Have you ever asked yourself why it’s so hard to find good advisor talent? Yosef Colish is the Founder and Managing Director of Leah Yosef International, a leader in the Wealth and Investment Management Division. With over 15 years of experience, he specializes in attracting and retaining the top-performing talent in the industry for single-family and multi-family offices and RIAs.
Today he joins Matt to dive into the advantages to working with an executive search firm like Leah Yosef, the differences between a contingent and a retained hiring search, and the questions you absolutely need to be asking in your interview process. Yosef also shares one of the most unique counter-offer situations that even he could not have prepared for.
Listen to the Full Episode:
What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:
- Common mistakes made in the hiring process.
- The difference between a contingent and a retained search.
- What the process looks like working with Leah Yosef.
- The questions that you should be asking in your interview process.
- How to determine how you should be compensating talent.
- Why you need to get super clear on what you’re really hiring for.
Ideas Worth Sharing:Don’t be afraid to play a little bit of devil’s advocate. – Yosef Colish Click To Tweet Somebody out there is always trying to look for new people. – Yosef Colish Click To Tweet It’s not about making money—it’s about trying to recruit incredible advisors. – Yosef Colish Click To Tweet
Resources In Today’s Episode:
- Yosef Colish: Website | LinkedIn
- Matt Jarvis: Website | LinkedIn
- Start with NO – The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know by Jim Camp
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss
- Who by Geoff Smart
- Kolbe Test
- The Backstage Pass
- The Perfect RIA LinkedIn Page
Enjoy the show? Use the Links Below to Subscribe:
Read the Transcript Below:
This is The Perfect RIA, in case you didn’t know. Bringing you all the strategies to help your business grow. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Sit back and listen in while you feel the beat. Another myth bites the dust…
Matthew Jarvis: Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Perfect RIA podcast. I am your co-host and co-founder Matthew Jarvis, and Micah is not with me today. Instead, we have a special guest, a good friend of mine, and someone who’s done great work for our firm, Yosef Colish with Leah Yosef International Recruiting. Yosef helped us find and hire Alex Lynch, which is the advisor that joined our team I think six months ago now and has been absolutely crushing it. We’ve had a lot of podcasts listeners say, “Matthew, how did you find Alex? How did you find this kind of talent?” and I have to confess, my role was kind of limited to hiring Yosef, and he did all the magic. Yosef, so glad to have you on the podcast today.
Yosef Colish: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having us, having me.
Matthew Jarvis: Now, tell us just a little bit about your firm and the services you offer, and I’ll interject my experience as we go along.
Yosef Colish: Sure. We been doing this about 15 years. The Leah Yosef International is part of Sanford Rose and Associates, Sanford Rose, the ninth largest search firm in the country, 140-plus different divisions, so we’re-
Matthew Jarvis: Wow.
Yosef Colish: … the division that focuses on the private wealth space. We really hone in on the boutique area, so single and multi-family offices and RIAs. We work all over the country based in New York, literally from coast to coast and Midwest and Southeast everywhere, small markets, large markets. We find ourselves maybe about half of our time working with advisors. This last year with COVID is about 75% of our time was placing advisors and the other quarter of our time is more on the management piece, so COO, CCO, and even CEO replacement type searches, CIO, that kind of more sometimes more behind the scenes in the RIA space.
Matthew Jarvis: Okay, so both sides of that. Of course, you and I must’ve first talked about a year ago, and I was referred to you by Mindy diamond, who does a lot of recruiting helping advisors roll out of wirehouses, but I wanted today for our audience to walk through the process that you and I went through and of course the process that you go through with every advisor you’re working with as well as some common mistakes that you see. In fact, I just had a friend of mine, as you know, that reached out to you who’s unsuccessfully tried to hire four different advisors and has caused a lot of disruption to his firm. We won’t name him though. He knows who he is. But we want to help advisors shortcut that circuit to really know, “Hey, if I’m hiring somebody, who am I hiring, why am I hiring it, and how do I do it as quickly and efficiently as possible?”
Yosef Colish: Sure. Yeah. In terms of the process, I think we really started with understanding what type of search this is. I think I was once at a Persian conference. They were talking about investment news, research, and they brought out—to find a support advisor takes on average six months and to find a lead advisor, it takes on average 18 months.
