Recruit to Retain: Why one financial planning firm says candidate experience must come first

3 min read

As Director of Operations, Jennifer Manske is responsible for keeping Lakeshore Wealth Strategies running like a well-oiled machine. And with recruitment sitting at the core of the business, she knows just how important it is to have solid hiring systems in place.

“It seems too often the industry standard is a revolving door mentality—bring in 30 to 50 people each year, throw them at the wall and see who sticks,” says Jennifer of the wealth management industry's notoriously high turnover rates.

But Jennifer's walking a different path—one that begins and ends with a meaningful candidate experience. With a firm focus on retention, Jennifer and her hiring team also hope to shift the negative perception about who financial planners are, and what it is they really do.

We sat down with Jennifer to talk about bucking the trends and how automation humanizes the candidate experience.

How did you know it was time to change your hiring system?

For a long time, we were using Excel spreadsheets to track and manage candidates. It was a disaster in terms of updating. We realized we needed to have everything in a single place.

Recruiting is such a vital part of what we do in our industry so when a friend suggested we use Breezy, we dove right in. We constantly have so many candidates coming through the door and Breezy has really helped us keep track of them.

What does winning at recruitment look like for you?

Winning for us is two-fold.

First and foremost, it’s having a robust pipeline at all times with multiple candidates at different stages. We essentially offer two types of opportunities. The first is for entry-level, representatives that are just getting into this industry. The second is for people who are already in wealth management at different firms where they’re not receiving the resources they need.

But what’s really important to us in terms of recruiting is that we do things differently. It seems too often the industry standard is a revolving door mentality—bring in 30 to 50 people each year, throw them at the wall and see who sticks.

That's just not what we believe in.

We’re much more focused on identifying individuals who really fit in with the legacy and vision of our firm. From there, it’s about getting those individuals on board and focusing on retention from the very beginning of the hiring process.

We believe retention is everything. And this is a culture we’re very protective of.

Has the way you engage with candidates changed?‍

Now that we can keep track of everything from when a candidate comes in, who was the last person to touch base with them, what stage they're in and keep individual case notes up-to-date, it's been much easier to provide a great candidate experience.

For me, the automated features are great, just being able to send out agendas to keep the scheduling easy for everyone is a simple example of how you can make the experience better for everyone.

Referrals are also big in this industry and we send out lots of marketing about networks. The system lets us see when things have been sent out so we always know when and how to follow-up.

Breezy is very intuitive. It allows us to handle all the admin paths in more efficiently, which gives us more time to relate to the candidate in a more hands-on way.

How much time would you say Breezy has saved you?

At least six hours per week, minimum.

We’ve got quite a few stages in our recruitment process so using Breezy definitely makes everything much easier because all the information is kept in one central hub. We don’t have to bother with navigating shared drives or worry about things like not knowing which version is the latest one.

What’s your favorite insider tip for engaging candidates?

The biggest difference for us is the fact that our entire recruiting process starts and ends with our people.

Even though we have Breezy as an automated system, it still allows us to be very hands-on with candidates and really provide a great experience. They’re always speaking to a human at the end of the phone, they’re never not sure who to reach out to.

We’re also very accessible as a team. And we’re extraordinarily transparent.

Right from the get-go, we start discussing what the opportunities are and what we have to offer our employees. We really believe in what we're doing and we’re passionate about our work. We're also passionate about reversing the tide in terms of the industry and challenging the misinformation out there about what we do as financial planners.

As financial advisers, we’re focused on building genuine relationships and it’s really important that this is mirrored throughout our recruitment process.

One of our biggest values is we deliver on promises, so we appreciate the same commitment in others we work with. That's just one of the reasons we love working with Breezy.

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