Create a Standout Hiring Process

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We talked with Stephanie about:

  • Spearheading the advancement of women in the financial services industry by partnering with Females and Finance Career Center
  • How career path priorities for financial services employees have shifted toward flexibility and increased pay
  • Attracting and capturing talent through an expedited hiring process

About Stephanie Roberts:

Owner of Humans Being Resources, a “full-life cycle recruitment” firm with a specialization in finding professional talent for the financial services industry, Stephanie Roberts has firsthand insight on how companies can elevate their employee searches to engage top talent in today’s market. With over 12 years of experience in recruiting, she helps companies modernize their hiring process. Stephanie’s work with the F&F Career Center has helped expand opportunities for women in the finance industry.

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Full Audio Transcript

Lauren Hong (00:02):

All right. Well, Stephanie, we are so excited to have you on the show today. I have been following a little bit about what you've been doing with the Females and Finance group, and I've been enjoying looking at your website but I don't want to steal your thunder. So why don't you, if you don't mind, just share a little bit about your background, your company, and the kind of work you do—just to set the stage here before we get into a little bit more of the nitty gritty of this engagement with Females and Finance. 

Stephanie Roberts (00:32):

Yeah, absolutely. Well, I appreciate you having me today. As you indicated, I'm Stephanie. I'm one of the owners of Humans Being Resources, a recruiting firm that specializes in the financial services industry—financial services meaning also insurance and banking as well. It’s honestly kind of a funny story how I got into it, but I like to give a lot of credit to my mom, because she is a human resource director, so I kind of grew up in that environment. However, I honestly started my college career going into fashion merchandising. So I always thought I was really thrilled with fashion and wanted to own some stores. I actually owned a couple boutiques in my previous life and then got into staffing, worked at a temp agency for a little bit, and then went into more of the financial services side with a large FMO. And then, just kind of having that entrepreneurial spirit, my husband and I put our heads together and started HBR based on his background in operational <inaudible> and my experience in recruiting within financial services. So we created our model and have been here for a little over six years now. 

Lauren (02:01):

Wow. Well, just with our clients, I know it's a challenge. We all constantly hear it's a challenge to find top talent. There's an alignment of values and expertise, investment, philosophy, just depending on the type of business. So why finance? Is it just because of that background or seeing the need. I'd love to hear a little bit more. 

Stephanie (02:25):

Yeah, so I would say a lot of it started just from the relationships I had already built and just kind of my knowledge within this sector. When we first started, we didn't really niche ourselves in financial services. However, that is where the majority of our business was coming from. I'm sure you're familiar with financial firms and financial advisors—they don't go into business to be a recruiter or a hiring manager. They're great at the financial advice side of it. So as we expanded, we were just really seeing that there was this big need within financial services. So then we finally decided, let's just drill down and say this is our niche and this is what we specialize in and that's what we're gonna do. And that's exactly what we do. So we've kind of just kept it that way. And we work all across the United States with various firms. 

Lauren (03:27):

And what kind of placements are you typically? Are they senior level? Are they partners? Are they more operation support? And are there trends you're seeing? 

Stephanie (03:40):

Yeah. So we do all positions up to a financial advisor with a transferable book. So we'll do a receptionist, we do marketing, client service. They can be licensed, unlicensed, para planners, portfolio managers. So really huge variety, up until we get the call that they want an advisor with a book. That's when I have some good partnerships that I'll refer that business out to other firms. That's kind of where we draw the line, but we get a lot of calls for junior advisors right now. So maybe they're looking for someone who has two, three years of industry experience and they're licensed. They don't need to bring a book over but being in that advisor capacity is the role that individual would take. 

Lauren (04:30):

That's fair. It's a different kind of engagement when you're at that relationship if you're looking to roll over a book. So if I can just shift gears a little bit here. I'd love to hear more about the Females and Finance career center partnership you've established. I thought that was really intriguing, an interesting hub. How did that all come about? I mean, obviously you've got this dynamic background with what you're doing and there's an alignment of a shared vision or audience per se, but tell us a little bit more about how that partnership and that platform came about. 

Stephanie (05:01):

Yeah, so I have to give credit to one of our repeat clients who we've built a really good relationship with out in Georgia. She referred me to Cheryl, and Cheryl as many people know is just a fabulous connector, very involved in this industry and definitely someone you want to know and really build that relationship with. So Meredith had made that introduction and Cheryl and I actually had several conversations prior to the career page actually being launched. So she has these great big visions and she had this vision to get this page going and asked if we would be interested in being kind of the sponsor and kind of head that page. And we said absolutely. Because it obviously goes very well with what we do. So that's been launched for probably a few months now, maybe three. 