Matthew Jarvis: Wow.
Yosef Colish: That’s for RIAs across the country. Now, I can’t imagine that’s with executive search, but it depends. The question I always want to ask upfront and try to vet out through a lot of questions and a lot of back and forth is, is this more a contingent search, is that the best model, or is it more a retained search? Some of the terminology that recruiters use these days is hybrid or engaged, but people are used to a retain search.
The difference… It’s important for the advisor, the RIA to know as well, “Well, what kind of firm when we’re dealing with? What are you doing? Is this the right fit?” I would say that the retained model versus the contingent, so when it comes to contingent, you’re going to be thinking about who’s in control? It’s the advisor that’s in control because in a contingent firm, if you’re going to come across some very talented professionals, you’re probably going to say, “Okay, my relationship with my firm is such that they’re not paying me up front. I’m not working for them. This person is amazing. They probably have a book of business. They probably… 50 million, 100 million. Might not be an M&A transaction per se, but it’s an advisor that has some sort of portability there, and they’re probably going to introduce that person to 5, 10, or even 20 different firms.”
If a person is looking for a real strong portable book of business, so that’s what they’re looking for, something with a tuck-in, oftentimes, I hear advisors saying, “Well, at least wanted to cover themselves. Economics don’t have to make sense that I’m actually making money, but cover themselves.”
That I find is a needle in the haystack. It is something that we don’t feel comfortable on a retained basis saying, “Okay, we’ll find that for you. Our average search and I think a lot of retained search terms is under 10 weeks. Okay. Yeah. We could find that. We can go out to market.” That might not exist right now. The question is, if you find that person, they have so many options. That’s why a recruiter that’s going to be working with that person needs to give them all these options. Do you want to go independent? Do you want to go to a broker dealer? Do you want to go to just to get a big check from the wirehouse? Do you want to go to independent RIA? Do you want to have equity? What do you want? You’ve got revenue coming with you.
I would recommend that if somebody is looking for that type of advisor that they talk to a lot of recruiters because I think they have to understand that the search firm, at that point, it’s not really working for them. The search firm is in their network. On average, a contingent search firm will make about 25 calls. Maybe you get lucky. Maybe somebody is really be a good fit, but you’ll have to talk to 5, 10, 15, 20 firms, make sure the firms know who you are. You’re doing your own networking as well. That’s the best way to try to find one of these types of advisors with a book of business.
Matthew Jarvis: Just to make sure our audience is following along, so a contingent firm or a contingent agreement means that the recruiter’s getting paid when they place somebody, thus, like you said, if you find this unicorn, this needle in the haystack, if you’re working on, as a recruiter, on a contingent basis, you want to shop them around a lot of places so you make sure you get paid, almost maybe like a real estate agent. They just want to sell the lead or the property whereas a retained firm… That’s the agreement you and I did when we worked together. You were paying them as you go, almost paying them for their work, and to your point, they’re now working for me instead of working for the lead, if you will.
Yosef Colish: Right, and so if… That’s exactly right. The firm is saying, “Look, it’s not about having to cover themselves. We don’t need that kind of unicorn. I definitely want someone that’s a cultural fit unicorn, and the comp works and where they are in their career and they’re ready to move, all these types of pieces, but it doesn’t also have to be… I don’t want to invest in that, so… ” and they’re going to cover themselves. At that point, then it makes sense to say, “Okay, I want to get the right retained search firm, the firm that’s going to go out on purpose.” The average retain search firm will proactively go after about 120 people at the top of their funnel, so it’s almost five times as much as a contingent. Our firm, we try to double that, especially with COVID. We were over 200, 300 per search. It was just… People were not that interested with COVID, with moving, interviewing, but you definitely want them out there in the market, that accountability to you, and then if they get a candidate, then it’s your candidate. It’s a candidate. They just tapped on the shoulder and said, “Hey, is this what you want to do? Let me get to know you really well. I’ve got a great client for you trying to match that together,” instead of having to compete with 10 other firms because of… which with a book of business, you’ll have to do that.
