The Wize Guys

Episode 43: How to do competency tests and assess candidates in your recruitment process

February 22, 2023 Wize Mentoring for Accountants and Bookkeepers Season 1 Episode 43
Episode 43: How to do competency tests and assess candidates in your recruitment process
The Wize Guys
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The Wize Guys
Episode 43: How to do competency tests and assess candidates in your recruitment process
Feb 22, 2023 Season 1 Episode 43
Wize Mentoring for Accountants and Bookkeepers

Episode 43: How to do competency tests and assess candidates in your recruitment process 

In this episode of The Wize Guys Podcast, Ed Chan and Jamie Johns with Wize Mentor, Tim Causbrook shared the top recruitment practices of Wize Mentoring, specifically with Wize Talent.

WizeTalent is an end-to-end recruitment consultation service for practice owners looking for their next ideal team member. WizeTalent is THE most comprehensive and detailed solution when it comes to helping you analyze, attract, assess, and accept a qualified team member for your business.

Find out how you can find the right candidate to hire today!

  

Timestamps:

0:35 - Then and now: How hiring people has changed

3:24 - Understanding your team blueprint

5:19 - Why recruitment is critical for every firm

6:18 - The importance of having your team structure in place

8:59 - WizeTalent 12-month journey to success

10:36 - How to hire your next team member with WizeTalent

14:59 - Where do practice owners struggle in testing the competency of potential staff members

22:16 - Red flags & tips in recruitment

25:28 - How to manage people in terms of productivity and communication

29:13 - How to take action today

#wizementoring #recruitment #hiringtips


Quotations:

“I always use this analogy that recruiting people is a bit like reacting to the workload as opposed to planning for the workload.” - Ed Chan 

“...one big thing you taught me is hiring can be really emotional. I guess, endeavor. It's super important to make sure you process. You always go back to the process. If you find yourself drifting through the process. The process gives you the results, not your gut feeling necessarily.” - Tim Causbrook

“Just follow the process. Follow the process and let the outcome speak for itself.” - Jamie Johns


GET IN TOUCH!

Website: www.wizementoring.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wizementoring/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wizementoring

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wizementoring/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wize.guys/?hl=en

Email: support@wizementoring.com


Download the full transcript here.


________________
PS: Whenever you’re ready… here are the fastest 3 ways we can help you transform your accounting/bookkeeping practice:

1. Join 40,000+ subscribers to our transformation Friday tips – Every Friday, our Wize Mentor and Thought Leader of the Year, Ed Chan will send one actionable insight from his experience of building a $20 million accounting firm that still runs without him – Subscribe here

2. Download one of our famous Wize Accountants Growth Playbooks – Our FREE Playbooks on how to build and scale your firm are more valuable than most PAID business coaching programs! See for yourself – Download here

3. Join the waiting list for a free login to the world's best accounting business intelligence software for scaling your firm. Take a look at the app we use to build our own $10million firm in just 7-hours a week – Get a FREE login here

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Episode 43: How to do competency tests and assess candidates in your recruitment process 

In this episode of The Wize Guys Podcast, Ed Chan and Jamie Johns with Wize Mentor, Tim Causbrook shared the top recruitment practices of Wize Mentoring, specifically with Wize Talent.

WizeTalent is an end-to-end recruitment consultation service for practice owners looking for their next ideal team member. WizeTalent is THE most comprehensive and detailed solution when it comes to helping you analyze, attract, assess, and accept a qualified team member for your business.

Find out how you can find the right candidate to hire today!

