Eddy Ricci is a Founding Partner of The Pontem Group, a consulting firm and Lead-Advisor, a wealth management collective specializing in talent acquisition and leadership development. With more than 15 years in the industry, Eddy’s niche and expertise have evolved into delivering insights, leveraging time, and offering a creative perspective to wealth management firms and practices to guide them through the process of acquiring and developing talent. In addition to helping companies build their teams, Eddy also wrote The Growth Game, a professional development book, and Miss Money Plan, a book that educates children on financial literacy.
Eddy joins me today to discuss how financial advisors can build their team. He shares his advice for evaluating appropriate candidates for the growth of a firm or practice. He explains why financial advisors should engage their existing team members in the pre-hiring and interview process and highlights the importance of testing candidates. He also underscores the value of understanding your organizational culture before recruiting a candidate and shares his favorite go-to questions that reveal a candidate’s aspirations and ideals.
“Financial advisors don’t spend enough time on talent acquisition. But there’s going to be a point when talent acquisition becomes as important as client acquisition.” – Eddy Ricci, CFP ®
This week on The Model FA Podcast:
● Getting the entrepreneurial itch and launching a business during a global pandemic
● How Eddy built the confidence to take the leap and start his company
● The right time for a financial advisor to consider hiring additional staff
● The selection and recruitment process
● Why financial advisors should engage their current team members in the pre-hiring process
● Questions financial advisors need to ask their team to get their buy-in
● Energy audit and creating a phantom organizational chart
● Prospecting methods to find talent for financial advisors
● Hiring for attitude and identifying non-negotiable skills
● Why compensation should be stated in a role description
● The importance of giving candidates assessments before deciding to hire them
● Setting a meet-and-greet interview between a candidate and current team members
● Eddy’s favorite go-to questions for job interviews and the two most important things candidates look for in an opportunity
● Candidate red flags to watch out for when interviewing
● Tips when hiring for remote-working roles
● Scott Galloway’s disruption equation and how industries become disrupted amidst crises like a pandemic
● Book: Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by Scott Galloway
● Book: Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice by Alan Weiss
● Book: The Ensemble Practice: A Team-Based Approach to Building a Superior Wealth Management Firm by Philip Palaveev
Our Favorite Quotes:
● “Identify your culture — whether it’s within your business or with clients — or the culture you aspire toward.” – David DeCelle
● “All these should be done before you’ve interviewed somebody: engaging with your current team, coming up with a role description, and creating an onboarding plan.” – Eddy Ricci, CFP ®
● “Have a well-defined onboarding process for your clients, and they’ll continue to look for and notice amazing things.” – David DeCelle
Connect with Eddy Ricci:
● Email: [email protected]
● Email: [email protected]
● Book: The Growth Game: A Millennial’s Guide to Professional Development and the DAD System
● Book: Miss Money Plan: Part One: The Battle Against E-Motion
About the Model FA Podcast
The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams.
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Eddy Ricci 00:07
What I find is most advisors don't have a process, so that's where I think I can help. But I'll kind of go through the things that advisors should be thinking about when they're about to make a hire. And I think the first step is to make sure you engage your current team members. I've seen selection processes, and then the onboarding of new talent, just get disrupted and not go well, and I think a lot of that could have been prevented if you engaged with your team in the pre-hiring process.
David DeCelle 00:39
Welcome Model FAs. I am very excited about our guest today. And I know I say that almost every episode, but we've had some great guests on the show. But this person in particular is a very good friend of mine, and, actually, one of the first people that I met when I got into the industry. So Eddy Ricci, he was at the firm that I was at previous when I was an advisor, and he ran the regional training for that company. And we just really took a liking to one another. He was super impactful on my career. And we've been fortunate enough to maintain our relationship and actually pleased to say that we've known each other for a decade, which is wild to think about, Eddy. But more of a formal introduction. So now Eddy is a founding partner of The Pontem Group, which is a consulting and active search firm. And he's also a founder of The Growth Game LLC, which is a professional development company. His niche has been giving insights, time leverage, and creative perspective to wealth management firms and practices when it comes to acquiring talent to build their teams. So we're going to be spending quite some time today talking about building out your team, how to hire the appropriate people, what sorts of questions to ask, what sort of traits to look like, tools to use, things like that. He has been in the industry for over 15 years. He does have his CFP designation, and has had his hand in firm management for a number of those years as well. He also wrote a great book called The Growth Game, A Millennial’s Guide to Professional Development, Miss Money Plan and The Battle Against E-motion, which is all about providing financial literacy for kids. And I think it's a great way to advance a relationship with a client of yours for a twofold. One is helping your clients to empower their kids as it relates to great money principles, as well as planting the seed for generational wealth and starts to build a relationship with that next generation well in advance. He's also been quoted in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fox Business News, and TheStreet.com. So Edie, I'm grateful for your time, I'm grateful for the impact that you've had on me throughout my career, our friendship, and excited to have you on the show.
Eddy Ricci 02:57
David, thanks so much for having me on. Always excited to spend time with you, but especially in this environment, and listening to the podcast. So first, I think you've been doing an amazing job. But seems that a lot of people, you've never actually met them in the real world, or they've all been new relationships. So I'm really happy that we kept a friendship for a decade now and so impressed with what you've built. So thanks for having me on.
David DeCelle 03:20
I appreciate that. Let's talk a little bit about your story. So I vividly remember coming out to New York City a couple years ago or so now. And you started to get that, because you had been with the same firm for quite some time, and you were starting to really get that entrepreneurial itch, I should say. So starting to get that entrepreneurial itch, and I remember going out to dinner with you after presenting to your firm, when I first got started. You're actually, I think, my first or one of the first speaking gigs I ever had. So thank you for that. Yeah, and we went out to dinner afterwards, you let me know kind of the vision for what you wanted to create. And you also at that time, if I'm not mistaken, had an opportunity with a FinTech company; you also had an opportunity to run an entire office on your own in the financial planning space; and you didn't take that bait, as you put it, and you ended up having your best year ever from an income standpoint. You actually overshot your goal of income by about a thousand bucks, if I remember our conversation correctly. And all of this happened, basically, right when COVID all started. You were in the epicenter of that in New York City. So tell me a little bit about that journey, starting a business with a nonworking spouse, two kids, epicenter of COVID, not knowing what's going on, and yet you still had your best year ever. So I'm sure that there's some good nuggets within that story. So if you can kind of expand on that to start, I'd appreciate it.
