A recent industry survey produced by Pershing forecasts that the financial planning profession will need to add a total of 237,000 new advisors across all business models over the next decade.* The demand for talented individuals entering the financial planning profession who can add value to your organization is at an all time high and climbing rapidly.
There are several things financial planning firm owners can do to attract the best people, and having a compelling job description is a start. Often times, the job description is the first interaction a potential candidate can have with your firm. Just like anything else, firms need to make a great first impression with prospective hires.
The key sections of a great job description are: Introduction, Position Summary, Current Responsibilities, Future Responsibilities, Qualifications and Benefits. Over the next two months we will look at each one in detail, starting with the following:
Introduction, aka “what's in it for the candidate” - Keep the introduction section of the job description focused on what's in it for the candidate. Describe how they can thrive and get where they want to go by joining your organization. Many of today’s job descriptions are too focused on the firm and firm owner accomplishments. No need to spend valuable space listing much of what can be found on your website and form ADV. Use this area to describe what type of candidate you would be interested in and what it takes to succeed at your firm.
Hint: Candidates don't care all that much about how many awards you have won or how long you have been in the business.
Avoid: Lengthy self-promoting diatribes that rarely make mention of the opportunity for the candidate.
Position Summary aka “high level overview of the role” - Think of this as your mission statement for the new hire. You should use the next two sections on current and future responsibilities to lay out the actual job specifics. After getting the candidate excited about the opportunity in the introduction, you need to use this space to paint a picture of what a day in their position at your firm would look like. If you can't do this, put your hiring plans on hold until you can.
Hint: Describe for the potential new hire who is on the team that they would likely be spending the most time with, and what they would be spending most of their time doing. For some firms it might be preparing financial plans, while at others it could be client service.
Avoid: Going into too much detail.
Current Responsibilities aka “what new hire will be expected to do right off the bat” - You want the candidate to have a clear understanding of what they will be doing in the role initially; this is important, as it avoids having any surprises, and helps to lay the groundwork for setting role expectations. This is the section where you can really begin to apply specifics and details to the job responsibilities.
Hint: It is fine to include the tasks that no one else wants to do, but it should be balanced with some greater responsibilities as well. Remember that the top candidates are looking for interesting work where they can showcase their skills and work with real clients. They know that there won’t be much opportunity for them if they are scanning, researching cost basis, unloading the dishwasher, etc. for the majority of their day.
Avoid: Detail is good, but don’t feel like you have to list every single task you could possibly want completed. If you have hired the right person, they will understand that in a small business environment everyone has to pitch in at different times and engage in certain things that weren't necessarily spelled out in their job description.
I hope this has been useful so far in helping you frame some of the beginning sections of a great job description. Stay tuned next month for part 2 where will we round out the discussion on the Future Responsibilities, Qualifications and Benefits sections.
- Caleb is not traveling anywhere this month and is elated!
- Michael will be presenting at the Schwab IMPACT Conference http://impact.schwab.com/
*Regeneration: How Gen Y Could Revitalize the Industry. Pershing BNY Mellon 2013
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