In spite of 2020’s challenges, many businesses have continued to recruit advisers during the pandemic.
Quilter Financial Planning network companies, for example, have recruited and appointed close to 230 advisers in the year up to October, with other businesses both large and small also adding advisers to their roster.
While these figures across the industry are somewhat subdued compared to pre-pandemic predictions, they show how resilient the advice industry is.
There are many reasons why this sector has done a good job of weathering the storm: economic uncertainty, changing family dynamics, a generation trapped in renting, and longer life expectancy all mean that people need advice more than ever.
But hiring during a pandemic is no easy task, not least because of the looming uncertainty and cost pressures, but also because of the added hurdle of virtual interviews – not to mention training those hires via video.
Making decisions on a new candidate’s ability over video – particularly if they have only just got their qualifications – is hard to say the least.
While qualifications are incredibly important, if you are hiring, you are looking for far more from a candidate than just a certificate. Yet many see their journey to becoming an adviser start and end with gaining their qualifications.
One of the key traits to look for in a candidate is emotional intelligence. While this can be taught, having self-awareness and self-management as innate skills can help the process.
Just in the same way that a student shouldn’t feel their job is done once they get their qualification, an employer shouldn’t think their job is done once they have made a hire.
While the current Covid-19 restrictions do not make this process any easier, mentoring your new employee is as important, if not more important, than picking the right candidate.
Skills such as identifying and engaging with prospective clients, developing questioning techniques, gaining confidence to converse with all client types are very hard to be tested in an exam and will often only come from experience and mentoring.
Even after these skills are gained, we all know that to be successful you must be able to not only make new relationships, but develop them and illustrate your value.
At our advice school we are seeing some gifted people come through, but even the top students are still a way off being a fully rounded adviser.
Therefore, the learning process has to continue long after their qualifications are done and candidates have landed their first role.
Julian Hince is head of training at Quilter Financial Adviser School