  

Timestamps:

0:35 - Then and now: How hiring people has changed

3:24 - Understanding your team blueprint

5:19 - Why recruitment is critical for every firm

6:18 - The importance of having your team structure in place

8:59 - WizeTalent 12-month journey to success

10:36 - How to hire your next team member with WizeTalent

14:59 - Where do practice owners struggle in testing the competency of potential staff members

22:16 - Red flags & tips in recruitment

25:28 - How to manage people in terms of productivity and communication

29:13 - How to take action today

#wizementoring #recruitment #hiringtips


Quotations:

“I always use this analogy that recruiting people is a bit like reacting to the workload as opposed to planning for the workload.” - Ed Chan 

“...one big thing you taught me is hiring can be really emotional. I guess, endeavor. It's super important to make sure you process. You always go back to the process. If you find yourself drifting through the process. The process gives you the results, not your gut feeling necessarily.” - Tim Causbrook

“Just follow the process. Follow the process and let the outcome speak for itself.” - Jamie Johns


GET IN TOUCH!

Website: www.wizementoring.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wizementoring/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wizementoring

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wizementoring/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wize.guys/?hl=en

Email: support@wizementoring.com


Download the full transcript here.


________________
PS: Whenever you’re ready… here are the fastest 3 ways we can help you transform your accounting/bookkeeping practice:

1. Join 40,000+ subscribers to our transformation Friday tips – Every Friday, our Wize Mentor and Thought Leader of the Year, Ed Chan will send one actionable insight from his experience of building a $20 million accounting firm that still runs without him – Subscribe here

2. Download one of our famous Wize Accountants Growth Playbooks – Our FREE Playbooks on how to build and scale your firm are more valuable than most PAID business coaching programs! See for yourself – Download here

3. Join the waiting list for a free login to the world's best accounting business intelligence software for scaling your firm. Take a look at the app we use to build our own $10million firm in just 7-hours a week – Get a FREE login here

Episode 43: How to do competency tests and assess candidates in your recruitment process 


Tim Causbrook: Today's topic is how to use competency tests and assess candidates in your recruitment process. Just to set the scene, Ed. We've been having a lot of conversations in the broader Wize community recently about finding people. I don't know if you've got anything you can set the scene with on that, but it seems to be harder. You've been around for a while now. It seems to be harder. That's meant out of respect. It seems to be harder. It seems to be harder recently than at times in the past to hire people. Have you experienced this or do you have any insights on this? This is at the scene. 

Ed Chan: Sure. Yes. I've been around a while now, but I've seen lots of cycles. Back in the nineties, it was really difficult to hire staff. You go in these cycles and we are back in that cycle and it is quite difficult. But I'd like to take your own back to talk to the principals, because if you start off with the principals and it makes it a little bit easier to recruit. I always use this analogy that recruiting people is a bit like reacting to the workload as opposed to planning for the workload. 

I use this analogy like five-year-olds playing soccer. Everybody's reacting to the soccer ball. So these are all these little five-year-olds all chasing this ball. And that's your workload, you're reacting to the workload instead of them all having positions. So when you have a soccer team, you've got a fullback, goalie, and wingers. You don't put a winger who is supposed to be really fast in the goalie position, and you're looking for the goalie who's got really good reflexes. So we're playing people in position, not out of position. So the biggest mistake is we just let them recruit as a reaction to the workload and you end up with these flat teams or what I call five-year-olds chasing the ball and they're all bunched up together in this structure and it's nothing. 

The first thing is to get that structure in place, get the teams in place and understand that the way in the accountancy firm works is it's about managing your traffic. There are two types of traffic that come into the organization: communication traffic and production traffic. Not everybody is suited to one or the other. There are some people that are suited to communication traffic and relationships, and so forth. Then there are other people who are suited to production traffic, they're happy to sit there and do the work and not talk to anybody. That doesn't mean that they're any better or worse than the people who are more people-orientated. It just means that they've got a different role. So in the soccer analogy, the goal is no better or worse than the winger or the forwards who score goals. I mean the people who score goals that of the forwards and they get all the glory, but they wouldn't exist without the backs. The goal is to protect their goals from being scored against them. So it's a whole team effort. 

