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Sourcing and screening candidates

Sourcing and screening candidates

An effective sourcing and screening process is vital. Begin by considering a range of candidate profiles and then identify sources of potential candidates.

Designing the recruiting process to include a more diverse population of candidates from the start will increase the likelihood of expanding diversity in your firm.

To find the right talent for your firm:

Keep the job description top of mind as you consider the ideal profile of your next hire. Focus on the complete person, not just his or her technical skills.
Here are some candidate profiles to consider as you begin sourcing potential candidates.

  • Financial service professionals
    Focusing on candidates with financial services experience can shorten the recruitment process. Wirehouse advisors, employees from other RIA firms, and candidates from other financial service areas may have greater awareness of what it means to be an RIA.
  • Adjacent professions
    Nearly 40% of advisors under age 40 considered joining a banking, accounting, or insurance firm before joining their current RIA firm.2 Post your description on sites that recruit for these professionals. Note: Female employees at RIA firms typically take a different career path than their male counterparts and are more likely to have worked in operations, education, technology, HR, or marketing.2
  • Career changers and reentrants
    People looking to restart or change their careers may have a higher level of maturity and more life experience and relevant skills than you may find in recent graduates. In addition, they may join your firm with a referral list of colleagues, clients, and connections.
  • Recent graduates
    Hiring newly minted MBAs or graduates from undergraduate business programs allows you to train them in your firm's culture at the beginning of their careers. In turn, recent graduates are often eager to learn and grow and can offer fresh perspectives.
  • Late-career intern discovers passion for financial planning
    Learn how Yeske Buie offered a re-internship to a career re-entrant that resulted in a very successful permanent hire.

Reach out to employees, clients, and other professional contacts for candidate referrals.

  • Look for talent within your own firm. 
  • Contact professional and educational associations and organizations. 
  • Access job opportunity websites, including niche websites. 
  • Connect with students at local universities and colleges (e.g., attend job fairs, visit career centers, and reach out to professors).
  • Connect with universities with academic tracks for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation. 
  • Consider offering "returnships," or internships for midcareer professionals.

Start the process by requesting the same information from each candidate, typically a cover letter, résumé, and salary expectations.

  • Scan résumés for basic qualifications.
  • Focus on specific hiring criteria (e.g., strong customer service skills or supervisory experience).
  • Consider conducting a 15–30-minute phone interview to get a sense of whether the candidate is a potential fit. Raise any concerns you noted from their résumé, such as an employment gap.
  • Design an unbiased screening process
  • To mitigate any potential unconscious bias that may be present in your firm, design an unbiased screening process by:

Determine which candidates will move forward in the hiring process.

  • For candidates under consideration:
    • Share notes with your recruitment team.
    • Set a deadline for feedback from the recruitment team.
    • Contact candidates to arrange the next round of interviews.
  • For declined candidates:
    • Decline via phone or email.
    • Save contact information for strong candidates who may be right for future openings.

The Schwab RIA Intern Program is a great way for students to launch their financial-planning careers.1

Schwab RIA intern



1. Schwab RIA Intern Program interview, July 2015. 

2. Schwab's RIA Talent Study, conducted for Schwab Advisor Services by Koski Research, September 2014.  

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