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Is recruitment the challenge it seems?

Recruiting good advisers is more painful than giving birth, one principal tells David Tait, managing director, Redmill Resourcing


The RDR has meant that advisory businesses have had to realign their business models to cope with changing regulation and, with that, we have witnessed better systems, processes and an overall better infrastructure in many advisory businesses UK-wide than ever before.

Owner-managed businesses established many years ago now find themselves in a position where they are better placed than ever to grow their companies. This raises
a question – is this a lifestyle business or am I growing something of real capital value for future sale? If the answer is the latter then, inevitably, recruitment of good advisers and support staff is a must.

I was talking with the owner 
of an SME IFA company who recently underwent a project to find a number of new advisers for her practice, and she remarked that finding good IFAs was even more painful than giving birth to her twin boys. Not only did this rather descriptive visual make me squirm, it also made me realise that, for many business owners in the advisory space, recruitment really is a big challenge.

Key questions
There are many common difficulties when recruiting in the advisory space:
• Where do business owners advertise to generate the most appropriate response?

• Do they engage an agency to work on their behalf and if so, how do they know that an agency is a specialist in their market?

• How do they ensure that their proposition is competitive?

• What information is available to benchmark this?

• When they do have a pool of suitable candidates, what interview process do they follow? • Is it robust, competency- based, or are they simply making a hiring decision because it feels right?

These are all common issues that I hear time and time again but I believe that they can all be overcome. Firstly, you should take the time to assess your business and look at where your requirements truly lie. Do you really need another adviser hire or would the hire of a good support individual relieve your existing advisers’ administration burden, freeing up their time to focus on business development and client advice, thus increasing turnover?

If your need is advisory, there are many more candidates available in the market than ever before due to the recent post-RDR fallout within the bancassurance marketplace. Potentially, this is the opportunity to access a large pool of well qualified and well trained advisers.

There are many niche financial services recruitment companies who can help you by offering access to an instant pool of relevant candidates via their own company databases and networks, quickly connecting you to relevant individuals.

Recruitment agencies can
also help you to benchmark employee salaries, review your existing proposition and offer advice on how it compares to the rest of the market.

Competency interviewing
Whilst getting to a relevant pool of candidates is sometimes the hardest part of the recruitment journey, it is equally important that you have a robust recruitment process that allows you to test candidate skills and abilities relevant to the position for which you are recruiting.

Competency interviewing is a great way to ensure that candidates can demonstrate that they meet with key competencies within your position.

If you are finding that sourcing relevant candidates isn’t your problem but that getting them over the line is, then perhaps you need to consider whether your existing proposition is competitive in today’s market. 
I have seen advisory businesses gain better recruitment success by simply making small changes to their own proposition to make them more competitive than
their peers.

There may be challenges but adviser firms can capitalise on the good processes, systems and infrastructure of the post-RDR world. And if you
are growing your business to maximise its capital value for future sale, then recruitment is a fundamentally important part of that journey.

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