I think that the first question a person needs to ask themselves is, “Are we an advisor? We try to look for an advisor that’s going to take over, let’s say, book of business, or they’re going to add a technical expertise or even going and building a book of business, which is also a technical expertise, but we don’t need them to have a book.” If that’s the case, find the right firm to partner with or take a year and a half and network around, or contingent search is I wouldn’t partner with one firm. I would really, if it’s a book of business, don’t have to pay anything upfront. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Let’s see when the right person comes along and then people will reach out to you.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. I know when you and I walked through this discussion when we were first decided to work together, it was very clear me to go with the retained option for two reasons. One, I had what I considered to be a relatively tight timeline. I had some extreme accountability with Micah, which is the podcast listeners know that I wanted to have an advisor hired by the end of the year. I wanted to make sure that, Yosef, that you were working aggressively on my behalf, all those extra contacts.
The other was I knew that my personality is not one that I would want to talk to a hundred random leads. I would not want to be doing the screening. Not only do I not want to do that, I don’t have the skill set to do that. I was, maybe this is jumping ahead, I was amazed in the process as you brought me people, advisors that had gone through your practices. I looked them up. I didn’t find on their LinkedIn profile that they were looking for jobs. I didn’t find that they had their resume posted out there. I mean, you’re digging places that I would never find, and people who would probably never cross my radar.
Yosef Colish: Yeah. I think you’ll see that last point in a lot of recruiters, both ends of the stick. They’re trying to know people that you don’t know, but again, on a retained basis or hybrid, whatever it’s called, engaged, that means that the firm is going out there into the market and saying, “Okay, here is the circle of candidates. Here are all the private banks, the trust companies, that RIAs, the… ” and whatever it makes sense, and then reaching out to everybody.
It usually takes about 7 to 10 reach-outs, like any sales business, to emailing phone, call, texting everything out there today to get the person to say yes or no, which is what you want to hear. Either way is fine. But hopefully, either way, you’re going to get a person, for your first point, who’s going to vet the people properly, which brings me to another common mistake.
Matthew Jarvis: Please.
Yosef Colish: What we often find is people waste time. Imagine you’re a candidate. Someone calls you and says, “Yeah, I’d like to talk. You look great.” It’s flattering.
Matthew Jarvis: It’s very exciting.
Yosef Colish: Why not? Have another conversation, another conversation. Without a recruiter in the middle, and I’ll add onto that without a quality recruiter in the middle, asking the right questions, you don’t know if literally you’re just wasting your time. At the end of the process, they’re just going to say, “You know what? It was really nice getting to know you, but I’m not ready to move,” or they counteroffer, “Oh, my firm offered me this instead. I’m just going to stay. I didn’t see that coming.” I think a lot of firms… There’s a couple of tips I can give-
Matthew Jarvis: Please.
Yosef Colish: … some questions that we… I would say you can build into your interview process if you’re interviewing advisors today. In that first interview, I build some rapport, obviously, learn about the firm, learn about what’s really driving them, but first of all, don’t be afraid to be a little bit devil’s advocate. If someone says, “Yeah, I’m really not enjoying this… Just, my boss does not really want to go.” Well, is there another department you could potentially work for? Do you see that person? What’s their-
Matthew Jarvis: Oh.
Yosef Colish: Ask a few questions. Push a little bit. You might ask a little bit about counteroffers in general. I bring it up with everybody. Usually, every conversation. You might just say, “What’s your firm’s policy on counteroffers?” It’s very bland. It’s one of my interview questions. You’ll see what they have to say. I wouldn’t hesitate to ask, “Have you ever taken a counteroffer?” You’d be surprised. You’d be surprised. People will talk through, and you will learn a lot about them because does that mean they accepted and signed the letter and said, “I’m going here,” and then they changed their mind-
Matthew Jarvis: Interesting.
