The obvious answers in these high profile examples are "no," but let's draw a comparison to a top financial advisor who is contemplating moving himself and his sizable book of business to a new firm. Should this super star advisor use a recruiter to represent his interests? Does he need to? After all, he is on the radar of every manager in town and he has friends working at any firm he might consider moving to.
The question of whether or not a recruiter is needed in cases like this is fair, and one that I hear on a regular basis.
NOT YOUR FATHER'S RECRUITER
Today's top recruiters are no longer transactional, job order driven used car salesmen trying to sell you on the deal of the day. Recruiters who earn the trust of quality advisors are consultative professionals who “seek first to understand, then be understood” as Stephen Covey writes in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He or she takes all of the goals, frustrations, and unique information about each individual advisor's business mix and model and uses that to determine a customized set of potential opportunities that could meet the needs of that advisor. This recruiter is a student of the industry, knows it inside and out, can objectify the pros and cons of any firm or model, and can help the advisor to determine how each solution might move the needle for him. A good recruiter says "You shouldn't even think about leaving your firm unless you are able to find a solution that is much more than marginally better than where you are now," thus making it comfortable for the advisor to choose to stay put if he doesn't find an opportunity that fits the bill.
With some obvious bias, following are the 10 best reasons for top advisors to use a recruiter:
- To streamline a dizzying due diligence process: Your job as an advisor is to manage your clients' money and to nurture those relationships. The most complex due diligence process can be a full time job and a good recruiter functions as the quarterback so you don’t have to.
- To know the entire industry landscape: Sometimes the best options are not the obvious ones. The landscape has evolved considerably and top advisors want to know ALL of their options including what it means to be independent, for example, even if they have no intention of heading in that direction.
- To gain completely objective information about the pros and cons of each option: The best recruiters are those who work across the entire landscape and can present opportunities with only the advisor’s best interest in mind.
- To negotiate the best deal: Skilled recruiters know what can and can’t be negotiated for. Their ability to ask for things you may not have thought of, allowing you to remain at arm’s length, can be a tremendous benefit and work to your advantage.
- To act as agent advocating for the best interests of the advisor: Good recruiters know everything about an advisor’s business, personal and professional goals for the future, and how to best to bring them to life by identifying appropriate solutions.
- To provide spreadsheets, matrices, and other tools: With an overwhelming number of options to consider and needs to be met, it’s critical to have access to the best resources to help you compare and contrast them.
- To protect your confidentiality: Many advisors don’t want to reveal their identities early on in the due diligence process and recruiters can help gather information on their behalf. As advisors move through the due diligence process, allowing a recruiter to maintain the bulk of your connection to another firm ensures your confidentiality.
- To ask the right questions: Advisors know their business, and recruiters know theirs; we know the questions that need to be asked in the due diligence process so that there are no surprises in the end.
- To be educated on relevant industry trends: Whether an advisor chooses to move or not, a recruiter is a wealth of cutting edge, industry knowledge.
- To receive a purely value add experience: Working with a recruiter is a purely upside proposition. Advisors access a recruiter’s best thinking, time and effort at NO COST – whether or not the advisor decides to make a move. If they do, there is no negative financial impact on their deal.