Eddy Ricci 04:53
Yeah, sure. So let's first go back to that entrepreneurial itch that you said. I think throughout my career, I've always had the itch, and I'd always satisfy the itch through projects. Maybe it was a side hustle, maybe it was learning a different industry. But at the end of the day, I always felt as though I'd look back and regret if I didn't fully pull the trigger and start a full-time business, let's call it, for myself. And what made it really hard, David, is I loved the people I worked with, I loved my past careers, I was 95% happy in what I was doing in the wealth management space and building firms and being in development and working with the people — my mentor at the time, dear friend, and still is a great friend. So it was so much anxiety, I think, for me to say, is this selfish of me? We lived a great life, I was 95% happy, and am I really going to take that risk, to see what that extra 5% is? And so, at the end of the day, I think it was a combination of a few things that led me to that. One is just that, when I'm 65, thirty years from now, would I look back and regret? Second, I was a project-preneur, I don't know if that's really a term. Full time employee, but always doing these side projects. And at the end of the day, I'm like, you're never going to make real traction with any project or any side business unless you pull the cord. And then, didn't know if I wanted to play the management and leadership guessing game, I think it's an amazing opportunity for most people. And between all three of those kind of ideas coming together, it was like, I'm going to start my own business, it's going to be in consulting, I know that's very general. And then also in talent acquisition, because I loved attracting people to the business in that fashion. So made the jump and this wasn't a, hey, I'm on a nail here and I need to make a move now. And I had so much respect for the former organization that I said, Hey, I think this is what I want to do. I'm not leaving to go to a competitor, I'm not leaving tomorrow, I can give a year here. And that would put me in the best position, I think it put my former firm in the best position, to build a plan and do this thing the right way. So it was kind of full transparency with my mentor and the person had so much respect for, and then launching. And so, pulled the cord, really officially it was January 1 of 2020. We were living in New York City. And you know, you prepare for everything, right? You try to when you start a business, and you know there's going to be some uncertainty. But what wasn't on my business plan is a global pandemic, and being at the epicenter eight weeks into a startup business. So I'll never forget the month of March. And I just think it makes for a cool story now, coming out on the other side, but I can go into more detail on that. But that's kind of the story from entrepreneurial age to launching a business.
David DeCelle 07:50
So I say this first comment tongue in cheek, but aside from our dinner that we had, what other steps did you take to really build the confidence to ultimately take that leap? Because, as I mentioned in introducing you, you have a nonworking spouse who's head of household, taking care of two kids, you're making good money in your prior career. There's a lot of predictability with that —stability, I should say too. In our conversations, there was a mixture of excitement and self-doubt, and confidence and imposter syndrome, and just the typical conundrum that people find themselves in, when they take a chance on themselves. So what were some of the things that either occurred or that you did, or conversations that you had, that ultimately helped build your confidence to a point to where you decided to ultimately take that leap of faith?
Eddy Ricci 08:46
Yeah, I think it was a real conversation with myself. And the first thing is, I think that one of my worst traits, as a leader or a professional, is I don't make decisions super-fast. And I'm working on that. And so I think it was just this sick of this anxiety of indecision. And probably the second most important thing in my life right after my family, it's my career, and I love to work right. And so it was just getting over this uncertainty was number one. Two was being up front with my current employer and what I wanted to do; I think that was important. Three, setting expectations with my wife, and saying, like, Hey, here's the plan. Outwork everybody, I think I'm somewhat creative and treat people well, but at the end of the day, I don't know, so like, we're not going to buy a house for two years. Here's all the things that are going to happen, and she, God bless my wife that she deals with me but she's just so, I guess has belief in me, what is really important, it meant a lot. And sometimes so much so that like, you make the decision. Where do you want to live? Do you want to continue to live in New York City? Do you want to go back to New England? What do you want to do? But having the right expectations with her and her buy-in, I think was very important. And then there's the financial space, and especially as a financial planner, and being in the industry, shame on me if I don't properly financially prepared to make the job. And so, you go to these doomsday scenarios, it's like, hey, if I don't get one client for X amount of years, can I still keep my lifestyle? And then, when are we taking loans out from the IRAs? And so you put yourself in that scenario and say, all right, well, I have a little bit of runway here, which is helpful. But that runway quickly can go away when March of 2020 can hit too. So that's part of the anxiety. But at the end of the day, I think it was just this, try it and your work ethic, your skills aren't going to disappear. And you'll have more experience under your belt, if for some reason, it didn't work out. And so far, it's been going really good and happy I made the move. So sometimes you have to make the jump. And the business isn't exactly the same as I planned. But sometimes you have to do it.
David DeCelle 10:56
What I’m hearing is, and you are, from my experience, slow to make decisions — but not in a way that necessarily is going to hold you back, but in a way that's going to make whatever that decision is moving forward, more predictable. So you are big into planning, you are big into setting expectations with the appropriate parties, whether it be business partners, family members, etc. And once you have that plan, it's just a matter of executing that plan. And I would also go as far as to say, just based on your experience at the prior firm, and the relationships that you built, where I would imagine, worst case scenario, you could have gone back, and they probably would have brought you back. And even if that wasn't the case, with your designation of CFP, with the connections that you have in the industry, you could always go back and get a job. So it's like, what is the risk really? Is it embarrassment of going back and doing that? Is it a couple months or a couple of years of a change in income, which didn't happen, thankfully, with you? So at the end of the day, the risk is just your ability to go out and execute, because you planned, you set expectations, the failsafe financially and prepping for this, as well as a failsafe in, again, you could always go back and get the job ultimately,
Eddy Ricci 12:21
Yeah, that's exactly right. And at the height of the pandemic, I was so blessed to have some people reach and say, Hey, I know, you just started a business eight weeks ago. We're doing okay, do you want to do you want to come back or run this or do that? And it may be tempting, but so happy that we didn't kind of take the bait, and we stayed the course.