Yosef Colish: … or does that mean they got really far, and then they decided, “I’m just going to stay.” What does that mean? Another question, first interview, maybe second. It’s a little more straightforward, but you would really probe and say, “Is there anything… If let’s say we walked down this path, and you’re excited, and I’m excited. It’s exactly what you’re looking for. Hopefully, by that point, you can even name what they’re looking for. You’ve said you’re looking for a career advancement and looking for opportunity for ownership and equity… We’re there. Now your firm is coming back to you and saying, “Wow, we can’t believe this is happening. We want you to stay.” I mean, is there anything they could do? Seriously. I mean, and you ask them from almost like building a trust, any money they could give you. Is there a position in the corner office, I mean, just something that you’d say, “Look, for that, I would really have to… Let’s take a step back and consider,” not from a hard ball perspective.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Yeah. If you are not already doing this in your process of hiring, you probably need to hire a recruiter. I don’t want to feel like this is a big commercial for Yosef, whether you work with him or someone else, but if you’re having these aha moments like, “Oh, man, I never thought to ask them how they deal with counteroffers,” that’s probably something that’s derailing your hiring process. The other thing I would point out is if you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s got to take a lot of time… ” because, Yosef, just from my position that you hired, you must’ve had that discussion or your team must’ve with dozens, maybe even hundreds of advisors. I mean, this is a really labor-intensive process that you go through.
Yosef Colish: Yeah, it definitely is. We try to have probably a 15, 20-minute call initially to start. You can get a sense for people. People sometimes with me, they’re more honest than they might be with a company, but then we do it at full-blown hour interview, hour, hour and a half, video conferencing, that’s where we’re really getting into it. I would caution people is I usually find that people in the first 5 to 15 years of their career, especially if it’s their first job or their second job, they are totally unprepared for this. They don’t even know. They don’t… I literally had a counteroffer with someone who the firm wasn’t doing well in COVID. It’s a smaller 200 million dollar RIA. They actually sold everything when COVID… They went to cash with the beginning of COVID, and they tried to time the market. I mean-
Matthew Jarvis: Oh, no.
Yosef Colish: … ridiculous, right? An advisor left, which, yes, it freed them up with some extra cash so we’re paying the advisor, but the advisor didn’t take any clients, but they were falling apart a little bit. It’s a small firm in the first place, about 300 million. We had an advisor that was going to leave. He was our client’s first choice. They came to him and said, “We want to give you $30,000 extra.”
Matthew Jarvis: Wow.
Yosef Colish: Okay. He said, “You know what, thank you. I appreciate that.” He told me, he said, “I’m still interviewing. I’m not staying here.” Now, he went from making 130 to 260, and then my client was offering me 140. Then he accepted the role. Said, “I’m super excited. I accept. I want to go,” and for a much better opportunity. That firm came back to him with a $270,000 base.
Matthew Jarvis: Wow.
Yosef Colish: All the money they’re paying the other advisor, “You can’t leave. We’re falling apart.” Granted 1% ownership in the company, guaranteed 60K bonus on top of that. I mean, this guy’s making 150 a package-
Matthew Jarvis: 270. Jeez.
Yosef Colish: … now he’s making to the threes. He was having a very hard time. As much as I prepare people for counteroffers, I don’t prepare them… Well, I hadn’t before that… that much.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. That’s kind of outside the normal realm.
Yosef Colish: It’s outside normal realm. Anyway, he went with the counteroffer. I mean, I said, I said, “Bank the money. Six months. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I get it.” When you’re working with a retained search firm, they’re always recruiting, so I had a very, very strong backup and actually very strong backup after that—actually wound up making two hires from us so it was successful, but it was like, “That’s a story for the agents.” Now, we ask as much questions as we could so things will happen in the extreme, but that’s where you want to really push as much as possible, so those are some of the questions that I would definitely incorporate, not just in the beginning and maybe not even just once, but sprinkle them through. Maybe other people can ask. I mean, even at the end of the process, if you’re getting towards the end with the right person, then you might ask a little bit more firm, and you might say, “I’m assuming you wouldn’t consider a counteroffer.”
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. I want to draw something you mentioned there about having backup candidates. I remember hiring for a position, and we had our heart set on one person so we had stopped the search funnel, and then to your point, Yosef, we didn’t ask about counteroffers, so of course, they got one and they stayed with the firm because, again, we were not professionals in this recruiting space like you are. We got to the end of the process. They had signed a contract. They get a counteroffer, similar to what you articulated. They take the counteroffer, stay at their firm, and now we’re back to ground zero with our search and so delayed it by 3, 6, 9 months. Again, and I feel like this is a commercial, but it’s really not to have that pipeline in place so it puts you as a hiring person in a powerful position. “Hey, I really like this person. I really want to hire them, but if they don’t work out or they take a counteroffer, I have three other… ” Excuse me… “really great candidates lined up behind them.”
