Three key elements to building a successful Financial Planning practice are:

  1. Your Vision,
  2. Hiring “A” Players, and
  3. Your Leadership Skills

In my last blog I discussed Your Vision, getting clear on what type of team and practice you want to build.  That is a critical step that must be taken before you start to hire your Team Members.  This will clarify WHAT type of business you are building and WHO is an ideal fit for you and your company.  Please note there is no right or wrong.  But, you need to think about who you are as a person, what type of team will make you happy and what is YOUR DREAM business.  Clarity in this area will help you hire the right people.

3 Key Elements to Hiring “A” Players

Today I would like to address 3 Key Elements that are essential if you want to hire all “A” Team Members.  My experience of working with Financial Advisor/Reps has taught me the importance of these 3 elements.

Element ONE

Vision the Ideal “A Team Member”

Clarity on WHO is an “A Player” is key to hiring.  You must be able to identify WHOM you want on your team so you only interview these potential candidates and you recognize them when you meet them.  Too many times Financial Advisor/Reps interview candidates without clearly defining WHO is an “A” Team Member.  As a result they hire B and sometimes C players who have bad attitudes or poor work ethics or no desire to grow.  Can you relate to this statement?  Maybe you have hired these players in the past.  Well, now you know how to avoid this problem because you will be clear on WHO is an “A” Team Member.
You should have a detailed description of the following areas written out BEFORE you start hiring:

  1. Describe the ideal educational background, licensing and skill requirements for an “A” Team Member.
  2. Describe in detail the attitude, mindset and personality of an “A” Team Member.
  3. Describe the responsibilities of each position and skills needed to perform at a high level.
  4. Describe the potential Growth for each position in your company.
  5. Describe the personality that will be an “ideal” fit for your company.
  6. Describe the “work ethic” of an “A” Player.
  7. Be clear on whether you are hiring “paycheck” players or “bonus players.”

Element TWO

Sell the Growth Opportunity in the First Interview

When you are interviewing a potential “A” Team Member you must “sell” the growth opportunity for the position.  Please note the following:

Smart, motivated people do not take “dead-end” positions.

I have spoken to many experienced, licensed, smart, motivated Team Members in this industry who went to one interview and then never returned for the second interview.  They all gave me the same feedback:  “This is one of those dead end positions.  He/she never spoke about growth.”  If you want to hire the best talent then you first must be clear on the growth of the position before you begin the interview process.  Otherwise, you will hire individuals who want to work 9-5 and collect a paycheck.  Now, if that is your Vision then you will be happy in hiring these types of individuals.  But, if you want a Team Member to take ‘ownership” and help you grow your business, then you need to rethink your Vision of WHO is a good fit.  There are many individuals who want to grow with a company but you need to talk about the growth in the first interview.

Element THREE

Test for “Emotional Intelligence”

When you want to build a collaborative team you need to hire individuals who are team players and have the “emotional skills” to work with others.  There are a lot of talented, bright individuals who are not able to work well other team members.  They want to work solo at their desk, and then go home at the end of the day, or they do not have the “Emotional Intelligence” to work well with a team.  These may be bright, talented individuals but they create drama and team friction.  They are actually toxic to a team.  It is critical that you learn how to identify these individuals in the interview process.

The following are interview questions that will help you identify those individuals who might be not be a good fit for your team:

  1. Do you prefer to work alone on projects or work with other team members?
  2. What type of sports did you play:  team sports or individual sports?
  3. Tell me about your dream work environment.
  4. Tell me about your nightmare work environment.
  5. Tell me about your dream fellow workers.
  6. Tell me about your nightmare fellow workers.
  7. When you work on teams do you like to lead or follow?
  8. What type of leader do you love?
  9. What type of leader do you dislike?
  10. Tell me about a problem you had with a fellow worker:  What was the problem?  How did you communicate with your fellow worker?  How was the problem resolved?
  11. Tell me about a time when you upset a fellow worker.  What did you do about it?
  12. Tell me about a time when a fellow worker upset you.  What did you do about it?

People tend to repeat their patterns.  So if an individual likes to work on projects alone, and dislikes fellow workers who always want to work together, then you probably have a person who will not be a great fit for a collaborative team.  This type of person will always lean towards working alone and could be a problem with a team who collaborates frequently. Individuals who always blame others, never take responsibility, never do anything wrong, the world is always wrong and they are always a victim…will probably create a lot of drama on your team.  These individuals may dress the part, act the part, have the talent and skills, but lack the “emotional intelligence” to work with others.  You need and want to identify these individuals during the interview process.

Hiring individuals who like and want to work as a team and have the emotional skills to work with others is an essential element to building a successful collaborative Financial Service Team.  I strongly recommend you explore this aspect of your candidate’s personality when interviewing.

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Andrea Bullard