David DeCelle 12:43
Love it. So let's transition a little bit to your area of expertise, which I guess I'll summarize it with, you help advisors staff up with talented people. And I think oftentimes, when people think of recruiters in our industry, they think of recruiting folks who already have a book of business. And I know that you do that as well, but a lot of your focus is on helping advisors build out their human capital and infrastructure within their business and making sure that those folks are talented, making sure that you are doing a good job bringing them through various steps in the process before the advisor even meets them. So I find in some of the folks that I work with specifically, they're using services, like Indeed, or LinkedIn job postings, or posting to their natural market. And I think some of that stuff can be effective to a certain extent, but you're also looking for a diamond in the rough, and you're looking to spend a considerable amount of your time on going through that funnel, so to speak, of all the candidates and resumes all the way to that hopefully perfect person. So with that being said, I guess my first question would be, when should an advisor start to think about hiring staff? So let's say, I’m solo advisor, I built up a decent book of business, is it a revenue number that they should hit before they think about hiring? Is it an AUM? Is it years in the business? Is it an amount of clients? When you speak with advisors, what do you find is the stage of their business where it starts to make sense to build out an actual team?
Eddy Ricci 14:22
I think as anything, right, it does depend, but I think it's this — when you know you’re not at your highest best use, and when you're doing the activities that you know you can outsource to somebody else, and oftentimes it's going to be that administrative work. And so I'm sure most people on most of the audience in the advising profession has read the book, The Ensemble Practice, but I would read that book because there's a whole chapter on answering that question and it's all about time leverage. So first, you need to understand what your hourly rate is, and do an exercise there; and then you need to figure out okay, what are the activities that I shouldn't be doing and then it's just leverage. So it depends on the model, it depends on what the person wants out of their business. But at the end of the day, it can be more of this kind of gut reaction to Hey, why am I making marketing lists on Sunday? Why am I doing data input for financial plans on Saturday? This is just not my highest best use.
David DeCelle 15:20
So it comes down to, as we mentioned, kind of in your bio, the time leverage component.
How do you find advisors tend to bring someone through a particular process? So let's say they're doing this on their own, maybe it happened to work, maybe it didn't work, but then ultimately, they tag you in for either that hire because it wasn't working, or additional hires, because they realized it was a lot of work. Help me understand what a selection process should look like, from the actual posting, or the hiring of someone like you — how many steps are there, and what are you trying to find out during those steps?
Eddy Ricci 16:00
What I find is, most advisors don't have a process. So that's where I think I can help. But I'll kind of go through the things that advisors should be thinking about when they're about to make a hire. And I think the first step is to make sure you engage your current team members. I've seen selection processes, and then the onboarding of new talent just get disrupted and not go well, and I think a lot of that could have been prevented if you engaged with your team in the pre hiring process. So I think a lot of this is built beforehand. So engage with your current team members, even if it's just one person. You want to fact find them and get their buy-in on the hire; because even the most loyal employee, especially in a small practice — maybe not if you're at a large wire house, and there's more of a structure there and people are hiring for you. But if you're in an independent practice, and you're the business owner, and you have a small team, usually that practice is pretty lean. And so the first thing I do is I'd have a team meeting if you think you're going to make an additional hire. Fact find and get the buy-in from the other team members: Here's what I'm thinking; how can an additional hire make you even better at what you do? And then revenue will grow, everybody wins, and we build this out. And I think if we skip that process, it could lead to some trouble either in selection or with team culture, once somebody is there. So how are you fact-finding and engaging the team, is number one.
On that point, if I may interject, are there particular questions that should be — so you alluded to one, which is, hey, if we were to hire someone, basically, what are some of the things that we would want them to do? What are some of the other questions that you would weave into that process?
Yeah, sure. I mean, what's the team missing? I would ask your employees, just in three words, to describe the current culture. And you might learn a lot from that, like, Hey, I thought our culture was this, but the team is saying this about the culture. And that can just help with the hire. I think it's going back to if you did vision statements with your team, I know they've become cliche, but going through vision statement with your team, and so that they can see, hey, here's what this other person fits. And then I'd also come up with — I know you're a Patriot fan, I'm a Patriot fan.
David DeCelle 18:12
I'm also a Bucs fan now being in Florida and Brady coming down here, so little shout out to the bucks.
Eddy Ricci 18:20
There you go. And so I think there's like this Bill Belecheck, do your job, kind of exercise you can go through with like, Hey, here's your responsibilities now. If we onboard somebody else, how would that relieve you of some of these responsibilities so you can grow. And so I think that's really, again, I think those are the questions you want to be asking to get buy-in. But you might also learn a little bit more about what your people are doing every day, what they love doing, what they're energized doing, what they don't love doing, and then hire around that. And so that's kind of what I do. And then the second thing —
David DeCelle 18:52
So before we get to that second thing I do also want to mention, let's say you're an advisor, and it's just you at this point. So you don't have the ability to have that team meeting, I think it would still be valuable to really do three things, but with yourself as opposed to your team. So one is you mentioned, try and identify either what your culture is, and that culture can just be between you and your clients or it can be the culture that you're aspiring for or towards; and also to the point of vision statement, what is it that you're building, that's an exercise that you can certainly do on your own. Now, since you don't have team members to ask, Hey, what can we be hiring for, one tool that we use which isn't proprietary to us, it's called an energy audit that anyone can do. But if you want our template, just shoot me an email with a subject line that says energy audit and my email is [email protected], and there's basically four different quadrants. It's what do I love doing and what am I great at, what do I like doing and what am I good at, what do I don't like doing but I'm still good at, and what do I don't like doing but I'm not good at. And basically figuring out in the three quadrants that basically every quadrant except for I love doing this and I'm great at it, I'm looking to hire for those positions. And maybe potentially, that's an exercise that your team should go through, as well. So I just wanted to hit on that before going to step two, for anyone who's listening who has yet to hire staff.
