Steps to unearthing top IFA candidates

Marlene Outrim

Marlene Outrim

Back in February I wrote about the woes and frustrations of recruiting good staff. 

Since then, I am pleased to report, we have been more successful in employing several talented people, but not without taking a good hard look at our recruitment process.

Previously, we have always held at least two interviews with two interviewers.

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We had good job descriptions, asked what we thought were a rigorous series of appropriate questions and requested examples of any problem solving and approaches. We also applied various tests.

So where were going wrong? 

For some roles there was just a dearth of good candidates; our workload was piling up and reports delayed, so we felt desperate to find someone who we thought would fit the bill.

That is the first thing. Do not feel pushed into taking on someone because of work pressures.

We used a couple of outsourcing companies, meanwhile, so that we could take our time and be more selective. Outsourcing can work well if you approach their team as if it is employed by you, which it is. We felt it did not compete with having someone in the office with whom we could readily discuss matters, as the method of communication can be slow and impersonal.

Second, we reassessed the various roles in the business and realised we had stuck with an outmoded approach, given the expansion and change in our company, and we modified job descriptions as a result.

Third, we realised that we were not thorough enough in our competency tests, so we took some advice on these and ensured that different skills were assessed.

Then we invited those we thought were good enough to join more informal events and meet the rest of the team. That was very telling.

Next, we became more open minded about potential candidates, rather than relying on people who had financial services experience and knowledge. Attitude and aptitude were more important.

Last, we introduced a policy that if there were any slightest doubt, then we did not take them on, even if the candidate had shown other good attributes.

Result: the Uniq super team.

Marlene Outrim is managing director of Uniq Family Wealth