Yosef Colish: Right. That’s sometimes the difference between a contingent process and a retained process where there’s a feeling that contingent recruiter, he doesn’t really work for me. They just want to make a deal. Can I really trust them?” whereas when you’re working with a retained firm, they’ll be telling you all the cons, and they’ll say, “Here’s what’s going on, and I’m not so sure about this. I’m not sure about that. I just want to keep you up to date 100%.”
They’re comfortable because they know they’re going to fill the search. They’re going to get the job done for you, and they work for you so it’s a little bit different process there, something to think about. The firms a lot of times that are going contingent on looking for advisors with books, they’re always recruiting. They are out there. They’re networking. They’re at the club talking to advisors. I mean, everything. They go to conferences. Somebody out there is always trying to look for new people.
Matthew Jarvis: Sure. If you’re at that size where you’re tucking in people left and right shopping for those unicorns, as we mentioned at the beginning episode, that totally makes sense. If you’re an advisor like myself where there’s one or two advisors in your practice and you’re looking to add a second or a third, I just don’t see how that contingent approach would work very well. It’s like you’re gambling on maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. The recruiter’s working for you one day, but they’re recruiting for everybody else the other day. That retained option, and maybe this is my confirmation bias trying to reaffirm my decisions, but it seems to work really well.
Yosef Colish: Yeah. I think we’re no different than a lot of other firms. We have about 27% success rate with a contingent option and an 88% success rate with an engaged or retained option. Firms, there is mergers and acquisitions that go on, there are things that pause searches. We don’t fill every single one, but obviously, we’re putting the effort in and it’s a much different case over there. Another thing that we really talked about, which was interesting, was how to compensate advisors. Right?
What are you looking to pay? What’s market? I find that the people that do the research oftentimes get studies. They get their Schwab study and things like that. Those are helpful, especially when talking about a top quartile, but they don’t really talk about the top 10%. I think that… We just had a firm call us, and it was, “Well, we’re looking to add a new piece to the compensation. We’re looking to add equity now to the compensation.”
Matthew Jarvis: Interesting.
Yosef Colish: “How should we structure that?” because they had been doing it for a while, worked for a certain way for the first partners. I said, “What do you mean?” They said, “Well, what are people going to appreciate out in the marketplace? In other words, what is really going to be attractive?” I think that’s important, what type of advisor are you looking for and what speaks to them? In that case, I asked them about equity. I say, “Well, is this about trying to sell, make more money and someone wants to retire and get money back? Is that what it’s about, or is it about really recruiting and getting another person?” They said, “No, it’s actually not about making money. We’re not trying to do that. We’re actually trying to recruit incredible advisors.” I said, “Well, some of the best firms do a grant of equity.”
Matthew Jarvis: Interesting.
Yosef Colish: They just knocked the socks off of the industry because it’s like only the top few percentile of the firms are doing it, but when you talk about that, and said, “By the way, they grant equity. I have a few clients that do this,” it’s a huge game changer. Really? You’re going to say, “I’m going to put in this sweat equity, so to speak, I got to get to a certain point,” so that’s where that was able to go. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re trying to find an advisor with a book of business, I mean, they care about payouts, bottom line.
Matthew Jarvis: For sure.
Yosef Colish: That’s what they want to know. We had a firm that was just, “Hey, this is a 60% payout,” which is higher than others, but it actually started at 90%, so you bring over half your book and you can get 90%. The other half I think is 60%, and then it averages out at 75, but you just tell somebody 90%, and they’re thinking very differently, right?
Matthew Jarvis: Yes.
Yosef Colish: But you don’t want to say that if you’re trying to create an ensemble practice, whether there’s a base salary and everybody’s connected and it’s not just about your own book of business, so it really depends on what is the end game. That’s how you want to create your…
We had an advisor we just placed out of a big wirehouse. You think of book of business. I mean, a third of the advisors that we typically place do have clients that follow. I’m talking to big numbers, 10, 30, 50 million clients follow. He had a following of 30 million. You think, “Okay. 300,000. He’s making 150. What does he want?” He didn’t want any of it. He just wanted a base salary and a bonus. “Pay me once for my book and you keep it. That’s what I want.” The firm was able to work that in. “Okay, we know what he wants. Let’s get him and be flexible. It’s not a payout structure. That’s not what we want anyway,” and it worked out. You have to really understand what the person is looking for, how they would want to structure.
