Unless a bank program manager is facing an immediate staffing need, most of them are not thinking about recruiting as part of daily business objectives.

Perhaps they should.

Amid a competitive environment, if your program doesn’t give recruiting the ongoing attention it requires, you will be at a disadvantage when it comes time to attract and win the best talent.

Consider this simple, effective way to gain an advantage in recruiting without a significant time investment: Change to a mind-set in which you are always thinking about building your program’s reputation. Consider every encounter at work and in your community as an opportunity to create a positive reputation for your business as an ideal workplace for advisors, as well as a highly regarded place to do business.

Whether you need to add advisors now or in the future, or hire one or 100 advisors, this approach will serve you well when the time comes to bring on new advisors.


There are a few ways to weave this new way of thinking into the day-to-day encounters you and other members of your organization have with current and potential advisors and 

clients. Start by looking at ways you are engaging with your community. Every day there is an opportunity to tell a local center of influence or a potential recruit about the value of your program and why an advisor would want to work for you, or why an investor would want to be a client of your program. When done effectively, you create promoters. These promoters, in essence, allow you to be in more places and in more conversations than you could alone.

Examples of promoters are local wholesalers connected to product sponsors that work closely with your program, your own advisors, financial institution executives, board members and meaningful clients of the institution who are also respected community leaders. These groups either work directly with other advisors or know other advisors in the community.

Another sometimes overlooked opportunity is the impact of your institution’s front-line employees. Area advisors, and clients of those advisors, may also be customers of your financial institution. The employees they interact with every time they walk into a branch can contribute to demonstrating the value of your institution as a great place to work and to do business.


In this competitive climate, you are probably not the candidate’s only option. Good advisors are either likely to stay where they are at or, if they are looking to make a move, they have multiple opportunities to consider. So use the recruiting process as a way to set your program apart by demonstrating that you understand, respect and value your advisors, and you will begin to be known for that throughout the industry.

The interview process for an advisor is different from other positions in your institution. You must make the advisors feel recruited, not interrogated. The tendency is to ask advisors traditional interview questions. Instead, practice the reverse. Spend time illustrating the value of your program as both a workplace and as a place to grow the advisor’s business, then let the advisor ask you the questions. If your institution requires the advisor to meet with other leaders within your organization, be sure the process is consistent.

If the interviewees feel like they are being recruited to a valuable opportunity, they will express that within their network, whether they eventually land with your program or not. But bear in mind, a bad experience will be shared, too.


Like the experience of being recruited, compensation – especially transition compensation – can be a reputational opportunity, or an issue.

How you define and communicate compensation to your recruits demonstrates the value you place on advisors. Productive advisors are not overhead; they are profit centers. Like any developing profit center in an institution, you should be prepared to make an investment and exercise patience.

In the first year, an institution should expect to experience some expense as the advisor ramps up productivity. At times, there is a tendency for institutions to consider the lowest out-of-pocket expense to save a few dollars when evaluating who they will hire. But you should be thinking for the long term.

A recent Kehrer Bielan study on recruiting compensation plans suggests that even with very aggressive transition compensation plans to keep quality advisors financially whole, institutions can still achieve profitability quickly. Commit to being flexible and fair in your transition compensation to make the right hire, not just the easy one, and be known for taking that stance.


Each financial institution is unique in terms of its brand, sales culture, goals and so on.

From a candidate’s perspective, your offering may be viewed as similar to other financial institution opportunities. Look for other selling points, such as your broker-dealer relationship, to see if it creates differentiation in your offering versus the others in the market. Broker-dealers have implied reputations that you can leverage to further support your own brand building.

To win at recruiting, every day choices you make in your business can create big impact. Consistent and ongoing demonstrations of how you create value for advisors and clients can give you an edge. Maximize your efforts to build your reputation and gain an advantage when it’s time to find your newest advisor.

Frank Smith is vice president of business development, institution services, LPL Financial.

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