When you're recruiting for this team, you've got to bring those complementary skills together. But you've got to start off with understanding the team blueprint, the blueprint of what you're trying to achieve, and that is managing to have the right person there to manage the communication traffic and having the right people there to produce the work. If you put people in the wrong positions and I know from good owners saying complaining to me that, ‘My staff doesn't like to sell more services.’ They should be selling more services. Well, that's because they're not suited for that role. But if you put someone that suited for that role, then so and so and so and so, and they're comfortable doing that. Or some people would just send their emails so they're not like picking the phone up, talking to their clients. Well, that's because you're playing them in the wrong position. 

So I guess it's creating the blueprint. Then once you've got the blueprint and we talk about senior client managers, senior production managers, and the accountants who do the grinding. When you have a clear view of that team structure, that blueprint, then it makes it a lot easier to go out there and recruit. Otherwise, you're just going out there and recruiting. You’re recruiting the superstar who can do everything. You don't need that person. You can do everything. And what I mean by being able to do everything is, the cricket doing the work that doesn't make mistakes. They've got great personalities. They can talk to their clients. They can sell. They can do everything. And you're looking for that superstar, which is really hard to find. 

Of course, every other man and dog out there, every other competitive firm out there is also looking for that person. So that you get in this position where you've got to pay an enormous amount of money for this person. They have so many options that as soon as something goes wrong, they're looking for a new job. Because of this, they're so much in demand and that's not the way to run a business. Hopefully, in a bit of a nutshell, that sort of explains the basis of where we're heading this year.

Tim Causbrook: I think what you highlighted is really crucial. I've spoken to a lot of firms both in Wize Mentoring and in my acquisition path in my own firm. It's uncanny how many firms feel they have to hire someone straight away. When I asked them what position it was for, and what they were looking for, they've got no idea. They're just after a body. Even firms in Wize Mentoring have been guilty of that. I've been guilty of that in the past. I've said to these firms where I've been able to see that they're setting themselves up for a fall because how will they know if they've got the right person if they don't know what seat that person's in? And even if they do get a decent person for a role if that doesn't play them in that position, they're going to misuse them. 

So I think I think it's quite emotional. I think if you have clients saying, ‘Hey, I need you to do my work,’ and you don't have enough capacity to do that, it's tempting. I've been in this position in the past to just kind of roll the dice on someone because you need someone there. But I think Jamie's got that saying, ‘don't just throw bodies at the problem.’ And I really like that.

I think I challenge everyone in this room. Before you start the hiring process, have a look at your capacity planner. If you don't have one, everyone in this room will have access to a WizeHub. Ed, would you say that's the right way to go? 

Ed Chan: 100% start with the blueprint. Find out who the senior client managers are. The senior client managers, the people that have that, like people that are going to communicate. Because if you want to grow, you've got to be able to respond to your emails and your phone calls very, very quickly. 

I'll use this analogy that if you're the customer and you're dealing with a supplier and you've got whatever it is, whether it's a plumbing company or a legal firm or an architectural firm, or you've got a Company A who responds to you very quickly, and then you've got Company B who doesn't respond to you. Now, naturally, you're going to get you're going to deal with Company A because they respond to you. The body language is saying to you, ‘We care about you, we want to you know, we want the business and we're here for you.’ While Company B who doesn't respond to you is a sign to you that they don't care about you. They've got other things that are more important. Obviously, that's common sense. But if you don't set up your team structure properly so that the senior managers can respond to the client's questions within the first day, and they're not responding to them for a few days, then then you're going to lose business. Not only will you lose business, but you won't get any referrals. So you want to grow your business now. 

Now, in order for that senior client manager to be able to respond, you've got to get the production work off them. So their production work has to be pushed down to the production team who's setup to prepare to do the work. In order to identify whether you've got the right capacity, you've got to have a capacity plan that you need to work out the people that you have and the capacity of each person. 