Eddy Ricci 20:19
Yeah, I think that's great. And then a great exercise that you could do from the beginning is like, what's the future org chart, and the phantom org chart of the positions of what you think it looks like and what the team looks like, one year from now, three years, five years. We know it's not going to actually be exactly that in the future, but can just help you visualize, and then share that way with future team members. And then as part of that pre-hiring process, David, the other thing after you engage in the team, if you do have a team, I think you've then got to figure out, obviously a role description. But inside of that role description is like, describe what this person’s role is in like one sentence. What do they actually do for the business, if you could only speak about it in one sentence, and what are the responsibilities? I think the more detailed here you can be, the greater the hire is going to have of understanding what they need to do and is this the right role? So that's responsibilities is one of the Rs. The third R is results, like what are the results that we need from this person and in the practice. And then four is remuneration, what are we going to pay them? So I think working through that is important. And then the final piece before you go to market to hire somebody is coming up with the onboarding and training plan. And it doesn't have to be a manifesto, but some type of two-page, three-page, milestone, timeline, benchmark of how you're going to onboard and train this person. And you do that before, okay, before you actually start interviewing. And the reason why is you want to integrate with the team, like who's got what when this person comes on board? Two is, if you're an independent advisor, chances are you don't have a training program or an onboarding document, so you’ve got to make that. And then third, when you are interviewing somebody, it's going to show that you have your stuff together. If you can say in an interview, hey, if you come on board, by month one, here's what you're going to learn, month two, here's who's going to teach you that. And so I think that's important. So all this should be done before you even interview somebody. Engage with the team, come up with the role description, and then the onboarding plan ahead of time.
David DeCelle 22:25
And when you think about, I'm so glad that you hit on that, because I probably wouldn't have identified that as part of the process myself, like off the cuff. But when you say that, it makes so much sense where, hopefully, anyways, your client onboarding process is well defined. Because you kind of have that anchoring effect on the front end of any relationship, where if that's an amazing experience, they're going to then continue to look for and notice amazing things. If they have a negative experience at the beginning, and they come in and you don't welcome them properly — I mean, even little things like give them some company branded swag to make them feel good on day one. Take them out to lunch. But if they just come in, and they're just kind of sitting there waiting to be told what to do, immediately, they have a bad taste in their mouth, and then their reticular activating system kicks in, the brains filter, and they filter out all the good stuff. And they start only looking, unconsciously, for the bad stuff, and it's just a bad experience. So I'm very glad that you brought that up. So let's say for example, whether it's, through you and some of the services that you provide, or they're doing it on their own, once they actually get a candidate who is interested, what does that process look like from there? Is it two steps? Is it ten steps? What are they talk about?
Eddy Ricci 23:50
Again, I think it depends on the practice. I think it depends on the role, the market, the level of position, all of that. So that disclaimer right aside, I think that advisors, either they go almost too fast, or they go too slow. And so I think there's this blend of being fast but thorough. And so your selection process for your team needs to be quick, right? But very thorough for most roles. Okay. And so I would think about what that process looks like. First, you got to figure out, and let's look at kind of the sales process for an advisor. First thing is how am I prospecting to find talent? Is it job boards? And you mentioned some of them. Is it asking my clients? Is asking other people in the network or the current team members? Am I going to hire a recruiting service to take all that sifting of resumes and finding people away? Ultimate time leverage. Hopefully, that didn't come across as too much of a plug there.
David DeCelle 24:49
No, you're good.
Eddy Ricci 24:51
So how are we going to first find the people, and then what is that selection process? And so I think, they say, hire for attitude and then you can just teach skills. Yes and No. I think attitude is very, very important. But specifically in a lean practice for a financial advisor, I think some of this, you have to define what those non-negotiable skills are or licenses ahead of time, and not compromise really on those because there's so much time lag in training somebody. There's going to be that j-curve in production; you need to get it right. So what are the non-negotiables from a skill standpoint or license standpoint? And in the interview process, I think that first interview should be more or less figuring out can I work with this person? Is their attitude right? How do I think that they would fit with the team? Do I like this person, provided that their resume is stating certain licenses experience and skills? And before they get to you, I would send that role description to them, so they have a good understanding of two things. One, the responsibilities and what the role is. And then second, compensation. I think a lot of people hide that until the end, and I think you could waste a lot of time. So just be real. Give a range to Hey, we're gonna hire this person. Here's the qualifications, here's the role, and we're gonna pay them somewhere between x and y, depending on experience.
David DeCelle 26:16
And are you making them aware of that number, or are you asking what their number is in advance? Is that kind of an important consideration to figure out how to deliver that information? Or gather that information?
Eddy Ricci 26:25
Yeah, I think it should be on the role description. So if somebody's actively applying to a role online, then they should see it and already have and understanding of it. But if it's from a referral, or from your personal network, I would send the role description with the actual range ahead of time, if that makes sense. And then I think some advisors like to use assessments, whether it's for attention to detail, whether it's for math, grammar, Excel; I think those can help you make a more objective hire. But I think where the rubber really meets the road, and I don't see a lot of advisors doing this, but actually give them an assignment, maybe in between that first interview, and then the next interview. And that assignment should be whatever the key job function is that you're hiring them for. So for example, if it's an administrative assistant or CSA, client service advisor, anything like that, it could just be have them write an email, and send it to you based on three different fictitious client scenarios. So then you can see how they interact, maybe written form. How they would handle certain client situation. If it's a director of investments, or somebody that's going to be doing portfolio management for you, give them a chance to do a takeover proposal. Take the clients names off and say, Hey, here's a portfolio that we're looking to acquire, what do you see as the deficiencies? Or what would you recommend this client to do? And give them two to three days to do that and send it, so you can actually see their work before the hire. I think that's fair game; and I think you are trusting the resume, but also verifying the skill set. And that way you see how much training they're actually going to need and how they think before you hire them.
David DeCelle 28:10
I think back to the prior firm, where they wanted to make sure that we knew how to conduct a meeting and get referrals and things like that. And that was part of the interview process was to go out and meet with people and get referrals and kind of see what you had. And I actually never, this is an aha moment for me, in this moment, which is I never thought about doing that with a staff person. Even as simple as, can they write an email. I think most people would be shocked when they realize how difficult or unprofessional a lot of these emails are. And just kind of save you the rest of the process and the getting to know you, when they send you something that may be sloppy, or it really can help put them up higher, if you're like, Whoa, that's super professional, yet still friendly, and light, then it kind of has that nice mix of two. So I like that a lot. So let's assume that they do that assignment, whatever it may be, and it goes well — next step?
