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What Wealth Managers Seek in New Hires

What are the traits upper-tier wealth managers look for in new hires? Richard Franchella, senior managing director at RBC Dain Rauscher in New York, has some definite ideas.

Richard Franchella, senior managing director at RBC Dain Rauscher in New York, oversees four offices in the metropolitan New York area, including the region's flagship office in midtown Manhattan. His 70-person staff includes 50 financial advisors. RBC Dain has a total of 1,650 financial consultants and 5,000 employees.

What kind of people get your attention?

Someone who has demonstrated a true pattern of success in previous roles. I look for people with high energy and something I don't know that there's any measurement for: It's personal effectiveness. Some people are just naturally, personally effective. In our business that, to me, is somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of the determinant of success. It doesn't mean you don't have to have good, raw intelligence and other skills, but personal effectiveness, connecting with an individual, that's one of the things I really look for.

How do you judge that? How do you spot that?

You spot it through the interaction between the two of you. When I interview someone - and it's a technique I learned a long time ago - I peel the onion.

I say almost nothing in an interview. For almost 40 minutes. Nothing! Even if it's uncomfortable at times. Because at that point, I can really measure the personal effectiveness, the honesty, etc., of a candidate.

I'm looking for patterns of success. Someone with seven jobs in nine years is not a pattern of success. Unless, I could truly understand as I listened that each move was well-thought-through, was truly a promotion and truly helped the person get to the next level.

So many times, all you have to do is ask and shut up. They'll say, "Well, on this one job there were three of us and one of us had to go. And it was me. You know, my luck. And then the second job, there were like ten of us, and five of us had to go, and yup. There I was again, wrong place, wrong time."

No. That doesn't happen to winners. I don't mean to say this person's a loser. But this isn't someone I could bring on board. You know, they're going to have to look for something else.

So, I look for pattern of success and I look for personal effectiveness. And you might say, "Gee, Rich, don't you look for business acumen and finance and all that?" Yeah, that's all kind of woven in there. But to be honest with you, depending on the role, we could teach almost anyone in this business, because it's pretty simple. We could teach almost anything to anyone. If they don't have the basic personal effectiveness skills, it doesn't matter. It does not matter.

How would you demonstrate your personal effectiveness during an interview? Post your comment below.

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AUTHORMark Feffer Insider Comment
  • Ta
    Tall
    27 April 2007

    I agree with Mr. Franchella's observations. Frequent job changes are not a good sign. I know, because I got myself in that rut. Fortunately, I have spent the last thirteen years doing the same thing, effectively.
    I used a similar technique when meeting with my institutional clients. The questions asked would be simple and short. "What can I do to make your life easier? Tell me your likes and dislikes." Then I would keep quiet, listen and take notes from the conversation. You can learn a great deal that way.

  • By
    Byron Verner
    24 April 2007

    To directly answer the question, I would ask direct questions to asertain exactly what reason I was in front of this person. With that knowledge I would involve them in conversation to effectively and efficeitly get to the nuts of the topics asking questions that would involve indirect answers. This would open the floor to rather more of a discussion. This is a very hard question to answer in words and hypotheticlly. I have a very instinctive way to effect every meaningful conversation I'm in. Otherwise I would be sitting there not saying anything for 40 minutes. Get it?

  • At
    Atsok
    18 April 2007

    I wouldn't talk to the recruiter because he is useless. All he would do is just reject me because that is his job... It isn't to hire people thats a wrong assumption. Always, Always go above their head and apply to the person you would be working with. Unless you do not want to work.

  • Jo
    Joe
    8 April 2007

    Mr. Franchella shows his poor understanding of the actual job market, internal politics within corporate groups, and many other factors. He should try to think on a case by case basis, as opposed to lumping everyone that has more than 2 or 3 jobs in a span of 9 years in the same basket of non-effectiveness. Perhaps, Mr. Franchella could focus more on his own strentghs (whatever those may be) and leave the personnel issues to others more competent....

  • Ju
    Justin Ratliff
    19 March 2007

    As a schoolteacher changing jobs, I would stress the 8 years I have under my belt communicating with people. As Mr. Rauscher said, he can teach anyone who's not an idiot the business, but neither he nor anyone else can teach someone how to connect personaly with people. I would be honest and tell him I don't know a whole lot about the industry, but I would connect with him through personal stories the reasons why I want to work in this industry and how the work I have been doing has allowed me to develop interpersonal skills necessary to be effective at this job. I have been taking 14 year olds and teaching them to work together and getting them to follow my lead. That takes trust - people, even teenagers, will only follow someone they understand and have a connection with, and the person who can connect with others is who you want to get working for you in this business.

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