Spring-cleaning may not necessarily be the first job on the to-do list in the new financial year. However, this tradition of “shaking the house” has also been likened to getting one’s affairs in order. As we continue to see a strong demand for financial advisers and a deficit of candidates in the marketplace, a good shake up of the traditional approach to recruitment may be just what is required.
Forward-thinking firms are keen to attract advisers who have a sincere desire to provide a high quality service to their customers, establishing genuine, long lasting relationships and delivering robust solutions to their needs. These outcomes are achieved through recruiting people whose personal values mirror the underlying aspiration to help others.
So, the first affair to achieve order with is the need to define the values that are important to the firm and those that will therefore be reflected in the approach and practises of all of their personnel.
Secondly, is the creation of an attractive proposition, which reflects the esteem the adviser firms place on these values. When due consideration is given to aligning the opportunity to the motivations of prospective candidates, firms experience much greater success in attracting applicants. For example, offering the chance to service an existing portfolio of customers to enhance a neglected relationship or including the responsibility to review existing plans and policies against evolving personal circumstances are features that will appeal to new and authentic advisers. Combined with a transparent and detailed illustration of the remuneration arrangements, new advisers will feel confident that both their sense of purpose and reward will be satisfied.
The next activity is to ensure a well-defined recruitment process, with a consistent approach to the interview in the form of standard questions, as this will enable fair comparisons and justifiable decisions on the appointments made. The interview questions should be carefully crafted to ascertain the degree of knowledge, skills or behaviour that is being assessed with forethought given to the grade of proficiency expected in the answer, in order to ensure that the right candidate is selected. This is the stage at which the power of soft skills should not be underestimated. Whether the skills recognised are natural strengths or competencies learned from relevant experience, this is a people business and the ability to establish and sincerely sustain true relationships will be integral to the success of any firm.
The success of firms in attracting the brightest financial advisers is potentially partially attributed to the robust recruitment process they experience. Further advanced by the soft skills development included in the training programme, these are features that can be adopted by all firms to the value of the firm, the adviser and the customer.
Lisa Winnard is HR director at Sesame Bankhall Group