Eddy Ricci 29:10
And so then I think it depends on how large your team is. But oftentimes an advisor is running the show, from an interview standpoint, even though their team members are the ones that are going to be spending 80% of the time with this person. So I think if the assignment comes back, then I think it's a meet and greet type of interview with other team members that they're going to be interacting with, again, to get their buy-in. And if you set the stage properly in the pre-hiring process, with your team, there shouldn't be too many questions asked and it should be more, how do we see if we want to work with this person and get them on the team so that we can go to our highest best use. So I think team interaction, I think, is important, but could be deadly if you didn't set the stage, proper amount of time. And then from there, I think a lot of it is if the team has buy-in, then I think It's a third and kind of final interview, in most cases, to review the role description again, ask any follow up questions on the assignment. And before you have that final meeting, have the candidate pre-send you all the questions that they need to have answered, to make an informed decision about joining your culture. Now you have it ahead of time, you're prepared, and now the candidate can have everything answered in that final interview. So it shouldn't take a long time for them to make a decision if you do ultimately make an offer. So that's what I would say is the standard process. I can get into some interview questions or some kind of out there ideas that I've used, or I've seen done, that I think could also help the process as well.
Patrick Brewer 30:42
Hey Model FAs. I know you're enjoying this conversation, but I wanted to take a quick break to talk to you about the Model FA Accelerator. This is a unique collaboration between us and you, where we help you build a financial advising practice that you can be proud of, we focus on the foundational concepts around how to pick a niche or a specialization, how to price your services, how to construct an offer that people are going to buy, and then how to market it and sell it in a way that'll get people to sign on the dotted line and become clients of your firm, all while giving you the information to scale, and set up workflows and operational processes that will allow you to reclaim your time and build a practice that doesn't run you. So if you'd like to hear more about that, go to www.ModelFA.com/accelerator or www. ModelFA.com. Hover over Work With Us and click on Accelerator. Hope to see in the program.
David DeCelle 31:33
So let's go back to the stage of the process where they're meeting the team. Are they doing so in more of a casual manner, maybe breaking some bread together, so to speak, and just trying to figure out if they enjoy one another? Are they going in with like pinpointed questions to highlight their expertise or things like that? How is that handled? And I asked because I would imagine that not everyone on the team has experience being the interviewer. So how does that play out?
Eddy Ricci 32:06
Yeah, it would be in real, even the advisor as the key interviewer doesn’t have a lot of experience being the interviewer. So nobody on the team might have great experience with doing it unless you have really high turnover, and you're hiring people every month, which is a problem in itself. So yeah, I mean, I think it depends on the style of your culture, too. But I think it's a blend of both. I think it's one, somewhat casual to get to know the person, but it's still an opportunity, because every minute is valuable, to follow up maybe on the assignment, or how would you handle this? Or tell us about that? So I think it's this blend of, can we see ourselves working with this person, but we're also spot checking any blind spots throughout the process. So I think it's both, David.
David DeCelle 32:49
Cool. So I guess to get a little bit more specific with the process as a whole. Are there go-to favorite interview questions that you kind of have in in your repository, during your stage of the process, or any other questions that you make sure that the advisor is asking in a very thoughtful and methodical, intentional way?
Eddy Ricci 33:10
Sure. So we can go over some of those. First one is very basic, but I don't think many people ask it, and it's, what's going to be most important to you in the next opportunity? And then just listen. First, it makes it about the other person. And second, they're gonna tell you what's most important, and any guesses of what the two most common things are that come up?
David DeCelle 33:32
I would say culture as one and opportunity to grow as two.
Eddy Ricci 33:39
I don't know if I put that in any interaction before, but that spot on.
Spot on man, expert in coaching others. And that's exactly right. It's almost funny, because that's the first question I ask. It's, hey, what's prompting the change right now? And then secondly, what's going to be most important to you and the next opportunity? And it's always growth and culture; growth and culture. Culture is really important to me, I really want to be part of a great culture — and growth; I'm very growth minded, and growth is important. And so, you know you're going to get those questions. So again, we gotta take a layer off here. Growth means different things to different people; specifically, what does that mean to you? And how would you describe a culture that you would thrive in? You got to have the backup questions. And then if you pulled and you did an inventory on your current team, or by yourself, if you're a team of one of what you want the culture to become, and you have that down in three words, I would share that with them. Hey, I just went through a team exercise and what they shared with me, and how they describe the culture in three words is boom, boom, and boom. And now other employers probably didn't have that exercise ahead of time. And like, wow, culture is important to me. They actually define their culture, and then growth, same thing. So if you have that training and development track say, listen, like you're gonna be growth to our employees is very important. And you can even meet some other team members to hear about their journey throughout our process. In the first three months, six months, here's what we're focused on. Because they want to learn new skills, tell me about training, that all kind of gets lumped into growth. So if you have your onboarding and training process already built, you can share that as well. And so what is going to be most important to you, it's always going to be growth in culture. How are you going to respond to that? Because they're interviewing you too, and even at a pandemic, in the financial services space and wealth management space, you still need to be great at attracting talent. It's not this pool out there, because it’s very specific with licenses and experience. There's not this — that you're always in control. They're scouting you out, as you already know. Second question, I think is good is, David, I know we're gonna go fantasy world here a little bit; but if you could have completely customized role that's absolutely perfect for you, right now, we know that doesn't exist, but describe the absolute perfect role for you customized right now, for your career stage — and then listen to what they're going to be doing. And if they're sharing that, you want to see how far off are we, if we’re being honest with ourselves, of what they want, and what they feel as though they're energized to do and what this role really is. So I think that's a key one. And then finally, if you had a magic wand, and could change anything about your current position, or even the wealth management industry, what would you change? And just get their thinking, and that will — you're kind of getting five years, ten years, fifteen years of experience, however long they've been in the business, and they're going to spill out kind of what they're not too thrilled with.