Matthew Jarvis: Boy, there’s so many nuances here. It’s such an area of expertise on its own. I’m thinking all of the things that you’ve mentioned. You and I worked here, like I said, for some time. These are all things I never even thought of. These are things that you were doing behind the scenes on my behalf so I didn’t have to worry about. I could stay focused on do I like this guy or gal, do our personalities going to match, do I think they’re going to be a good fit for my clients, do they believe the same things I do as far as investment philosophy and so forth?
Meanwhile, you’re having these conversations about counteroffers compensation and equity and almost able… Devil’s advocate’s not quite the right word, but you can ask things that I either can’t ask or I don’t feel comfortable asking. The counteroffer question, “If I give you an offer, Dave, and you get a counteroffer, you to take that,” that feels weird to me coming from me. From you, like you said, you’re using it to build rapport, and when I would talk to these advisors that you would get me interviews with, sometimes I would almost wonder, “Whose side is Yosef on?” It’s almost like they have such a great relationship with you, they feel like you’re working for them versus me, and so just kind of like a mental note about the rapport that you’re able to establish as kind of a third party, if you will.
Yosef Colish: Yeah, and that’s true. When it comes to the retained model, I have candidates who ask me, “Are you retained on the search?” because they want to-
Matthew Jarvis: Oh, interesting.
Yosef Colish: Yeah. They want to know is this a firm that’s serious out there and that you know them very well and that you’re not trying to push me in any direction, you’re just going to fill the search, but you have everything… That’s their philosophy. The firms that really do a great job, and you mentioned Mindy Diamond, they do a fantastic job at moving books of business, they also build that report, but not from the firm’s perspective, from the candidate.
They’re saying, “Okay, I want to get to know you. I want to know everything about you. I can give you all the options, and I’m your person.” Either way, you’re developing that rapport in that person. That’s really important. The recruiter’s going to take the time to do that. There’s a trust factor that has to build in there. Along these lines, I mean, there’s a book that I recommend to advisors for their business, for anybody who’s in sales and who’s in services. It’s called Start With No.
Matthew Jarvis: Interesting. Start With No.
Yosef Colish: … and by Camp, Todd Camp, I believe. It’s about negotiating, but it’s also instead of start with yes… It’s a kind of a play on, right? Get to yes. It’s not about… The quicker we can get to know is also good. If you’re coming in with the attitude of “I know what the elephant in the room is,” let’s just start with the elephant in the room. Let’s just start with no because he has a lot of amazing techniques. There’s another book that is similar called Never Split the Difference.
Matthew Jarvis: Oh, yeah, by Greg Cross-
Yosef Colish: Chris Voss.
Matthew Jarvis: Chris Voss. Yeah.
Yosef Colish: Yeah.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. That’s a powerful book. I love that one.
Yosef Colish: Well, I was at a conference because I was like, “How do I implement this book?” I love this book. I couldn’t put it down. I went to a conference, and Todd Camp was speaking. I said… I read his book, like, “This, I can implement.” It’s the same idea. It’s the same stuff, but it’s maybe not as sexy as an FBI agent, but just for me personally, I found it impactful to put into my business.
I don’t mind telling people. I’ll say, “Listen, it seems to me that this… You really might want to stay at your firm. This might not be a good situation for you. I’d like you to… Let’s just pause the process and talk what… Maybe you can have a conversation with your hiring manager. I mean, I’d like you to understand,” and just start with that pull-away, in a certain sense, “but this is how it goes, and I want to let you know that it’s totally fine. We can just end the process,” and do that in the beginning. I think advisors should be comfortable doing that with the people that they’re talking to, let them tell you why it’s really important for them.
