Hiring New Team Members in 2020? Here’s My 🎁Gift to You

© Can Stock Photo / iqoncept

Are you planning to hire new team members in 2020? As my year-end gift to you, I’m going to share my handy list of new-hire interview questions. I use these to quickly get to know a new team member whenever a firm engages me to help craft their public announcements about the news.

How quickly and widely you broadcast your new-hire news depends on the position and your firm’s particular dynamics. General rules of thumb:

  • Personal introductions are in order as soon as possible if the new team member will be working directly with your clients. Make the connection in person, and/or via email or phone, depending on the circumstances.
  • Website bio updates, social media profiles, e-news and press releases might be best postponed for a while. Unfortunately, not every new hire works out as fabulously as hoped for, so it’s worth giving everyone a little breathing room before making a big splash about it.

Now, back to those interview questions. Here are the questions I start with:

New-Hire Communication Questions

  • How did you connect with [firm]?
  • What appealed to you about joining [firm]?
  • Why do you think [firm] selected you?
  • What are your key roles today?
  • What might key roles become moving forward?
  • In what way(s) do you add your own special touch to [firm’s] culture and community?
  • What prior positions have you held?
  • Do you have any credentials, degrees, professional organization memberships or board positions that aren’t already listed in your current website bio?
  • Are/were you familiar with [firm’s] investment strategy? What’s your perspective on it?
  • What are your personal and professional goals over the near- and long-term?
  • What are your personal, family, and community interests?
  • Any mentors and/or milestones that stand out?
  • What’s something fun people might not guess about you until they get to know you?
  • Anything else you can tell me about what makes you … you?

Sometimes these starter questions will generate others, resulting in a pretty good sense of a person’s roles and personality in a conversation lasting about 30–45 minutes. They also usually generate a good quote or two I can incorporate into any communications that may call for one.

You do not have to use every Q&A in every communication you craft about a new hire. But with this material on hand, you should have plenty of good substance to pick and choose from. In short, I find these questions helpful for getting to know a new hire, so I can adeptly introduce them to others. I hope you find them useful too!

A Tricky Stock Photo Trap: Beware of “Editorial Use”

© Can Stock Photo / Smit

Especially for those of us who are artistically challenged, stock photos are the bomb. I use them in just about every post I publish, to help make my communications pop.

But there’s a trap to beware of, lest those photo bombs backfire on you. I’ll explain more in a moment, but watch out for stock photos marked “editorial use.”

First, congratulations if you’re using stock photography to begin with. That already puts you miles ahead of anyone who assumes that, just because you can download an image from the Internet, you may. By and large, you may not. If you don’t believe me, enter “photo copyright infringement penalties” into your favorite search engine and feast your eyes on the results.

Continue reading “A Tricky Stock Photo Trap: Beware of “Editorial Use””

A Rapid Roundup of Evidence-Based Advisor Networks

© Can Stock Photo / nameinfame

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

Hey, sometimes this marketing stuff works. Between a few targeted initiatives and the “pay it forward” power wrought by word of mouth, I’m happy to report that my e-newsletter mailing list has grown nicely since I launched my independent business in January 2009. And the pace seems to be picking up. Checking my MailChimp stats today, I’ve welcomed about 250 of you to my mailing list this year; with a grand total of just over 800 subscribers to date.

Better yet, most of you are precisely the community I’m best set to serve: fee-only, independent investment advisors who are spreading evidence-based investing around the globe.

So, welcome, one and all! Are there times you feel a little alone in your evidence-based investing efforts? I thought it might be helpful to offer a rapid round-up of some networking opportunities deliberately dedicated to helping you and yours collaborate on this very subject. I’ve mentioned all of them in past posts, but time and attention spans fly by, so here’s a handy review: Continue reading “A Rapid Roundup of Evidence-Based Advisor Networks”

The Long and Short of Advisor Videos

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

A question I often hear from advisors: How long should my videos be?

So, first, if you’ve got any prancing baby goats handy (and you’re frittering away your time on Facebook), I’d say the sky’s the limit.

But let’s say you have to resort to actual information. Then what? Opinions vary. A lot.

Continue reading “The Long and Short of Advisor Videos”

Breaking News: Your Blogging Life Just Got Easier

You know it’s good for you and your community: blogging. Especially if it’s good stuff, accessible and informative, without sucking away too much of your client-service face time.

What would you say to a new service to help you achieve just that? Consider it done!