David DeCelle 36:37
Are there any, I guess, particular red flags to look out for? So as an example, anytime I've interviewed someone in the past, I was always, like, shocked when they did not send some sort of follow up email or acknowledgement of time spent — not from coming from a place of ego, but coming from a place of, that's just the professional thing to do. Otherwise, you run the risk of just being forgotten about. It's an extra touch point that's easy to keep yourself top of mind. So, to me, that's a red flag to look out for, where if they're not following up with me, whom they're looking to get a job from, can I trust that they're gonna, assuming an administrative role, are they gonna follow up with the client when they're supposed to? So that's an example of a red flag specifically that I've experienced as I've hired folks. What are some other red flags that advisors need to look out for throughout the selection process? Yeah,
Eddy Ricci 37:31
I think one is what you just said. Will they follow up? Two is if you give them an assessment or assignment, give them the deadline, it seems so basic, I also want to see if they beat the deadline. Not just make it in on time, but, how proactive are they? Are they going to get things done in a timely fashion? So making sure, one, that they do follow through, but the speed in which they do it, as long as the quality of work is there, I think is important. If you're looking at a resume, maybe even before you invite somebody in for an interview, and we always what we call it at our firm is, is this person too hoppy, or too jumpy, and I think that's a red flag. And so in the interview, you really need to dig in, if they have the qualifications, and you like them; however, they've had like three or four different positions in the last five years, I dig into that. Obviously, broker check, you should do that before you even interview them, just to see if there any disclosures, anything like that. So really, it's just about saying, doing what you say you're going to do, and doing it in a timely fashion, is what I’d look out for and in the selection process.
David DeCelle 38:36
What are you finding? So last question before we pivot slightly to one of the books that you had mentioned that you've read recently, that was pretty impactful for you. What are you noticing within the industry as it relates to firms being open to remote-style work, compared to in the office? So I imagine just given the current circumstances, depending on what state someone is, maybe they're in the office, or maybe they're starting remote with the expectation of getting back into the office when they're able to, and then maybe there's firms where they're hiring people that are out of state where they never plan to have in. What are you noticing as industry trends given the current environment?
Eddy Ricci 39:22
I think, and that's a question that we’ll always get too — like, what's the tolerance for remote work — from the candidates. I don't know if that's really going to be viewed as a perk anymore. I think it's going to be the standard. However, I do think what I've noticed so far in the past year, is when I ask an advisor, who's always had the office, and has always had employees come in five days a week, and now they've had their employees still be productive working from home, they tend to say, yeah, yeah, I'm open. I'm open to remote work. You know, we've been doing that for a while, right? And so that's what they say. But then when it ultimately comes down to it, a lot of them are like, I don't know, like chickening out at the last minute. And it's like, this just happened earlier this week, a great candidate and lived probably two and a half hours away, but the same state and everything was good. They're like, yep, if it's a great candidate, and they have the qualifications, and we vibe with them, I'm cool with them working remote. And we're all the way down and actually was an offer made and then rescinded because the employer just chickened out like, I don't know, if I want to pay this rate with them working remote. I’ve never done this before. It's too big of a decision — and just kind of chickened at the last second. So I'm noticing at the onset, Yep, definitely open to that. But it has to be like a very, I guess, specific hire, that they're looking — for some people and other people are like no, like remote is fine. That's the wave of the future. But I see people kind of going back on that. And so I think there's a few things if you are going to go remote, and really, these questions can be asked even if somebody is going to be working five days a week in the office. But in the selection process, two really important questions to ask is, how do you best learn? How do you best learn? And if you're going to be in a completely virtual world, you got to make sure that they're okay with Zoom training, videos, things of that nature. And then the second question I’d ask is, how do you best receive feedback? Or what is the most productive way to give you feedback? And I think you need to know that, because I think when you're not in the hallways with people all day, and they are virtual, you really have to be in tune to how you communicate with them, how you are giving feedback. And in asking that question over 1500 times in the past year to candidates, the most common response, actually only seven times I keep a running tally, only seven times the answer to that feedback question has been something different than immediate and direct, blunt, honest feedback, which is very interesting. And it's probably been seven people they've had, that have said, you know, encouraging and go easy on me, or light. So if you're an employer or a coach out there, and you struggle with giving direct feedback, know that 99.9% want it direct and bluntly.
David DeCelle 42:12
Love it. One of my biggest takeaways there is that if there's anyone listening who's open to remote work, or hiring remote workers, Eddy may have a candidate for you that was just teased a little bit with an offer and then rescinded. Well, Eddy, I think that this was a very — oftentimes I find myself with certain guests, depending on the topic that we're discussing, kind of going off on productive tangents, I would say, valuable tangents. But I feel like this episode was something where we kind of just went step by step by step by step in a way in which people can really get organized value from this as opposed to really trying to piece it together. So I appreciate the insight on the recruiting and selection process, some of the questions to ask, the strategies to get team buy-in, making sure that you're hiring someone who's a great cultural fit, and bringing them through the process. I just thought it was very well organized. So I thank you for that. I do want to pivot slightly. So I know one of the books, and for those of you who may not have listened to prior episodes, one of the things that we weave into all these conversations are one of our guest’s favorite books or what book has had the most recent powerful impact on them. And really, the whole goal is to promote learning within our industry, outside of our industry. So making sure that you are not just reading, like The Ensemble Practice that Eddy mentioned, of course, read that, but also expand your horizons and read about other industries or folks outside the industry and take those nuggets and apply them here. Marketing, as an example, is something where a lot of other industries are way more innovative than we are. So, take those ideas and apply them here and be a first mover in that. So I know one of the books that you had mentioned, Eddy, was called Post Corona by Scott Galloway. What were some of the nuggets within that book that you think could be helpful to some of the folks listening?
