Unless you’ve been overly fixated on the Kardashians for last half-decade, you’re undoubtedly aware of the “talent shortage” in the advisory industry. Simply put, most independent firms are growing faster than professional schools can turn out new financial planners.
While the resulting competition for young advisors tends to favor the larger firms — those that can offer more attractive career tracks and benefit plans — that doesn’t mean that smaller firms can’t get the help they need: They just have to be smarter about it.
To help owners of smaller firms attract the professional talent they need, I tell them to them break down the problem.
Virtually, all independent firms evaluate professional talent using three factors: skills, talent and experience. And as you might expect, the better capitalized firms tend to look for candidates who rate highly in all three — and pay well to recruit them.
Owners of smaller firm owners, on the other hand, don’t have that luxury. To attract the talent they want, they need to do some serious thinking about what they really need.
Let’s be clear about our terms. By skills, I mean the ability to perform specific tasks without a lot of additional training. In advisory firms, desired skills typically include creating financial plans, investment portfolios, using technology, and interacting with clients.
When hiring, smaller firm owners need to decide which of these skills are most important, and what skills they are prepared to teach in house.
Many firms find that not only are candidates lacking in one or more skills more affordable, but training them in house on the missing skills often makes them a much better fit for the firm.
The next important job area is talent, which I define as the ability to apply one’s skills effectively and creatively.