Branch development tackles recruitment challenges with ease

Hiring qualified financial advisors is a top priority for Lincoln Investment’s in-house recruiting team in Fort Washington. Vice President Tom Lakatos and his Branch development team help fill open roles in both independent and company-owned branches by following a three-part strategy: find top talent, train them and turn them into successful advisors.

The team manages the process by purchasing ads in bulk from LinkedIn and Zip Recruiter and selling them at cost to branch offices since individual ad prices would be too much for a small agency to absorb. Targeting job boards in combination with ample cold calling allows in-house recruiters to contact both active and passive candidates, create brand recognition and introduce our unique culture and approach to a wide audience.

In 2016, they reached their recruiting goals by helping onboard 96 new advisors, 25 of which came through their direct recruiting process. For 2017, in total, they screened 13,637 resumes. Out of those 13,637 candidates, 1,363 candidates were qualified, 790 interviews were scheduled, and 693 candidates had interviews. Of those candidates, 473 were passed along to hiring managers. In 2017, there were 87 total appointed, 42 of which came through their process. In 2018, they are revamping their process by switching to Zip Recruiter, keeping LinkedIn, and using Zendesk as a candidate tracking system to make the recruiting process efficient and effective from start to finish.

“There will also be a number of succession plan roles filled in the next few years, which means new advisors taking over for advisors leaving the business due to retirement or another reason,” said Recruiting Consultant John Neyer. “For the right candidate, it can be a wonderful opportunity to take over a huge book of business of their own.”

Roadblocks or opportunities?

Recruiting qualified candidates may be a looming challenge for some firms now that a few industry trends have emerged. With data reporting that close to 40 percent of advisors plan to retire within the next 10 years, attracting younger talent to groom replacements is a major goal for most financial firms. Younger advisors are necessary if the investment industry is to adapt to the next generation of investors who, due to advanced technology, handle financial transactions different from the previous generation.

“Lincoln has attracted younger advisors by creating an Investment Services Advisors (ISA) group,” said Tom Lakatos. “ISA is an internal team that works with house accounts, providing young advisors a feel for the business from a seasoned advisor’s perspective. It’s the perfect training ground and an opportunity to infuse youth into the business.”

There’s also a push in the industry to hire female advisors. A recent report published in Planadviser.com explains that hiring women may offer solutions for recruiting woes, yet they remain outnumbered in financial advisor communities. According to data from Think Advisor, as of January 2017, only 16 in every 100 advisors are female.

The good news is that Lincoln Investment is ahead of the industry curve with female advisors, and is looking to add more. In 2016, the company claimed the #2 spot in Best in Business: Top Independent Broker/Dealers with the Most Female Advisors in Financial Planning Magazine. Lincoln Investment finished behind the #1 spot by a meager 0.40 percent.

Another challenge may be the recent Department of Labor (DOL) ruling. Some investment firms may choose to leave the business, unable to adapt to the new regulations that place the clients’ interests ahead of advisors in terms of fees and investment choice. The United Kingdom, for example, had a similar situation with rule changes in 2013, when 20 percent of advisors left the industry.

“A scenario like that could turn into an unseen benefit,” said Tom. “If advisors leave the industry because they can’t adapt to DOL changes, it may create more opportunity for companies like us.”

Sharing best practices

Once a candidate is hired, the team provides training programs to get the new advisor up-to-speed fast. Between New Advisor Orientation, a three-day seminar at company’s home office, and the Advisor Training Series with topics ranging from what it takes to be successful, time management and client acquisition, to managing your practice and marketing resources, a new advisor has the opportunity to absorb a lot of knowledge about Lincoln Investment and the industry.

After training is complete, part three of the plan, launching best practice interviews and turning new hires into top advisors, begins. New hires pair with seasoned colleagues in a mentorship program that helps new advisors build successful practices through guidance, training and ongoing financial support through a base income and commissions.

Lincoln Investment provides independent advisors a great culture, where they receive plenty of support, a place where their voice is heard, and their independence is preserved without the firm micromanaging them or imposing an agenda.

The in-house recruiting team not only plays a crucial role in finding and training top talent for the present, but they also help secure a prosperous future for new advisors, their clients and Lincoln Investment.

Is there a department that you would like to see profiled? Contact stafflinc@lincolninvestment.com and share your idea.

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