With good financial industry veterans leaving banks and wirehouses, independent firms need to be ready to recruit those advisors and assess what their future needs might be for such staff members, says Rosanne Roberts, president of R.M. Roberts and Associates LLC, a Santa Fe-based human resources consulting firm specializing in the financial industry.

Certain techniques lead to the most telling interview. Chat first; ask the most important questions when the interviewee is relaxed, about half way into the first interview; and then after then interview make notes of your gut reactions, says Roberts, who was the guest speaker at a Webinar on hiring and retaining good talent sponsored by the National Association of Independent Broker Dealers.

Interview questions should be prepared in advance, based in part on what the interviewer has heard about the potential hire, she says, and ask why he or she is leaving the previous firm. Beware of people who may just be good at the interview process.

"Understand your own firm's culture so you know if someone fits in," she says, "and look at the potential hire's current client base to see if it fits with your firm. Keep your side of the conversation short. You should talk 40% of the time and let the interviewee talk 60%."

Keep networking even if you are not hiring at the moment, so you have people in the pipeline, she advises. FINRA checks of the potential hire should usually done after the first interview, instead of just before an offer is made, Roberts adds.

"Do not skip checking references, which often can tell you revealing things about a potential hire," Roberts advises.
After hiring, have meetings, at least weekly, to see how the person is fitting in and whether he or she has questions or concerns.

"In fact, I advise firms to hold weekly staff meetings for the same purpose," she says. "To keep good employees, make sure you achieve "belongingness," meaning that the person is comfortable; reinforce their self esteem, and make sure they have opportunities to continue to learn."

-Karen DeMasters