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!
It’s time once again to catch up on my blogging backlog, sharing some substantive suggestions for my favorite peeps: the evidence-based investment advisor community. Kick back, grab a cool beverage, and read on about:
How to strengthen your online privacy (compliments of GDPR)
A Plutus Award financial publisher honor you may want to aim for, and
A handy robo-advisor resource …
Controlling Computer Clutter, GDPR-Style
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a big fan of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Sure, it’s created some extra work for us business owners, but it’s also driving improved infrastructure to help everyone take better control over their online privacy. In a world in which we may feel our privacy slipping away, that’s important, and I’m happy to be a part of the cause.
Teaser: In my next blog post, I’ll be sharing a bold next step I’m taking on that front. In the meantime, here’s a tip I learned when establishing GDPR-compliant cookie consent on my own website: Thanks to GDPR, you can now more tightly control what cookies you accept from many websites around the world.
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.
Have you ever ended up with so many subjects to write about that you seize up and skip writing anything at all? It happens. Time to get caught up on some of my blogging backlog …
Twenty Over Ten Offers Content Assist
A few weeks ago, I attended one of Twenty Over Ten’s webinars, introducing Content Assist. The new offering struck me as one more reason to consider turning to this firm for your next website build. I especially liked the fact that it provides you with “starter” content, but you can edit it as much or as little as you please to personalize it for your own use. That’s not unlike my own Content-Sharing Library, except theirs is integrated tightly into their website service.
Will there be a content creation alliance between us at some point? Hey, stranger things have happened. No promises, but let me know if that’s of interest to you. Either way, I’d like to think Twenty Over Ten and I go together like Forrest Gump’s peas and carrots. Way to go, Twenty Over Ten!
Did you catch Jason Zweig’s recent post, “It’s the Little Things That Can Color an Investor’s Outlook”? In it, he shared the results of a recent study on how strongly we behaviorally biased humanoids can be swayed simply by the color in which our investment choices are displayed. When participants saw financial losses in fire-alarm red instead of benign black and white, their responses were more frequently stained with the telltale fingerprints of fear and risk aversion … unless, unsurprisingly, they were colorblind.
So that’s one interesting data point suggesting that the colors in your communications may matter more than you realize, and not always as you might expect from a financial accounting point of view.
This important message, often overlooked, reminds me of an article I stumbled across recently by software developer Nick Babich, entitled “Red, White, and Blue.” Babich is a self-described “UI/UX lover,” which may sound nefarious but it means he concentrates on how to improve websites’ user interface (UI) and user experience (UE).
In other words, colors are his bag, baby. He offers several other reasons you should be more in touch with your and your clients’ inner rainbow than you may currently be.
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?
While 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 …”
Building (or updating) our website?
Sustaining our social media and related activities?
No, I am not claiming to have invented the World Wide Web. But I am launching a brand new “WWW” today – Wendy’s Wednesday Whimsy – a weekly(ish) short & sweet idea that I believe evidence-based advisers like you will find helpful to your cause.
Today, I’m giving a nod to Neligan Financial’s website. After all, our evidence-based advisor friends over in the Land of the Brexit could no doubt use some kindness this week.
What I Like About It:
It’s nice and clean overall, good use of colors, language and imagery to convey a distinct personality, give it a sense of place, and quickly communicate key themes.
I am particularly fond of its Services page. I love how the adviser used his prospective clients’ most pressing questions as his key service offerings. Score!
Scrolling down to his newsfeed, check out this recent post: “Things That Reward Patience.” It shows how you don’t have to write a lot to say so much. Bravo!
For the record, I don’t know this adviser personally (yet). I stumbled across his site when he joined our Evidence-Based Advisors LinkedIn group. If the group is a good fit for you, I encourage you to do the same.