Lauren (06:01):

My gosh, is that just a few months? 

Stephanie (06:02):

Yeah. So that page is fairly new but we're excited. It's definitely taken off and she's done a great job of promoting it. 

Lauren (06:14):

And how are you sourcing the opportunities and managing it? And I mean, even the platform that was chosen, how did you sort of get from concept to launch? What happened in that in- between phase? 

Stephanie (06:28):

So that all goes to Cheryl, with the mastery skills she has. She is the one who put it all together and it's a good opportunity for HBR to be exposed to some other positions that might be out there. And if one of her members needs assistance in just not having a good process to follow, we're there to lean on and to help. So she really manages that page and does it very well. 

Lauren (07:03):

Okay. So then she's really managing it, setting up the software, all of that. And you're acting as that sponsor to then help to further support with the actual platform. And are you sending potential candidates there or what kind of relationship do you have with supporting that in your sponsorship engagement? 

Stephanie (07:24):

Yeah, it's a good resource for potential candidates but it's also a good resource for clients or members of the organization. If they have an open position, like I said, they're more than welcome to engage with us and our services if they don't want to go through that process themselves, or it is even available for a member to just post their position out on her site. And then, between her and I and other members, we do a lot of promotion and marketing of that page and really promoting those open jobs. So it's always being updated. I constantly update her on new jobs we're working on. And with members who want to work on it, maybe putting jobs out there. So it's good for candidates, but also for members and clients. 

Lauren (08:21):

Okay. Yeah, that's fair. I think it's a pretty dynamic platform and it feels like it fits a real pain point right now. Are there other platforms? I haven't seen anything quite like that. I think FPA has some options, if I remember correctly, and other groups, but not quite like this or more all encompassing sort of broader financial services. 

Stephanie (08:43):

Yeah, one of the things I really like about Cheryl and Females and Finance is how much she does to really promote it and market it, and I think she's grown to well over 3,000 members now. 

Lauren (09:00):

Great. It's amazing. Yeah.

Stephanie (09:03):

She definitely wants to make an impact in this industry and really just kind of change it and bring a lot more workforce into the industry as well. She's doing a great job, so we're excited about it because the idea is to really try to expand and get more individuals into this industry. 

Lauren (09:26):

Yep. That's fair. To take a step back and transition a little bit. I’d love just to hear what you're seeing in the industry, in this industry at large. It's a different market we're in right now, you know? COVID, post-COVID, all sort of gray, right? And work from home, and the challenge of finding top talent and all sorts of things. Are you seeing that in this industry? What sort of trends are you hearing or how are you helping, frankly, companies stand out to really find that right fit? I'd love just to hear more about the pulse you all have on the market or the industry at large. 

Stephanie (10:06):

Yeah, you're right. It is very tough. The past couple years, the market has definitely shifted and changed. I feel a lot of candidates put priority over certain things that maybe they wouldn't have in the past. So while pay definitely is still important, there's still a high importance for candidates to have good balance. And so that remote option or hybrid, that's a big one right now we're hearing a lot. And you do still get firms that are insistent and know they want them in the office. So it definitely shrinks your pool of candidates when you're not willing to offer that flexibility of hybrid or remote. So I do feel that since COVID it's made remote more desirable for, for many reasons. And then like I said, going back to pay and there's just so many jobs open right now. 

Stephanie (11:06):

This is where I really explain to clients that it is important to use a resource like us to really do all the work for you because it can be very time-consuming when you're trying to do all the recruiting and sourcing. Anybody can post a job on a job board right now but more than likely it will be lost because there's so many jobs posted on these job boards. So we definitely use job boards, but where we find a lot of our success is through our recruiting and the sourcing and just cold reaching to candidates. So what else? I think you asked me a few questions. 

Lauren (11:47):

Not really. Just those trends you're seeing and the industry at large. So that's helpful though, just to hear a little bit more about what you're seeing on the employer side. Anything you're hearing on the employee side, or things employees should keep in mind in this job market too? 

Stephanie (12:06):

Yeah. So as far as the employee side, we typically do work more from the client side. So when the client has the need, they reach out to us and then we start that process. Through my networking and the different relationships I have, individuals reaching out, I do get a lot of great experienced candidates who are ready to leave their firm. And oftentimes they're ready to leave because of either the lack of flexibility or their pay. Some companies have not adapted to the new environment we're in and needing to increase their current employees’ pay. So we have seen a lot of employees leaving for better pay, but also the better flexibility and just overall opportunity. A lot of individuals want a career path. 

