Hiring season is here and could be one of the most intense recruiting periods the profession has faced as firms gear up due to the market uncertainty ahead. With so many firms going after the same (limited) talent pool, the most attractive candidates likely will receive multiple offers.
Here are do’s and don’ts on how you can emerge as the frontrunner with a potential hire without giving away the farm:
• Do: Make candidates a solid first offer. Currently, for a candidate coming out of a CFP Board-registered program with no experience, seeking an entry-level financial planner position, this equates to a base salary from $46,000 to $65,000, bonus/incentive compensation equal to between 10%-20% of the base salary amount, health insurance, and a retirement plan with an employer contribution and/or match. Realize these can adjust up or down, depending on firm size, location, candidate skill set, etc., but are generally what the firms we represent have needed to offer to remain competitive for top talent. Candidates with a few years of experience and no CFP certification can go as high as $85,000 with experienced CFP-certified candidates getting more.
• Don’t: Focus solely on base and bonus compensation (instead, highlight the total estimated annual compensation figure). It is important for potential hires to visualize the firm’s total outlay for their compensation and benefits to understand the firm’s investment in them, versus only what will be deposited into their bank account every two weeks.
• Do: Inform new hires that you had other finalists, but in the end, they won out. This can reinforce crucial impressions a candidate may already have of you and your firm, such as candor, professionalism, and ethics (all of which lay the foundation for intense loyalty). Furthermore, it gives candidates a shot of confidence that you believe in them.
• Don’t: Lead candidates on and be vague about your hiring plans and when a decision will be made. Also, don’t forget to make sure they know that you really want them and are excited about them potentially joining your organization. Remember, everyone likes to win and feel pursued.
• Do: Expect them to negotiate. Even with the market, economic and political uncertainties, career seekers still hold the leverage in the recruiting and hiring landscape. The candidates you want will pick up the phone and ask to discuss their offer versus trying to negotiate over email. Be sure to go into any negotiations with an open mind. One firm we represented and made a hire for recently experienced a full spectrum of emotions, ranging from anger to confidence they made the right hire, when they thought the impending new hire wanted to have a discussion to make a case for a higher starting salary after the firm owner had made a very competitive offer. In the end, it centered around how health insurance would be handled if/when the new hire started a family plus if there was any type of increase in base compensation once they were able to officially use the CFP designation.
• Don’t: Take it personally if they try to negotiate. Keep in mind they are seeking the best deal possible, and as long as it is done in a professional and respectful manner, it is part of being a business owner. In fact, having someone on your team who always is seeking to get the best deal for your firm after they have joined when dealing with vendors and/or negotiating a better deal on your client’s behalf are skills that should be sought.
Follow these guidelines, and you can increase your chances of landing that great hire without getting in a bidding war. Finally, and most importantly, if you do find yourself interested in a candidate(s) who has/have multiple offers, remember that you have a great story to tell and a fabulous career growth opportunity, and if they cannot see that, it is probably not a fit anyway.
Caleb Brown is a past chairman of FPA NextGen and partner in New Planner Recruiting LLC. He can be reached at NewPlannerRecruiting.com.