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Through client eyes

Although there are a number of tools that can be used to assess potential candidates, the interview remains a central part of the process. Unfortunately, interviewers tend to put people into pigeonholes within a relatively short time. Psychologists have studied this effect and determined that most decisions are made within the first five to 10 minutes and the balance of the time is used to bolster this impression. First impressions tell us about things such as preparation and confidence but nothing that is central to determining whether a candidate will be successful in the job.

Preparation is the key ingredient of a successful interview. This starts with understanding the job and what skills, knowledge and personal attributes are required. Preparing a list of questions based on these KPIs can help an interviewer gain evidence about a candidate’s ability and track record.

For key jobs, it is essential to have a more robust process than an interview can offer. Psychometric tests are viewed cynically in some quarters, however, they are an excellent way of making sure candidates have the right profile for the job. The leading tests are impossible to con and ensure that you avoid square pegs in round holes.

The key recruitment challenge for an IFA has always been how to attract high-quality advisers. Skilful interviewing and psychometric testing will help build a picture of an adviser’s potential value to a business. However, it is worth looking through a client’s eyes. Although no substitute for real-life observation, a well thought out roleplay will give a valuable insight into how an adviser interacts with clients.

Add in some technical knowledge tests and you have the foundations of a comprehensive assessment programme. Typically, candidates only go through the full process after they have “passed” an initial interview. As well as gathering a much broader range of data on which to make a decision, running a programme such as this gives employers the oppor-tunity to involve more than one person in recruitment. This in itself is a useful way of avoiding falling into the “first impressions trap”.

When designing a process, remember that recruitment is a two-way street. Allowing sufficient time for providing information about the company and job will help encourage candidates to join. If your business has strengths in areas such as research, technical support, marketing and IT, this is the best time to sell yourself. Talented candidates will have a queue of potential employers and you can be sure that your competitors will be blowing their own trumpets.

As ever, successful recruitment remains a challenge for the industry, but embracing the three Ps of planning, preparation and patience will reap dividends for IFAs seeking to grow their business.

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