Of course, it's not just bodies, and then the hours that they can put in. It's about getting the resource mix right. So you've got to have people who are doing the grinding work. You've got to have a senior production manager who checks the work and trains the people to do that work. Because you need to invest in your balance sheet, not just finish the job and raise an invoice and send the belly out. That's what I call a P&L play. You got to have a balance sheet or invest in your balance sheet, which is making sure that the people underneath you are being trained up and brought along in this journey. It's a constant, both sides not just one side. Let’s say just a P, they just focus on getting the work done. They're going to focus on investing in their balance sheet, which is their people, bringing their people, their skill levels up. So you've got to have the right resource mix in there. So you're getting both the P&L and the balance sheet play right and investing in the long term. It's not just short-term. So you're going to get all of that right in. Then you can get good service and give good service. You can turn around that work efficiently and of course, you then get referrals from clients. That's the game is not just about getting the work out the door. It's a long game as well. As well as the short game. 

Tim Causbrook: Totally true. And thanks for that.

Jamie, you're pretty close to the coalface, as we'd say in Australia. We started WizeTalent almost 12 months ago now. Since then we've helped hire 70-plus new team members for Wize members. Could you take us through some of the major challenges you saw maybe in the earlier days when mentoring firms led to the creation of the WizeTalent service? 

Jamie Johns: The biggest thing Tim, I'll just take the experience for myself in my own firm, is that there was just no process. It's like anything. It's fine to have goals for your firm and for your business. But if you don't have a process to get there, then it's sort of pointless. 

It reminds me of sport as much as well, like I do a lot of sprinting in my old age. But it's pointless if you say you want to win the race without a training program. So sort of, while it's good to have goals, it's even more important to have a system or a process. As your firm grows, you must have a process to try and find the right people to put in the right seat. That's you're on the screen there. It's the old saying that necessity is the mother of invention. 

It's just to correct your there as to WizeTalent now it is well over a year all now I was just told an increase about it earlier. That's how it sort of came about. Tim and some of the challenges were, ‘What is the actual right process to hire?’ We've all dealt with recruitment companies and we've all dealt with trying to hire and recruit ourselves. So I went right back to the beginning and sort of thought, ‘Well, what is actually the best way to hire?’ It's probably over ten years ago now, but I got introduced to a system called Topgrade from America. Which might be new. But it seems to be the same process that Warren Buffett hires under as well. You were kind enough a few months ago to give me an article on how Warren Buffett hires, which was really, really interesting. I thought, ‘Hang on, that's the same way that we're doing it in WizeTalent.’ 

Just to refresh everyone's memory there, if you haven't heard of it and we might be able to put a link up, maybe even the chat there. Tim, but there are three important things that are really high level to Harlem. The first one is integrity. You want to hire people who what I say is have an alignment in three ways. One is what they think is aligned with what they say and what they say is aligned with how they act. And so that's really the first one. This is Warren Buffett's hiring process that we literally follow in detail at WizeTalent. So that's the first one integrity. The second one is you want to hire someone with intelligence. They've obviously got to have the intelligence, the knowledge, and the skills to do the job that you've got in mind. You've got the Wize ideal team there. So once you determine what your resource mix is, as it says so you know who you're missing. You can go and hire that person with the right intelligence. And the third one's energy. You want someone who's responsive and through the whole process with WizeTalent. If the person's continually responsive and shows energy, that's how they're going to act in your business. So if they're not responsive and don't show energy when you first meet them. First impressions count. You can pretty much be assured that then they're going to be like that when they work in your firm. 

Even in our circumstances go accountants, we've seen people where we've had a system and a process, and we were born out many times to follow that process. Follow that system. It might be like doing timesheets. That's a classic one. And everyone else does it, like the 34 other people in the firm do, but they don't do it. So really, that's the three keys. There is some of that. The biggest hurdle I think the team was finding an appropriate process, one at a high level. So, you take the intelligence and then energy, but also it will have well, ‘How does that actually practically work? How do you actually determine someone with those three characteristics?’ That's what we have every firm should have at WizeTalent. I keep saying to people it's not a recruitment company, but it's really the goal of mentoring firms and owners following a process of actually how to hire correctly. So following the steps to hire. 

