you are seeking a new college graduate for your firm, the cycle continues to be earlier each year; these days, we commonly find that the top students who will start in firms June 1 after a May 2018 graduation, secured these roles by fall 2017.

Too Quick a Pivot: Firm owners who are initiating Quick Starts in the Kolbe methodology are notorious for switching focus from one candidate to another too quickly. If you already are well down the path with a candidate and another is presented, it may not be prudent to abandon the candidate for what could be a shiny new distraction.

Keep your options open, be honest with the candidate and explain you are interviewing others. Recently we’ve had several candidates ask to be removed from consideration from firms that have not communicated with them, which means if the firm owner was planning to come back to them, it may be too late.

Even worse, the community of job seekers is often tight knit, particularly within the most popular CFP programs, which means a bad experience with a candidate could put the word out that your firm is difficult to get hired into, causing candidates to shy away from you in the future.