It may be a sign that we’re moving into more “normal” times, or perhaps it’s a result of the growth in the market over the last year. Either way, several advisors and practices have expressed an interest in bringing in a new advisor – to take on some of the of the workload of a growing practice, to increase their growth opportunities or as a first step toward an exit strategy for an advisor who is looking toward retirement. Sometimes it’s all of the above.
Wanting to avoid the difficulties they have experienced or observed with other practices, these advisors ask, “What can I do to help ensure success in bringing on a new advisor?” Yes, here are 5 principles for hiring that I can share:
1. Before looking for candidates, take time to make a list of the responsibilities you want this advisor to fill. In other words, write out your job description first.
Too many times, we’ve seen practices hire a family member or other candidate, and then try to retro-fit the responsibilities you need filled to someone you have already hired, whether or not their experience and strengths are appropriate for what you need.
2. Then look for a candidate with the background and skills that are appropriate for what you need them to do now and for what you will want them to do down the road after they gain experience.
Ultimately, you may want them to take over a group of clients or be a rainmaker, but that doesn’t mean they should start there when they walk in the door.
Countless times, we’ve heard advisors say that they expected their new advisor to be out there, shaking the bushes, finding prospective clients and bringing them in for the senior advisor to meet and presumably turn into clients.
Put yourself in your prospective client’s position – who is going to have the credibility to cause you to want to meet with a potential new advisor – the experienced advisor or the new guy (or gal)?
3. Make sure you have a plan in place to teach your new advisor everything he or she needs to know to step into the role you want them to have.
This is your opportunity to make certain they will acquire the knowledge and skills, as well as learn from the experience and expertise you have acquired over the years to become a solid fit for the type of experience your clients expect and you want them to have.
4. Clearly define – in writing – your expectations for the new advisor.
Your newly hired advisor should know exactly how you define his or her success. First, you should have documented their roles & responsibilities. This is not a random list of tasks that you expect them to perform, but areas they will be responsible for along with descriptions of how you expect those responsibilities to be fulfilled.
In addition to their roles & responsibilities, your new advisor should also have clearly defined goals. Some might be “results” goals (finding and converting opportunities in the “C” book, bringing in new assets, etc.). Others might be “activity” goals (making calls to set client appointments for the senior advisor, managing the logistics for client events, etc.).
5. Implement an accountability process.
Make certain that you are meeting with your new advisor on a regular basis to see how things are going, measure progress toward their goals, answer questions, and provide mentoring.
The more thought and time you put in – upfront – to these five principles, the more likely you are to be successful in hiring and developing a great new addition to your practice.