Lauren (13:01):

That's fair. Yep. And along that kind of vein, I always have like the marketing lens on, right? We talk with a number of companies about how to promote what your company's like from a value standpoint, and it could be awards like best places to work or just company happenings, if there's fun events or just more showing off that company culture. Do you have any tips for employers about ways they can help an employee get to know who they are, either through their interviewing process or even just before they were to engage with the company, to really help warm up that prospect or even for them to self-qualify if they're a good fit? 

Stephanie (13:47):

Yeah, so as part of our process, once a client engages with us, we schedule what we call a client intake call. And that's where I really go deeper with the client in regards to the position, but also their firm and their culture. So I really want to learn as much as possible about their culture and just the overall opportunity they have for their candidates. And we really use that information as we're engaging with those candidates. But of course, like you said, then it does fall on the client once they get that candidate in front of them to really sell their firm and why someone should work for them. 

Lauren (14:30):

Yeah, that's fair. Are there any things you're recommending, like if they've got a top candidate, they talk with other employees within the company? Or even like sort of onboarding processes? Or are those things that your team doesn't touch? Just curious. 

Stephanie (14:51):

So we don't get too involved in those types of conversations. We'll give a little advice through my conversations with candidates, learning what are some important things to them as they're looking at new opportunities. So I share that with the clients. Training definitely is one of them. But I think that's a great idea that they meet with some of the other team members. We have some clients who will maybe do dual interviews. So it'll be the advisor and then somebody else in the interview as well. The thing is, they just want to keep in mind to not drag that interview process out too far. Because especially in today's market, candidates go very fast. So if they're going through multiple interviews, you're gonna lose them. They're probably going to go down the street to your competitor. 

Lauren (15:49):

Out of curiosity, I'm sure it changes by the kind of role, but I'd just be curious if there's an average for where timing typically falls. Or even an average for more of like a partner or a more senior hire. I'd be curious to know the length of time. 

Stephanie (16:10):

So we tell our clients on average eight to 10 weeks. But like you said, there's so much that goes into that, so it's kind of hard to really drill it down exactly because location's going to be one, what they're offering, their overall offering the salary, and just kind of how they compare with their competition in the market so that really can vary. But we do tell them eight to 10 weeks. 

Lauren (16:35):

Okay. That's fair. And then any tough conversations or things behind the scenes that you think even before you get going that you're having with your clients? Maybe job descriptions, if you've seen more unicorn job descriptions or other things like that. I'd just be curious about things that might help employers as they're thinking about who to hire and how to put this together and all of that. So what do you wish they would've done? 

Stephanie (17:07):

Oh, that's a great question. There's definitely a lot that comes to my mind. So we do help them with the job posting; we create the job posting based on the information they give us. So one thing we have found is that advisors or firms have different titles for basically the same position. So we really give our advice based on our experience and what title works once we post that position. So they all kind of like to name it different things, but it's all essentially the same. So that's one of them. I would say the toughest conversation really is salary. And really just educating them on what the market is like today, that we are not in the same way we were in three, four years ago. 

Stephanie (17:58):

Pay has changed a lot and if you want to attract top talent, you really have to make sure you're in line. And again, that's part of our process too. We do research based on their area and these certifications they're looking for and their minimum requirements, and we'll provide them with what our recommendation is. And then timing is a big one, really making sure they engage with us, they are committed to the hiring process. So really setting time aside to put those candidates through an interview and ready to offer when the time comes. So those are kind of the top ones, I would say, but we really try to keep them as involved and try to take as much off their plate as possible when they go through our process. 

Lauren (18:53):

Yeah, That's fair. That makes sense. And I would assume not only routine timing can be involved, but then you think about the holidays and all these other things that come into play, right? That just can throw a cycle off. So very good. Well, any other closing thoughts before we wrap things up here? It's been so fun to hear about your role and relationship with the Females and Finance group and all of that.

Stephanie (19:19):

I don't have too much else to add other than we're here to help. Again, like I said, we want to just save clients time, let them focus on what they're good at and then outsource the other parts of it. It's what we specialize in. We're a recruiting firm, so we know where to find good talent and really will help kind of get them through that process. 

Lauren (19:48):

Well that makes so much sense. Easier said than done, right? It's all about the people, right? So having a good team is just absolutely what it's all about. So thank you so much, Stephanie, for your time. Really appreciate you sharing more about not only your day to day, but the relationships and also how you're giving back to the community as well. And really I think helping to support and create a platform to help recruit talent and share opportunities. So thank you again.

Stephanie (20:25):

Thank you.