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The Three Things Robbing Family Offices Of The Top Talent

By News Creatives Authors , in Billionaires , at October 18, 2021

The Family Office recruitment market has never been as candidate driven as it is today. A new generation of wealth and the establishment of more Family Offices means that the demand for high calibre talent has never been greater.

At the same time, the banking and broader financial services industries that Family Office candidates often derive from are increasing their own hiring efforts, further draining the talent pool and forcing Family Offices to compete with more than one market for talent.

Candidates are now being more selective with where they want to work, who they want to work for and what they want in return and it is putting the pressure on for Family Offices who are now at more risk of missing out on the top talent than ever before. It is not just about attractive compensation or social responsibility either.

1)    Withholding Information.

Family Offices are discreet entities and with good reason too. With extraordinary wealth and extremely close ties to the families who run them, they like to keep their information confidential and so before employing an individual, they are not keen on disclosing much information. Most of the time, this includes their Family Name.

We will never disclose the name of a Family Office until we decide to shortlist that individual and even then, it is only achieved through the signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement and permission from the family itself. Sometimes we are not able to do this until the individual has had at least one interview with the family or hiring manager.

While all of this is understandable, withholding too much information can both deter talent and also attract the wrong talent due to the ambiguity of the role description and the responsibilities required. An Investment Analyst able to manage $500M in AUM holds a very different skill-set to one able to manage more than $5BN. Assets Under Management is one of several areas that Family Offices like to keep confidential but again, like many of the challenges facing Family Offices, there is a fine line to walk and in this case it sits between divulging information and exposing your Family Office. Our advice is to offer an indication of your expectations, requirements and the experience necessary while building trust with prospective employees so you feel comfortable in sharing as much information as you need to.

2) There is testing and then there is interrogation.

We have produced ample reports on the importance of testing your prospective employees. From exploring their personality traits to taking competency quizzes and asking open-ended questions – this is a vital part of ensuring your next employee is both aligned with your long-term objectives and perfectly fitting to your existing Family Office Culture. However, there can often be a fine line between showing an interest and interrogating your next employee. One thing that will certainly not align interests or attract the right type of talent.

Family Offices can often ask bizarre questions. It comes with the territory of working with unique individuals who operate outside of normal guidelines and office regulations. We have heard a Principal ask a prospective employee what they would buy if given $1,000,000 (a very possible scenario), we have also seen co-Principals play-fight to see how the employee diffuses conflict and we once discovered that a security professional was asked if he knew how to construct an explosive device. While they were simply curious about his seemingly infinite knowledge of security, this left a sour taste and he soon left the process.

Family Office hiring managers can delve a little too deep into the personal too. While asking about children and other commitments that could interfere with working hours is acceptable in the world of Family Offices, asking about former relationships or anything irrelevant to their professional lives or character is inappropriate and could deter the top talent from continuing to interview for your position.

Of course, in the world of Family Offices culture is king and so politics, religion and opinion all play a part that would not exist in the corporate world but be careful not to interrogate your candidates, it is after all a very fine and blurry line.

Read our guide to personality testing and interviewing here.

3)    It’s about time.

In the UK, notice periods tend to sit between one and three months long. While an idyllic situation for both employer and employee, it is not the same in every corner of the world, particularly in the USA where notice periods average around a week.

For candidates, this can be both a blessing and a curse, freeing them from a company with a poor culture but leaving them with little safety net if the roles are reversed. From a Family Office perspective, time is not on their side and to capture the best talent when it becomes available, they need to act fast.

This is easier said than done however as Family Office recruitment requires more care, attention and time than any other. This hire will not only join a collegiate and intimate culture within the office but they will form a part of the family, interacting with its members on a day-to-day basis, required to preserve their wealth and grow their family fortune. Putting this responsibility, wealth and information in the wrong hands can be catastrophic and so due diligence, care and consideration needs to be put into each hire. But there is a balance.

Principals lead busy lives; they enjoy travel for work as well as pleasure and require multiple stakeholders to be involved in any and every decision they make. This paired with the comprehensive recruitment processes required when expanding a Family Office team is robbing them of the top talent. You do not need to make instant job offers or compromise on your requirements but you need to manage your time and the candidates’ expectations at every step of the way. This means interview feedback, scheduling of second and often third interviews and ensuring, above all and before all else, that you are fully aligned with what resources you require and what type of individual you would like to fill them. It’s all about time.

These are just three things robbing Family Offices of the best talent today and they are all preventable with the right recruitment strategy.

For a more tailored conversation around your hiring strategy please get in touch via the icons below and in the meantime, why not join the conversation – what do you think is robbing Family Offices of the top talent?


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