The mistakes job seekers make in interviews have been well documented, but the firm owner interviewer is prone to blunders as well. In this month’s article, we are going to review the most common questions job seekers report to us that hiring firms are flubbing in interviews causing job seekers to rethink their interest in the firm and remove themselves from consideration.
So here are the questions firm owners need to be most prepared to answer, and some tips for succeeding in your interviews, to give your firm the best opportunity to secure the right person for your team and not run them off.
- What is your plan for growth?
- Don’t: Don’t say you don’t have one (sounds obvious), but some firms say it. In some cases even if they are growing! Don’t say you aren’t growing, unless it is the truth. Just realize you will not be able to attract the A players you are likely seeking. Few upwardly mobile young candidates really want to join a no- or slow-growth organization, so if this is you, look at outsourcing to a third-party vendor instead of an internal hire.
- Do: Provide the last few years growth rates, and what you expect going forward, plus what specific actions you are taking in terms of adding clients and staff to get there. Then go on to layout your vision for the organization. If it doesn't jive with them, move on - since hiring someone who isn’t bought in to your vision isn’t going to be a good long term fit anyways.
- How can joining this organization help me accomplish my goals?
- Don’t: Don’t regurgitate the long laundry list of items found on the job description that is focused only on what you need done in the short term because of certain painpoints/bottlenecks you might be experiencing.
- Do: When describing your vision and the projected future company growth, it might be helpful to create an additional roadmap (could be the career track stages) to show the team member how you will get them to where they want to be (income, lifestyle, networth, career level, etc.), and overlay the two.
- How is your incentive compensation plan structured?
- Don’t: Don’t say we don’t have one! Team members at all levels need to know if they deliver above and beyond they will be rewarded for it. Also, avoid saying ‘it is a work in progress’ or ‘we are making changes to it.’ Lots of candidates have reached out to us over the years that have felt they have been baited and switched.
- Do: Provide them with the mechanics. E.g. Bonus potential is 10-20% of base compensation, and over the last three years the average bonus has been 16%. To give them a reasonable expectation of what they might realistically earn in cash compensation and benefits.
- What are the expectations for performance and promotions?
- Don’t: Don’t focus solely on timelines and tenure (e.g. You have to be here 3 years before you can talk to clients), but instead the productivity and results.
- Do: Say something like it usually takes about 24-36 months for people to become comfortable in the 2nd chair Associate Planner role, but there have been a few that have developed the skills quicker, and others who have taken a bit longer. Understand that the scariest thing an employee can think is “I’ve hit my ceiling”. Provide the team member with expectations at various intervals after being hired such as 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc. And frame as we expect you to be able to ____________________ after 3 months. If these are achieved, _______is your new compensation level/structure, ________position in the organization chart, and ______title if necessary.
- What does it take for me to eventually earn ownership in this organization?
- Don’t: Don’t be taken aback or offended. This is how A players think, and is a reason why talented individuals are leaving other channels within the industry to join RIAs or launch their own.
- Do: Understand that equity ownership is still a differentiator, but is becoming more of a table stake. This should be part of the career track and/or list of expectations you go over in the initial onboarding process or during your formal reviews… at least for those candidates who really do grow to the point that they can materially contribute to the growth of the firm in the long run.
We hope these were helpful for you to gain a better understanding of what is important to job seekers and needs to communicated well to position you and your firm the best possible way in a tight talent market.
Contact us if you would like to ensure everyone on your team is the right fit for your team, in the correct role based on their personality and preferred work styles, and aligned with your mission and vision.
Caleb & The New Planner Recruiting Team