Last month, we discussed why it’s important to hire for quality of experience over just quantity (or job title) alone. But this comes into play not only with experienced planner hires, but also those coming directly out of CFP programs, since all the CFP programs are not the same.
In fact, one of the reasons we do so many on-campus visits to CFP programs each year is to be able to speak to the faculty members, tour the facilities, and meet with the school’s program leadership. As in practice, there is a noticeable variance in programs based on how engaged the program chair, department head, and deans are. The quality of the candidate can vary significantly if the higher ups are not fully committed to financial planning, versus the programs where the leadership is.
This further reiterates the importance of trying to learn as much as you can about a candidate, and exactly what type of experiences they have had. Because while most candidates do not try to intentionally mislead, there are some on the other end of the spectrum who have taken great liberties with how they have structured their career history and responsibilities on their resume, and may not even realize they’re overstating their qualifications because they don’t have perspective on what other CFP programs offer instead.
To help determine if the candidate has had the responsibility you are seeking in the advisory/communication functions of the role, here are some questions to consider asking as you work through your interview and screening process:
- How many financial plans have you done from start to finish?
- How many financial plan updates have you done?
- How long does it take you to create a financial plan?
- Do you present the plan recommendations to the client?
- How many discovery meetings have you led solo? If other planners were in the meetings due to your structure, what % of the time were you speaking in the meeting?
- How many clients do you work with where no other planner is involved? If other planners were in the meetings due to your structure, what % of the time were you speaking in the meeting?
To help determine if they have had the responsibility you are seeking in the technical functions of the role, here are some questions to consider as you work through your interview and screening process:
- When you aren’t sure how to enter something into the financial planning software, what do you do?
- When a client asks you a technical question you don’t know the answer to, how do you handle it?
- Does anyone review your work, and what is the typical feedback you receive from them?
To help determine if they have had the responsibility you are seeking in the sales functions of the role, here are some questions to consider as you work through your interview and screening process.
- How many prospect meetings have you been involved in? What % contribution did you make?
- How many client relationships have you brought to the firm?
- How many client relationships has someone else initiated, but you got them to sign up and they see you as their planner?
We understand that the end goal of every interview is to obtain vital information from the candidate to determine if it will be a perfect match. However, as tempting as it may be to engage in friendly conversation during the interview, there are legal restrictions on the type of questions you may ask your candidate. These restrictions fall under six primary categories: Nationality, Religion, Age, Marital & Family Status, Gender and Health and Physical Abilities. Here are some suggestions on how to turn potentially litigious questions into insightful, legal alternatives.
What not to ask: Are you a U.S. Citizen?
What to ask instead: Are you authorized to work in the U.S.?
What not to ask: What are your religious beliefs?
What to ask instead: Are you able to work our required schedule?
What not to ask: How much longer do you plan to work before retiring?
What to ask instead: What are your long-term career goals?
Marital & Family Status
What not to ask: Do you have children or plan to have children?
What to ask instead: Are you available to travel or work overtime occasionally?
What not to ask: How do you feel about working with men/women?
What to ask instead: Have you ever been disciplined for your behavior at work?
Health & Physical Abilities
What not to ask: Do you have any physical disabilities or health problems?
What to ask instead: Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job with or without reasonable accommodations?
Additionally, although the following are not illegal you want to avoid questions about salaries, residence, legal affairs and military service. Instead, provide the candidate with the salary range and ask if they are comfortable with it, ask about their ability to arrive to work at the schedule time, ask if they have ever been convicted of a specific crime, or how their military experience could benefit the company. This might sound straightforward but can become very complex especially if you develop an easy rapport with candidates during the interview process. We hope these suggestions will help you further hone in on who a candidate really is during your interviews.
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