Matthew Jarvis: Totally. I mean, that reminds me our prospect process for prospects. For clients of our practice, we always tell them, “Hey, we may not be a good fit for you. We’re going to walk you through this process.” I’m truncating this because the listeners have heard this, but, “We’re going to walk you through this process, and then you can decide if, hey, you want to work with us, if you want to work with somebody else, if you want to do this on your own, but we’re only one of the options. We may not be the best option.” That takeaway close… I guess it’s both a takeaway close, but it’s also just reminding them of their choices.
“Hey, we may not be a good fit. You might want to stay at the firm that you’re at.” It also releases me from some of the fear of rejection. If I’m approaching a candidate or the prospect saying, “Boy, I really hope you want to go to the prom with me,” and they say, “No,” that I’m sort of crushed with this… but if I’m leading with, hey, I might be the right date for the prom, but there might be a better date, if they choose that other date, perfect. No problem. You got to do what’s best for you.
Yosef Colish: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
Matthew Jarvis: Yosef, any other big mistakes that you think advisors make in the hiring process or words of wisdom you want to pass out to them, and then we’ll transition into some action items?
Yosef Colish: Yeah, well, a couple of… I’m going to pull up a sheet that I-
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. Please.
Yosef Colish: … every single time with every single candidate. This is when we really get into depth. We want to start getting to know them. We want to start asking questions that will get them to think. I want to share some questions that might be very impactful for advisors. Great question to pop on people, when things are going well, you’re building rapport, maybe 30, 40 minutes into the interview, and you say, “What’s really caused you to stand out amongst your peers?” It’s usually a sit back and think question. If they’re thinking way too long, that’s the yellow flag.
Matthew Jarvis: Interesting.
Yosef Colish: If they need some guidance, you can try to help them. That’s really one of the times just to be quiet, let them start, let them think, gather their thoughts, let them talk. I find that if I really got to know them, I understood their background and what’s going on, and then I ask that question, if I was leaning in one direction of maybe a no, it puts the onus on them. If I really like them, but I just couldn’t summarize it all. It just, “Wow,” it gives them a chance to knock it out of the park-
Matthew Jarvis: Interesting.
Yosef Colish: … it’s just a fantastic opportunity that they have to summarize themselves. I like that question along the lines of the… Let’s go back. When we do the action items, I want to give some exact wording specific questions for the counteroffer.
Matthew Jarvis: Perfect. Well, this has been really great stuff. Again, I hope advisors listening to this… I guess either side. If you’re an advisor who is hoping to be recruited, think about, “All right. What are the recruiters looking for?” Yosef, to your point, “Are they retained? Are they contingent? What will I say in these interviews? What kind of price am I looking for?” again, if you’re trying to be hired, “and what do I need to bring to the table for that to be a reality?” I think there’s some great stuff here for the whole spectrum, but let’s jump into some action items. I’d love to hear some of your specific scripts there.
I would say action item number one, and this goes to what I was just saying, get really clear on what you’re solving for. If you’re an advisor hiring, what are you looking for? Are you looking for, as Yosef pointed out, a succession plan, someone to bring over a book of business, someone who can prospect, someone who can service existing clients? For me personally, I wanted someone who was incredibly good at serving existing clients and who could onboard clients that I could bring on because I love prospecting, I love closing prospects so I didn’t need someone that was super powerful in that area, but you’ve got to get really clear on what you are looking for and what that will cost to get that kind of talent.
Yosef Colish: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. You have to be careful these days when a lot of the states people live in you can’t ask people what they’re making anymore. All right? Fair Pay Act. You can ask what they’d be looking for and how they like to structure that. You can ask a lot of questions around that. Sometimes they’ll give you the information, but I would say know your states, know your laws. If you live in a state that doesn’t have Fair Pay Acts, then people are very used to having that compensation conversation, and otherwise, at least you’ll learn what they’re looking for. You can ask that kind of forward looking question, how they want things structured, but in general, the people that are looking to move their book, it’s about a payout, and you have to really be careful about the cultural fit and you have to make sure that it fits in that culture. If it’s more about coming to support you in different ways, then they’re usually more interested in a base bonus structure.
Matthew Jarvis: Yeah. That’s great. I would say another action item would be if you’ve decided that you want to hire an advisor and you’re really clear on what that person looks like, you’ve got to get really clear on what the process is going to be. If you’re going to do it yourself, you’ve got to think, “Great. How am I going to approach these people? How am I going to screen them for counteroffers, for fit, for quality, for compensation?” all of these steps, or alternatively, “How do I find a recruiter, ideally, an retainer who are going to do all these steps for me,” and making sure that you understand as the buyer of that service, if you will, what process are they going to go through on their way through?