It all started when husband/wife team Jud and Kim Mackrill of Mineral reached out to me recently with an intriguing idea. Here’s the overview: Continue reading “Breaking News: Your Blogging Life Just Got Easier”

The LinkedIn Company You Keep — or Lose

A Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy

Have you established a LinkedIn profile? If not, for crying out loud, get ’er done (although that’s the subject for another Wednesday Whimsy). If you do have one, that’s fantastic, but I’ve stumbled across something worth double checking, to ensure that your LinkedIn profile isn’t inadvertently steering visitors to the wrong address.

Every so often, when I click on an advisor’s company name, and then click on the website address on the resulting page, I end up being taken to a site that may bear the firm’s name but be a different – wrong – address. You probably don’t need a Communications professional like me to tell you why that’s unfortunate, especially if that firm happens to be a similarly named competitor of yours. I’ve seen that happen.

So here’s how to double check your address in a few, easy clicks, using screen grabs from my own profile so you can follow along (and feel free to connect with me while you’re at it). To paraphrase Dr. Emmett Brown from “Back to the Future” (one of my faves), “Please excuse the crudity of these models. I didn’t have time to build them to scale or paint them.”

Step 1: From your LinkedIn home page, select Profile > Edit Profile Continue reading “The LinkedIn Company You Keep — or Lose”

Is It Okay To Cuss in Your Client Communications?

This week’s whimsy is inspired by a recent thread in the Evidence-Based Advisors LinkedIn group about John Oliver’s outrageously entertaining attack on many retirement plans’ high fees and opaque arrangements. It’s watchable, worthwhile, and free to share as a link or an embed … You’d think we’d be taking this piece viral faster than you can say “teacup pig.” (If you’re not catching the reference, watch the video.)

But there’s a catch. The language is so salty, the video could serve double duty as a cow lick. It makes McDonald’s fries seem like health food. You get my drift. While most agreed that the piece is “stunningly good” (said one commentator), “the language is just a bit too much” to share (said another). See for yourself, if you’ve not yet.

Should you or shouldn’t you use cuss words in your communications?

Some of the advisers with whom I work regularly pepper their pieces with their own special blend of the famed words from George Carlin’s, “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” Oliver’s popularity puts all of ours to shame, and those seven-plus words aren’t slowing him down. Like us, our clients are adults; if we like the video, why wouldn’t they? And what’s Oliver got that we haven’t?

Continue reading “Is It Okay To Cuss in Your Client Communications?”

Tech Friends Indeed for My Advisor Friends’ Needs

www-web_optimizedWhile writing, editing and otherwise putting together solid sentences is a timeless talent, effectively delivering your messages to the audiences you have in mind requires some serious tech power these days. As I focus on helping investment advisors with what they have to say to the world, I receive plenty of queries about how they can best spread the good word.

“Do you know someone who can help us with …”

  1. Building (or updating) our website?
  2. Sustaining our social media and related activities?

Here are a couple of resources I’ve found helpful: Twenty Over Ten and Mineral Interactive.

Continue reading “Tech Friends Indeed for My Advisor Friends’ Needs”

A 2016 Call to Action for the Evidence-Based Advisors Group

Evidence-Based AdvisorsCalling All Evidence-Based Advisors!

If you’ve not yet heard about it, a small team of us has been maintaining an Evidence-Based Advisors (EBA) LinkedIn group since 2008. What began as a modest adventure has grown to a list of 1,500+ members, with new join requests coming in weekly.

The majority of members are evidence-based advisors, just as the name implies. There also are a scattering of service providers like yours truly; fund manager representatives from firms such as Dimensional, AQR and Bridgeway; and some academics who have expressed interest in participating in meaningful conversations (versus using the forum as a promotional venue). Advisors from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and a number of other countries are represented in the group. Just this morning, we accepted a join request from an advisor based in Santiago, Chile. Bienvenida!

Continue reading “A 2016 Call to Action for the Evidence-Based Advisors Group”

Garbage In, Food for Thought Out

flowers
© Can Stock Photo Inc.

In a monumental “Do as I say, not as I do,” I confess: I’ve been an underwhelming blog mentor lately. In one-on-one conversations, I regularly remind advisers how important it is to maintain a blog and spread the word about it through social media. In all kinds of big ways, this helps build relationships between you and your would-be and existing clients and alliances.

But I’ve been remiss lately in following my own advice. Maybe that’s a good thing. It shows that even I, a professional writer, could use a professional writer to help me translate my best intentions into communication action. Continue reading “Garbage In, Food for Thought Out”