We are passionate about finding young people interested in Financial Services and training them up as we believe they can be an invaluable asset to the team and would encourage any advisory firm to consider it as a recruitment option. You get so much out of a trainee; admin support, a paraplanner, a researcher, and finally a qualified adviser trained in the way your firm wants!
It’s not always easy though to figure out the best way to interview someone who is fresh from university and is likely to have little or no work experience. So what’s the best way to assess those candidates and work out who you want to hire? Well, rather than a standard interview where candidates' limited practical experience will impact on the effectiveness of this structure, we instead select our graduates based on an assessment day. From initial CVs and covering letters, we shortlisted candidates down to 10, and invited them along to spend the day with us and used a variety of methods to assess them. Here’s how we broke it down and why it has worked for us.
- Numerical and literacy tests - Everyone can use spell check on a CV and covering letter, but being a good Paraplanner requires that extra eye for detail and accuracy. The tests we used weren’t long rambling exams, but just enough to make you think and identify those with great attention to detail.
- One on One interviews – It was still essential to have some one on one time with candidates; we used this to find out their motivations and career aspirations and what they had learnt so far through university and part time employment that they thought would make them tip-top Paraplanners.
- Variety of team building exercises – This is really one of the more interesting parts of the day, where we split the candidates up into small teams and give them problem solving and research tasks to work on together. By observing in this way, it can tell you so much about who’s proactive, who is a natural leader, and who really engages in the task at hand. It also highlights candidates that work well in a team and really listen to other people’s point of view and be objective in their response.
By looking at the results of all these elements together, you get a great picture of who is going to be the right person for the job! By the end of the day candidates are really relaxed and you get a feel for personality too – which is hard to gauge in an interview only setting. Being a small business ultimately we also want people who will just fit in well with our vibe! The graduates we’ve hired have done amazingly well so far, coming fresh from university means a mind that is programmed for learning, and they’ve whizzed through any tasks we’ve put in front of them. It’s definitely something we will continue to do!
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