‘Fit’ for purpose!


Last time I wrote about what it takes to be extraordinary and why as business owners and team leaders we should be doing everything that we can to hang on to those ‘extra special few’ for dear life! But there is one last piece of that people jigsaw puzzle that it would be remiss of me to not bring up; and that is the power of FIT!

You know when you work with someone and, while they seem to have all the skills to do the job, there is something still a little off. You can’t quite put your finger on what it is, but you know there is something that just doesn’t quite work? This is the challenge of ‘fit’. It’s a real thing – yet sadly, day after day, financial services practices and firms are making decisions to hire team members on everything apart from the most important thing of all.

‘Fit’ is that feeling when you just know it’s right (or not!). Your gut instinct is shouting at you loud and clear, and if you trust your gut instinct along with your lifetime of learning, you will be told the truth of what is really going on.

Recruitment is never an easy task, but by embracing the challenge and using the appropriate tools in your kitbag, combined with your gut instinct, you will build your very own extraordinary team!  

The best question that I tell all of my clients to ask daily in order to test their gut instinct is this one:

Is this (task/objective/relationship or PERSON) in the best interests of the business?

If they answer ‘yes’, by all means carry on. But, if it’s a ‘no’ then it’s so important to stop and reconsider!

While this is easily said, it’s very often extremely hard to do!

With the ever-growing need for great people in our sector, firms are getting desperate and because of this they are often hiring fast, and foolishly. The problem is this won’t end well. I am yet to come across a successful hire which was panic-placed; and yet it continues to happen every day.

So, let’s have a look at the main attributes that businesses and firms traditionally prioritise hiring upon:

  1. Qualifications

Now, I will try not to jump straight onto my soap box about this, but come on! I am sure we both know some of the most qualified people in this profession who just don’t get it. Qualifications are an indication of a person’s academic and technical understanding of the job, but it doesn’t mean for one minute that they can do it excellently in practice.

  1. Length of time doing the job

This boils down to how much training they may need in order to learn how to apply the knowledge that they have so committedly ‘learnt’, or how much back-tracking you are going to have to do to help them ‘unlearn’ all of those bad and unhelpful practices that have kept them nice and busy in their previous roles.

  1. When can they start?

Remember, desperate times require desperate measures, and it is likely that you have left the hiring process way too late in the day and now you need someone to start ASAP! Well, apart from the obvious ‘think ahead’ for next time; the fact is you are now under pressure so whatever you do, tread carefully and remember going forward that it’s vital when making a long-term decision to give yourself the long-term space to make the right one.

  1. What is their ‘what next?’

What do they want to do next in their journey with us? Team leader, Head of Compliance or financial adviser? What a conundrum! Well, it’s not really, because why do we seem to continue to assume the direction of what their next step may be? Take Paraplanning for instance… I know the Paraplanning profession as a whole recognise and value this role exactly as it is, however, there are thousands of firms who still haven’t quite grasped the fact that the role exists in its own right! Rather than assuming it’s a stepping-stone, it can equally be the start, middle and end for many who aspire to being the best Paraplanner possible.

Regardless of the role, this process clearly all starts with the firms gaining a genuine understanding of the candidate they are looking to hire, and add to that the absolute need for the candidate to be upfront and honest about and with themselves. Regardless of the role, ‘ego’s’ still very much fuel our profession, and after decades of putting financial advisers and more recently financial planners on a pedestal of awesomeness… we’ve now got the huge job of educating our new entrants, and those that are leading at the helm in other roles, that in fact not everyone wants to, or needs to, directly advise clients! A collaborative conversation needs to be had.

So, what is the solution? 

Well, if you have a pattern of hiring based solely on the above, or if you have someone in your team that doesn’t fit, it’s not a total disaster! Here are some top tips for next steps:

  1. The first step is to have the appropriate conversationswith the person(s) and an HR Professional. You need to be honest, brave and confident in your feelings that something is not right. The sooner the lines of communication around this are opened the better.
  2. Take recruitment seriously. Long gone are the days when big salaries, bigger offices and fast cars are the promises that will seal the deal. Now firms have to be creative, to offer something extra special – which is often not what you think! Ask yourself whatyou would need to do to secure a waiting list of candidates at your door? Look around, what are the best places to work doing? And don’t forget to ask your existing team. This is all part of creating the magic cultural potion in your business that will attract like-for-like, making the whole process easier from the get-go.
  3. Review your recruitment processes and practices. Make sure that in future you allow plenty of time for the process to blossom. It’s important tothink and plan ahead, and to maximise the tools available to support the process. When it comes to ‘fit’ the bottom line is really that we are talking innate behaviour – does theirs match yours/your expectations? To try and establish the likelihood of this upfront, why not include some personality, psychometric tests into the process?


At Standards International our two favourites are:

The Kolbe A™ Index – This measures an individual’s innate ‘modus operandi’ across four indicators – Factfinder/Follow Through/Quick Start/Implementor. https://www.kolbe.com/kolbe-a-index

I could share 100 stories as to why this works, but let me share just this one. We recently helped one of our clients with the recruitment of a Technical Manager. We carried out the Kolbe and provided our feedback and recommendations on their Kolbe score and how this would ‘fit’ into the overall team. This was the reply from the firm’s owner:

“Your 5 min Kolbe feedback was so accurate. I honestly don’t think you could have summarised him better if you spent all-day” interviewing him!’

The 5 Love Languages – This evaluates how an individual likes to be communicated with/appreciated across five indicators – words of affirmation/acts of service/receiving gifts/quality time/physical touch. https://www.5lovelanguages.com

Now don’t be put off by the lovey-dovey nature of my second recommendation. The 5 Love Languages really can help to get to the bottom of the innate needs of your people, and there’s a great deal of magic in knowing what a person needs in order to feel motivated to perform at their best!

Recruitment is never an easy task, but by embracing the challenge and using the appropriate tools in your kitbag, combined with your gut instinct, you will build your very own extraordinary team!



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We believe everyone has the power to realise their extraordinary potential. “Standards International is the powerhouse behind professionalism and operational excellence in financial services. We set the standards, we live the standards, we are the standards!” That’s us in a nutshell! We support the development of financial adviser business owners, their business partners, practice and business managers, and support teams in all areas of personal and business development. We have some super-exciting developments under way and it gives me such a buzz when I sit for a moment and realise what an impact all of this could have on our magical profession! Please be sure to keep in touch with us via social media, use our contact form or email us on enquiries@standardsinternational.co.uk to say “Hi”.

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