Practice Management

Make sure your candidate has a knack for communicating with clients

By Leah Golob |

 

A resumé can paint a pretty picture of a candidate's education, job experience and career growth. But resumés don't provide the whole story.

"[A resumé] is almost like a movie preview," says Natalie Hand, partner with Meridia Recruitment Solutions in St. John's. "After you see a movie preview, you may or may not want to see the movie. In the same way, after you see someone's resumé, you may or may not want to see more of that person."

For those candidates you choose to interview, Hand suggests you evaluate the following five key characteristics:

1. Experience in client care


Most financial advisors "live and breathe" a client-centric approach, Hand says. So, all members of an advisor's support staff — including the administrative assistant, marketing coordinator and associate advisor — should be enthusiastic about providing a high level of care to clients and prospects.

To get a sense of a candidate's client service approach in action, Hand says, ask for examples of situations in which they have gone above and beyond what is expected to develop a strong client relationship.

2. Interest in the financial services sector
While the level of required compliance knowledge might vary between an administrative assistant and an associate advisor, interest in the industry should be a given.

Evaluating interest isn't always easy because candidates are likely to express enthusiasm for any job they're applying for.

"I would ask them what publications they read, and how they stay up to date on industry and compliance changes," Hand says.

3. Detail orientation
A key part of the role of all members of a financial advisory team is communicating directly with clients and cultivating relationships, Hand says. Detail orientation helps ensure accuracy when handling key client information, and enhances communication with clients.

A detail-oriented support person who can handle some client communication will free up time for the advisor, who can stay focused on managing those relationships.

Hand suggests asking candidates for strong examples of detail orientation in previous roles.

Most candidates will not admit to frequent oversights, however, so it's a good idea to ask for references if you are satisfied that a potential hire is well organized.

4. Communication skills
It's vitally important that your support staff can make phone calls to clients and greet office visitors confidently. The first interview is a good opportunity to get a sense of how well a candidate can build rapport.

Hand suggests asking yourself the following questions: "Do they keep eye contact during the conversation? Do I feel comfortable around them? Is it easy for us to communicate with each other?"

5. Team fit
While interviews are a good way to determine whether a candidate's personality and skill set will mesh with your team, Hand says, psychometric assessment tools can help determine whether an applicant might be the best fit for the role.

Psychometric testing — standard testing using a scientific method to determine cognitive abilities and behavioural style — can give a strong sense of a candidate's talents and approach to work.

Adds Hand: "These tests are most effective if you're working with someone who is trained in [interpreting] the results."

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