With the goal of growing our wealth management business, we often see many candidates from various academic and professional backgrounds who misunderstand the role of working in Private Wealth Management.

While we prefer to hire diverse candidate with advanced degrees in finance or business (MBA), we also look at other traits and backgrounds. Some candidates are teachers, others are athletes. Still others come from the armed forces or another non-financial industry. Successful candidates possess skills that are transferable to private wealth management—an entrepreneurial spirit, a history of building and developing business, and proven client management skills are favorable.

We don’t require that candidates have professional finance background, but they need to demonstrate an interest and passion for finance and investing.

Another important factor is a candidates’ alumni affiliation. We often recruit from institutions outside the top 10, and we look for individuals who are actively involved in their alumni communities. For Private Wealth Management, we recruit at several schools across the US, including schools in the regions that we have offices for potential candidates.

Our interview process is slightly different from other firms. After an initial phone conversation, we ask candidates to prepare a personal business plan that highlights how they intend to build and grow their wealth management asset base. Our goal is to evaluate their knowledge and skills in two primate areas: investing and business development. We also look for communication skills (both oral and written) and their ability to attract, identity, and close clients. One key aspect of the interview process is to assess a persons critical-thinking and decision-making skills, as well as their ability to make ethical decisions regarding the suitability of clients.

We also want to gain a better understanding of how someone will leverage their personal networks, and build a business in their region over the long-term.

Regarding their resumes and cover-letters, we offer the following suggestions—don’t leave anything out simply because you don’t think it applies to financial services. We expect to see school and work experience, but we also want to learn more about your passions outside of work and academia.

In addition, take the proactive approach. Use your imagination and pretend that you are a private wealth manager and your interviewer is a potential client. How will you close him/her? What are you willing to do to land this client? What are not willing to do? Prepare for the process, do your research, and above all, be yourself. People can usually spot someone who is insincere.

Our hiring goals are aggressive, yet tactful. The demand is determined by a number of external factors, including local and regional demographics, the economy, and interest in our services. Keep in mind that as an investment professional, you are not selling stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other marketable securities to individuals that may or may not need them. Rather, you are providing a solution to problem. Everyone, from the wealthiest people in the world to those who are less wealthy, has a financial problem. Some have too much money, others not enough, but each person needs a solution to their problem. Our wealth managers provide those solutions based on clients’ needs, and use marketable securities and one of many tools to implement investment strategies and put those solutions to work.