Take the time to hire right

Take the time to hire right


Jeff Baughman, Senior Consultant – Internal Practice Development with Waddell & Reed, Inc.

Great Practice Solutions

Experienced advisors understand that an optimal household-to-advisor ratio is around 200:1. When the ratio reaches 250:1 to 300:1, the need for help becomes apparent; exceeding 300:1 often results in decreased productivity. When you are working near full capacity and want to continue growing your business, selecting the right staff is a fundamental factor for success. Consult the vision for your practice to decide what role you need to move your business forward. Hiring right is a challenging and time-consuming task. When done correctly the return on your time investment will be well worth it. Here are a few tips.

Start with the end in mind

What do you need in an employee to move your business forward? Write a job description that clearly describes the role. Start with a position overview that gives a general outline of the job. Provide your mission and values so candidates can confirm they are aligned with you and your business. List specific skills and experience you require for the position. Depending on the situation, you may publish the salary range, so decide what the position is worth to you — and don’t be skimpy.

The job description is the foundation for the hiring process — an information source for recruiting, the basis for interviews, and a bar to set performance expectations for a new hire. When the job description is complete, it’s time to find candidates who have the skills to perform the job at hand.

Look in the right places

Online services can generate a lot of candidates; be prepared to sort through a pile of resumes if you go that route. Using referrals will narrow down the candidates and may be effective in vetting candidates before the resumes reach you; however, beware a referral of your sister-in-law’s cousin who has a son in need of a job. A professional recruiter or head hunter will offer the best solution for selecting only qualified candidates; the downside is a higher cost. Weigh the pros and cons and select the method that works best for your situation.

Plan interviews

Decide who will conduct interviews. If you already have staff members, consider including them. Decide what questions you will ask – keep them focused on desired skills and values. Use open-ended questions and ask all candidates the same questions so you can compare apples to apples.

Select your top candidates for a second interview to get to know them on a deeper level than one interview can provide. Use this second interview to go beyond skills; try to learn more about the candidate’s values and what motivates them to come to work each day.

During an interview, stay focused on what you need. Don’t be distracted by a candidate’s amazing resume format, or outside skill set or experience… unless they are aligned with what you’re looking for. Stay on point and make sure the candidate has the skills required. Remember, the person you select needs to be able to perform a specific job for you. Don’t be beguiled by a candidate’s story or previous experience if it isn’t aligned with the job.

Select the best candidate

Compare the strengths and weaknesses of each interviewed candidate. Consider a decision-matrix with the candidates across the top and the skills and attributes you need down the side. Decide which candidate is the best fit, next best, etc. Select the candidate that you think is best qualified to fill the job and will fit into the chemistry of your team.

Be ready!

The job seekers you interview are likely pursuing multiple opportunities. It’s ok if a candidate wows you enough to warrant a job offer on the spot – just don’t be trigger happy and miss an opportunity to interview an even better candidate. Have a potential start date and a draft offer letter ready to complete. Be prepared to share salary and benefits information and even your onboarding and training plan if requested.

Keep looking if necessary

Your goal is to find a person with the values, skills and experience you need. Don’t settle for what’s available now if they are not a good fit. Consider exploring a different audience if you are not attracting the right candidates. For example, if you are not interviewing the level of professionalism you expect, check that your salary is not too low.

Taking the time to hire right will save you time and effort in the long run and will help you grow your practice.

Enhance your team, grow your practice.

Our Great Practice Solutions Program can offer you access to job description models, compensation ranges, onboarding and performance management training and more.

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