Yosef Colish: Yeah. Absolutely. Not every firm is as process-driven as ours. That’s part of what we do. You don’t want to skip steps where… I mean, we talked about this, I think, at some point. We just want to go slow and steady and do the process, but if you have a firm that’s kind of… you’re feeling a little bit pushy or feeling like this is the candidate, I would just take a step back. If you don’t have an internal checklist, just to create one. What do you need to be looking over? We talked about counteroffer questions, and we can get some scripts for that, how you’re going to interview, what’s really standing out about the person, reference checking. There’s a great book called Who?.
Matthew Jarvis: Oh, sure. Is that by-
Yosef Colish: By Smart.
Matthew Jarvis: Oh, okay. Yeah.
Yosef Colish: He termed the coin A players.
Matthew Jarvis: Yes.
Yosef Colish: When he says reference checking… just to give you a nuance. It’s a great book. Everybody highlighted every single line, but he says, “Don’t say, ‘Can I check some references?’ Say, ‘When I speak to Joe, what’s he going to say about you?'”
Matthew Jarvis: Wow.
Yosef Colish: He just said, “When. Uh-oh.”
Matthew Jarvis: Yes.
Yosef Colish: “This is real. Let me tell you what he’s going to say so you don’t have to hear it from him.” Now, you may or may not check that reference, but there’s nuance ways. I would highly recommend everyone to have a process. We want to get to the end of the process, and then we’ll know it’s the right person. Kolbe tests we’ve talked about. Right?
Matthew Jarvis: Yes.
Yosef Colish: A lot of different things you could put in there. A search run will have the process for you; otherwise, you can create it.
Matthew Jarvis: Yosef, I’m glad you mentioned it because I wanted to bring up the Kolbe test. This was one of the reasons that I was clear on hiring you because my Quick Start score I think is a nine, or an eight or nine, depending on when I take it, but Quick Start store is quite low, right? Yours is a three. For me, the idea of talking to a candidate five times, seven times for an hour, not a chance, I’m going to talk to them for 10 minutes, like you got the job, you don’t have the job, but that’s why the synergy is so powerful. You’re going to go through all these meticulous steps that, I just got to be honest, aren’t going to happen for me. I would say to my fellow advisers who have a Quick Start score, another reason to get someone who’s going to be thorough on your behalf.
Yosef Colish: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Matthew Jarvis: Perfect. Yosef, any other parting thoughts for our audience before we wish them happy planning?
Yosef Colish: I would just say if the counter idea spoke to people or just really helped people out, I would say to the order of those questions I like to ask is just, firstly, the very high level, I’m just looking at our scripts now, can you visualize yourself quitting? Have you ever visualized yourself quitting, you see yourself do that? You’ll be surprised some will say, “No, I never really did that.” Hopefully, they say yes, and that gets them talking about why. Again, does your firm have a policy on counteroffers, and do you have any counteroffer? Is there anything that you and your company could do or say or give you, anything, to get you to stay? You just want to really, as their friend, ask these types of questions about the process, you save yourself a lot of time and headache at the end.
Matthew Jarvis: Perfect. Well, Yosef. This stuff was pure gold. Very, very helpful. Again, for our advisors listening, look up Yosef Colish at Leah Yosef International Recruiting. I highly recommend him myself. No, I was not compensated for this interview. They just did a great job for me, and so I’m glad to pass on the word. We’ve had a lot of advisors ask, “Hey, man. How did you find Alex? How did you get that recruiting done?” so highly recommend that. As always, for our listeners, please be sure to give us five stars on whatever podcast platform you’re listening to. Micah and I have a nice ego stroke on that, and it helps spread the word. Of course, until next time, happy planning.
Hold on before we go. Something that you need to know. This isn’t tax, legal, or investment advice. That isn’t our intent. Information designed to change lives. Financial planning can make you thrive. Start today. Don’t think twice. Be a better husband, father, mother, and wife. The Perfect RIA. The Perfect RIA.