Eddy Ricci 44:15
So first is I mean, it was published in October, obviously, right? Or August, so it's all relevant information, maybe one of the first business books published by a thought leader after the pandemic. And I'm kind of like bifurcating my life into like, pre-pandemic and post pandemic, and that's why I love this book. And you probably heard a lot of what other thought leaders are saying, but what the book said is, businesses that were in a good spot, believe it or not, it's pretty obvious, but they're gonna excel during a crisis. And those that were weaker are gonna go away. And so it was just the acceleration of businesses. That's what the pandemic did. What he specifically talks about, there’s a lot in the book, but what he specifically talks about is what industries he feels is going to be disrupted because of the pandemic. And he had kind of this disruption equation. And what he said was if an industry has perpetually increased their price, but has not increased their value. And when I think of David DeCelle, I always think about bringing value, value to sell, if they haven’t increased value, but they always increase price, that's the recipe for disruption. And so he talks about two different industries. One is basically health insurance. The cost of that always goes up, but the value of it really hasn't changed for us for years. So he thinks that's going to be disrupted. And then college education, that tuition keeps on going up, but the value hasn't increased. So he really thinks those two industries are going to be disrupted. But again, think about other industries; what keeps on going up in price, but not bringing extra value?
David DeCelle 45:50
I also feel like the opposite of that, our industry, some firms anyways, there's price contraction, to a certain extent, and the expectations of clients are increasing as to services provided. So I think, with that, it's making sure that you're not just charging from an AUM perspective, but also you're charging for the advice that you're giving. So you may have a lower AUM fee than what it used to be, but you're making up for that from a planning perspective, so that you're really monetizing the thing that's most valuable, which is your advice. And then, furthermore, if there's contraction in price in the industry, to Eddy’s point throughout the conversation, it's focusing on time leverage. How do I make sure that I'm spending my time as effectively as possible, doing 1000-, 2000-, 5,000-dollar an hour type of activities, and then delegating, automating, or quite frankly, deleting everything else? So awesome, man. Well, I appreciate the time. I know that by the time this episode releases, you will have a brand-new website beyond the one that you've had up to this point. So as it relates to social or email or website or whatever, where, if people want to connect with you, if people want to get some insight from you, or quite frankly, get some help from you if they are looking to scale, where can they find you?
Sure. So email the [email protected], and then I'm on LinkedIn. So Eddy Ricci, e-d-d-y r-i-c-c-i, hit me up on LinkedIn and happy to help in any way.
Awesome. And I know we didn't focus a ton of our time on this beyond just the bio, and but regarding the books that you published for purposes of financial literacy for kids, Miss Money Plan: The Battle Against E-motion, just to give that one additional plug, I think it's an amazing way to advance relationships with clients. I know that there's co-branding or white label sort of opportunity within that, so that you can distribute it with your face and your logo on it as well. And I have a client of mine out in Seattle, who he has a children's book as well, and it's been super well received anytime he’s shared that with a client. He gets pictures of them reading it, gets good feedback, they share it with other people in the neighborhood, so this is a way like, you know, this advisor spent the time to actually write this book. Well, Eddy did that too, but you can white label it and leverage it as your own. So save some time, but still get the same effect. So those of you who are interested in that, feel free to touch base with that, in that regard. I think it's a great gift for around birthdays, or certain holidays and things like that. So, could be a nice way to advance relationships within your current book of business. With that being said, we do have two asks for everyone who has listened to the show. First and foremost, grateful for the time spent, hope you found value. I think this is an episode that, quite frankly, I think it may even make sense to turn this into a blog to use for you and use for us type of thing, because it was in order and pretty sequential in nature. So if you found value, please go ahead and share this with some other folks that you think would find it helpful as well. And then also, if you leave us a review on iTunes, that would just really help with visibility, get some more ears on the podcast as well. So if you leave a review, and you just take a screenshot of that, once it posts, and shoot me a text with that at 978-228-2338, what will happen is you'll get an automatic reply with a link to enter in your name so it gets added to my contacts. And then beyond that automation, it's me talking with you, it's not automated beyond that. So if you just send me that review, and then also send me just Ricci, so I know which episode it's in regards to. What I'll do is I'll give you access to two of our videos in our course which is all about a comfortable approach to earning referrals from your clients by one of our managing partners, Dan Allison. He's been speaking on this topic for, I want to say, 18 years now. So it's super, super good information, if you actually implement it, it will definitely have an impact on your business. So again, just shoot that review, take a screenshot, text it to me, I'll go ahead and give you access as a thank you. But for those of you who want to stick around for the after-hours portion of the show, stay on board, and we will get to know Eddy on a little bit more of a personal basis. So Eddy, we're gonna head over there now. But for now, I appreciate you spending the time. I appreciate the insight. I appreciate witnessing your courage and journey from afar. And I'm excited to continue to work together.
Eddy Ricci 50:48
David, thank you so much. And I appreciate you and appreciate what you're doing for the industry. So thank you.
David DeCelle 50:59
Cool. So for everyone who's listening, I’m going to put Eddy on the spot here. So Eddy's done a number of appearances in either situations like this, or presenting to audiences virtually or in person. And in every single interaction like that, that he's had, he's had the questions that were gonna be asked so that he could very much prepare for it and come super polished. So based on how we run the show here, and my personal connection with Eddy, I refuse to give him the questions. So we talked about some topics, obviously. But in all seriousness, for not knowing what I was going to ask you in advance, I think you crushed it, and hopefully it was, comfortable and whatnot for you. Because even if it wasn't, it appeared as if it was so I think you did, quite frankly, and awesome job, really succinctly going through the answers to the various things that we were talking about.
Eddy Ricci 51:55
Thank you. And, what I wanted to do there is, advisors don't get the training manual, or probably spend enough time on talent acquisition. They understand client acquisition, and that's what they're obsessed over all the time, but there's going to be a point where talent acquisition becomes almost as important as client acquisition. And hopefully that gave you some tips to help formulate a process when it comes time to hire, so it's supposed to be a 30-minute crash course and some best practices, so hopefully it was helpful.
David DeCelle 52:23
Love it. Definitely was and I appreciate it. So a couple Would you rather questions? The first on —
Eddy Ricci 52:28
Actually, David, I do have some Would you rather questions, only for you!
Oh, you're turning the tables, the first guest that’s ever done it!
I’m turning the tables, but. So first of all, it's after hours. How about me in a T shirt? That was the most uncomfortable part. I'm gonna wear a T shirt instead of a suit, and so…
David DeCelle 52:48
I am so happy that you brought ammo with you regarding Would you rather question.
Eddy Ricci 52:55
Yeah, I got the PG ones, I got the PG-13s, I got the Rs. I got the ones where you want to delete browsing history as well.
