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  • Writer's pictureChristy

Get staffing right the first time: use a detailed hiring playbook.

Updated: Sep 10, 2019

If you ask any accomplished advisor, "What is the hardest part of your business?" staffing is almost universally the answer. Recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining a talented, engaged and motivated team of A players takes time, effort, discipline and skill... and this skill is one most advisors will admit they don't have and don't focus on developing given all the other things competing for their interest and time.

For most advisors, once they have a a role on their team they need to hire for, whether it is due to growth or turnover, they simply put the word out and keep an eye out for someone who looks like they might be capable of filling the position. The first person who fits the bill who is also likable usually receives an offer... and often lasts just 12 months or less in the role. This proverbial "hiring hamster wheel" makes the growth of their practice lumpy, punctuated and stagnated at best. Every new position created and every point of turnover requires a diversion of resources, a shift of focus and either extra effort to keep the wheels on or a slow down in business until a new hire is recruited, on-boarded and trained.

There is not a single advisor I have worked with who doesn't fall into one of these categories:

- Feels their current staff has either a capability gap, a capacity gap (or both)

- Is trying to grow their practice, but their inability to find or solve for a key hire is holding them back

- Has hired for an open position but does not have confidence that the new team member is a strong long-term fit

- Feels their team dynamic is a swinging pendulum that never sits for long (if at all) in an optimized, energized, "team is firing on all cylinders" place

The good news is that few, advisors I work with have or consistently use a robust hiring playbook. Spending a little time upfront developing one, however, can help solve for open positions more efficiently and create proactive hiring rather than reactive hiring that greatly reduces the stress staffing and lengthens the staffing cycle exponentially.

Many of us are familiar with Jim Collins and his book "Good to Great," which talks about getting the right (A+) people on the bus. In their book, "Who," Geoff Smart and Randy Street go a step further and layout the specific steps and execution tactics to actually getting that done.

Here are the high level steps:

1. Create a mission statement for the role, including the competencies and attributes you feel are essential to the success of the role - this goes a step beyond outlining the job responsibilities; a good job description used to recruit candidates will contain each of these elements

2. Create a scorecard with a set of outcomes and competencies that will define the job as being well done

3. Source extremely high quality candidates

4. Select well, using consistent and highly structured interviews; evaluate them vs the scorecard rather than each other

5. Sell the candidate that you want so that they not only want to join your firm, but are excited to do so.

Want more information, more detail behind the steps above including an interview outline and suggested questions to ask candidates?

Email me at for a full complementary 7 page summary of "Who," that will ensure your next recruiting opportunity produces a whole new level of success.

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