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Getting Started

Getting started

Great people make great business, but finding them requires a smart hiring strategy. To help grow your firm and achieve your business objectives, it's important to find the right people at the right time.

Before you begin the search for your next hire, it's critical to first evaluate your recruiting needs, consider who in your firm should be involved in the process, and ensure that you have written a clear, concise, and comprehensive job description.

Create an environment within your firm where the next generation feels like they are part of the momentum, part of the vision, part of building out new initiatives, and where they can actually have a say.1

Sabrina Lowell, Mosaic Financial Partners, Inc.

How to develop your recruiting strategy

Set the stage for a seamless and cost-effective recruiting experience by first evaluating your firm's readiness to begin the recruitment process. Ask yourself, "Is our current staff meeting our existing business needs and able to meet our future needs?" Additionally, at least once a year, review your anticipated client growth and staff productivity to identify critical times for hiring.

Recruitment is an ongoing process that requires planning. Here are some building blocks to create a culture of recruitment at your firm:

  • Seek talent before you need to fill a position. 
  • Encourage senior leaders to keep a list of talented people they meet through networking—and ask them to reach out to their contacts on a regular basis, regardless of whether positions are open. 
  • Be open about talent and diversity gaps, and address them through a broad range of sourcing and screening techniques. 
  • Prominently promote job openings to build awareness of your firm among both job candidates and potential clients. 
  • Regularly train and coach staff about your firm's recruitment process and the specific role each individual is expected to play. 
  • Put measurements in place for key recruitment goals (e.g., the percentage of men vs. women you expect to interview, the number of candidates by recruitment channel, and the length of time it takes to fill an open position).

Create a recruitment team to make sure all aspects of the hiring process are coordinated seamlessly—from posting the job opening and screening résumés to interviewing and making offers.

As much as possible, include a variety of perspectives and backgrounds, gender and ethnic diversity, and newer as well as more tenured employees. Smaller firms can broaden the diversity of their recruitment teams by inviting participation from their centers of influence and professional networks.

Once you've selected your recruitment team, assign responsibility to:

  • Monitor job postings on external sites. 
  • Conduct the initial résumé screening. 
  • Act as the main point of contact for candidate questions. 
  • Schedule the interviews and coordinate calendars with the recruitment team.

Next, determine the hiring schedule and set expectations for:

  • Job description posting dates 
  • Interview dates 
  • Process for providing candidate feedback to the hiring manager
  • Onboarding timeline

You'll want to communicate the advantages of working as an independent advisor, highlight the benefits of your firm, and describe the key requirements of the role.

  • Communicate the advantages of working in the RIA industry
    Use your job description as a tool to advocate for the RIA industry, spotlighting benefits that may appeal to women, career changers, or other targeted candidates in your talent pool. For example, women may be drawn to the client-centered approach of RIA firms, which relies on advisors who are relationship-driven, empathetic, and good listeners. In addition, there are other aspects that may be particularly appealing to women. The RIA industry:
    • Prioritizes people skills. Emotional intelligence counts in a profession built on strong client relationships.
    • Values life experience. Leverage your personal experience to help clients plan their financial futures.
    • Offers flexible schedules. Enjoy a healthy work-life balance.
    • Provides strong earning potential. Get the opportunity to keep more of what you earn.
    • Is well positioned for growth. Be part of a dynamic and growing industry.
  • Highlight the benefits of your firm
    Benefits that are relevant to your firm might include:
    • Career paths within your firm
    • Potential for equity ownership
    • Flexible work policies
    • Long-term vision and mission
    • Awards received by the firm
  • Describe the key requirements of the role
    Ask colleagues with a range of backgrounds and experience to review the job description to ensure that it is:
    • Succinct: Focus on one or two core traits that are necessary for success rather than listing every desired qualification.
    • Transparent: Clarify what the role is—and is not. Address any misconceptions candidates might have about working as an investment advisor.
    • Balanced: Striking a balance between hard and soft skills may help attract candidates who have strong people skills.
    • Unbiased: Use bias-free language to communicate with potential candidates.

For more tips on writing an effective job description, take a look at our job description template as well as our sample job descriptions.

Additional resources:

Learn more

Our RIA Talent Advantage® Recruitment Playbook offers more tips, tools, and resources on recruiting the right talent for your firm.


1. Schwab's RIA Firm of the Future Study, conducted for Schwab Advisor Services by Koski Research, June 2015.

For informational purposes only.

The above-mentioned firms and their employees are not affiliated with or employees of Schwab unless otherwise noted. They should not be construed as a recommendation, endorsement of, or sponsorship by Schwab. The views expressed are those of the third party and are provided for informational purposes only. Experiences expressed are no guarantee of future performance or success and may not be representative of you or your experience.

The RIA Talent Advantage® Program supports advisors with tools, resources, and networking opportunities to attract, develop, and retain diverse talent to serve investors.

Information included on this site is intended to be an overview and is subject to change. Experiences expressed by advisors may not be representative of the experience of other advisors and are not a guarantee of future success. Independent investment advisors are not owned by, affiliated with, or supervised by Schwab.