David DeCelle 53:05
Let’s go. I may not even ask you would you rather questions. I may just I may just be in the hot seat.
Eddy Ricci 53:10
No you can, we can go back and forth. We can go back and forth. So would you rather be in jail for one year or be in home confinement where you can't leave for ten years?
David DeCelle 53:23
Ooh. Oh, well I work remote. I have exercise equipment. But I also live right on the water so for me to not be able to go experience…honestly, I think I would say screw it and be in jail for a year to free up the other nine.
There you go. Good learning experience too, I think.
I mean, in there I don't know what the policy is on books and stuff like that. But I would just have my nose in a million books over that year.
There you go. Okay, what's your favorite food?
Chicken broccoli ziti alfredo, hands down, with garlic bread.
Eddy Ricci 54:00
Okay, that's the longest food. Let's just go with chicken broccoli. So eating your favorite food, and that's the only thing you can eat for the rest of your life. Your chicken broccoli ziti dish, that you probably cooked yourself. Or never being able to eat that dish ever again. So it's the only thing you can eat for the rest of your life breakfast, lunch,…only thing you can consume or you could never consume it again?
David DeCelle 54:31
Never consume it again because I would be a fat ass if I ate that for every single meal of my life. So I would sacrifice that because there's plenty of other delicious things. I think eating that for every meal would be nice for like maybe four meals and then I'd be like lethargic and just filled with Alfredo.
Eddy Ricci 54:52
There you go. One more. Would you rather have 1 billion with a b, $1 billion, because you won the lottery, or have $10 million in your account, because you just sold a business?
David DeCelle 55:09
So my first thought goes to earn it and get $10 million. My thought then becomes, I'd want a billion dollars that I won for a couple of reasons. One, I feel like I've done a pretty decent job learning over the past handful of years and becoming more responsible. Now, if you asked me this when I was in college, I think I would die if I had a billion dollars at that point in time. I also feel as if my parents and mentors have done a great job instilling proper values in me to where I would be able to handle that money. And then I think about the amount of good I could do with a billion compared to ten million. And I think about the businesses that I could create, and the businesses that I could invest in others that they're creating with a billion dollars. So for all of those reasons, I would have no shame in scratching a ticket for a billion dollars compared to selling a business for ten million, because I feel like — don't get me wrong, I'm definitely buying a Lambo — but I can also do a lot of good with that money, too.
There you go. There you go.
Cool, my turn. For those of you who are listening, if you're a guest on our show, and you haven't done the recording yet, feel free to come at me with some Would you rather questions because usually I'm just putting the other people on the on the hot seat. So this question would have been more relevant if you didn't get a haircut. So for those of you who are just listening, Eddy's always been clean cut in his appearance. And then once COVID and quarantine hit, he really embraced the no hair cut thing, and he grew his hair out. And then he of course, he shows up to this with a fresh cut. So let's assume that you still have long hair. Would you rather always have a mullet or a ponytail haircut?
I think probably ponytail.
Ponytail. Cool. I saw a meme recently with a dog that had a mullet. And the caption was like, Can we just make this a thing? It was the funniest looking thing. And then he was standing with so much confidence as well. It was pretty bad. He just needed like a beer in his paw to make the look complete.
Eddy Ricci 57:23
I was gonna say it's funny, my two-and-a-half-year-old, like, love her to death and cutest thing, but she's like rocking the mullet. Her hair still hasn't come in. So it's like back here, but she's got like my cut here. So I appreciate the mullet, but I’d go with the ponytail.
David DeCelle 57:40
It looks cute on her. But not for me. Would you rather have a time machine? Or a teleporter?
Eddy Ricci 57:48
I'm gonna go with teleporter.
Because I just think it's, of course, I'm going to go deeper with the question, right? Can I change history with the time machine? Or am I just observing it?
David DeCelle 58:06
That's up to the time traveler.
Eddy Ricci 58:07
I'm gonna guess that I can't actually adjust anything in the past. So I think to build a more efficient tomorrow, it would be teleporting to the places that I wanted to be very quickly and go see the world that way.
David DeCelle 58:20
Love it. I picked teleporter too, that way if I want to get into a scenario, just like that; if I want to get out of a scenario, peace out. And I mean, who likes being on the plane for 20 hours across the world? I'd rather just snap my fingers and be there. Final question. Would you rather go without shampoo for the rest of your life? Or toothpaste for the rest of your life?
Eddy Ricci 58:42
Yeah, I mean, shampoo without question. So like, I've been losing my hair for like years, so if I cut the hair medication, I'd just be bald anyway. Stop taking the Propecia pills that have been taking for ten years, and then we wouldn't have a problem at all. So it's funny, I don't know how — this probably is not appropriate so we can just kind of cut it — but I'll never forget, I was new in an organization, just moved. Someone who’s become a very close friend of mine, I love them, asked me would you rather question? I wasn't really familiar with that. It was like my second day, and we're out casually having drinks and it was like, and I’ll tone it down a little bit, would you rather make love to a goat? Or would you rather not make love to a goat, but everybody thinks you made love to a goat? I was like, who am I? Like what is this all about? And so anyway.
David DeCelle 59:36
That's kind of a conundrum. That's a, wow.
Eddy Ricci 59:39
That's not my question; I felt uncomfortable answering it. But when you go through would you rather questions, that's the one that always sticks in my mind because of this person.
David DeCelle 59:49
Well, one of the four principles in the book, I think it's just called The Four Principles, is to not care what other people think so I'd rather still have my personal pride knowing that I didn't do it. And as long as I abide by that principle within the four principles, then it doesn't matter what anyone thinks. So that's how I — I know you weren't asking it, but that's how I'm answering.
Yeah, there you go. Very good. Make sense, buddy.
Awesome. Well, Eddy, this was fun. Seriously, I really appreciate you bringing some questions for me as well, because it kind of puts me on the spot. So I know we like to bust each other's chops in various ways, and I'm glad that you came prepared to do so today.
Eddy Ricci 1:00:29
Well, it's been fun. And again, appreciate it, David, and we'll talk soon. Thank you.
David DeCelle 1:00:33
Awesome. Thanks, everyone, for listening. Hopefully, there was some laughs, and as always, we will see you on the next episode.