Tim Causbrook: I think, Jamie, one big thing you taught me is hiring can be really emotional. I guess, endeavor. It's super important to make sure you process. You always go back to the process. If you find yourself drifting through the process. The process gives you the results, not your gut feeling necessarily.

Jamie Johns: It's a massive trap to say, ‘Oh, geez, I really want that person.’ I mean, Ed. You told me, he said never judge a book by its cover. I've really gelled with that person. I thought, ‘Yep, you'll all add.’ Then sure enough, when I start working with this like hopeless. Then other cases where I've seen myself and other people over the last couple of years with WizeTalent was, ‘Geez, really gel with that person. My gut feeling is I couldn't speak that I wouldn't talk in the interview, would they?’ Again, that's just like, ‘Oh, don't go there,’ because you've got to go through the process just because they don't talk to you and just because you might not have gelled with them, doesn't mean they're not a good account or a good bookkeeper. I said it a million times. Just follow the process. Follow the process and let the outcome speak for itself. It's very hard hiring people and trying to build a business. Particularly in our industries, it's all of our people. It's never an exact science. It's not like you, trying to build a rocket ship or whatever. This is the law of physics. We're dealing with people and people are complex. So it's never an exact science. But you've got to have at least some system developed that is better than the old shotgun approach and nothing, no system. 

Tim Causbrook: I think it's the best. Some of the worst interviews I've had have turned out to be my best hires. If I hadn't met you guys before I made those hiring process decisions, I would have passed on them and made a lot poorer as a result. So it's really great. 

It's really great having these processes and just the guiding philosophy behind them. You explain why it's so important, the process could be as many steps as you like. But I think what you've said there is really you've got to embody those three things. You've got to the process has to filter out those three things. 

Jamie Johns: Definitely, that's the important thing. Those three things are integrity, intelligence, and energy. That's what we really focused on. It was told by Danny and Krizz. As tough as it is, you've just got to follow that process. The other quick sign is that we say the team is acting fast hires. I said if you've got a good candidate and sure enough this fall guy, I'm looking for that person too. 

Tim Causbrook: One of my questions for Ed, that is intelligence is important, as energy and integrity. But I mean at the end of the day, I guess some of the roles, at least some of the roles we're hiring for, will have to have a degree of adequate knowledge to do the compliance side. Could you help us really navigate in from your own experience, where do you practice owner's struggle when it comes to testing the competency of potential staff members? What are your views on the valuable results-focused competency assessment process? Can you take that too far or is that necessary for every position in a nutshell? What do you think about testing?

Ed Chan: Yeah, that's a great question, Tim. 

Just finishing what Warren Buffet's saying is. I love you saying she's got some great sayings. He also says that if they don't have any integrity, you don't think they're energetic because you are twice as fast. So it's a very it's such these got such good sayings and it's so true. You want to be energetic because they can get through a lot of work. But, right at the top, it's about integrity. So it's 100%. So just going on your question. 

Absolutely. You've got to test for the different roles. And so it's like if you're recruiting for a goalie, he has to be able to do his job as a goalie. You don't need him to run fast, unlike when you recruit a winger, you need him to run fast. So you need to test that he can run fast and not just have good reflexes. So in our industry, it's the same. The way we recruit is if you're looking for a senior client manager. A senior client manager has to have interpersonal skills, has to have communication skills, is going to be he and she has got to be people person, is going to like people because clients buy from people. They don't just buy from the company. They deal with this because they like us. So you've got to be a people person to be a senior client manager. And recruiting for a senior client manager is different from recruiting for someone who is doing the work. They're an accountant doing the grinding work. So it's about the personality and whether they like people. If they don't like people, they're it's very hard to get them to pick up the phone and talk to the client. Because you and I know everybody knows that it's much more effective when you pick the phone up, when you talk to someone, as opposed to sending an email. Of course, when you get a complaint from the client, the last thing you should be doing is sending an email as a response. You should be picking the phone up and talking to them. If that person's not a people person, they'll send off an email to the particular person as a response. And then that makes it worse. But the people who love like people, they'll pick the phone up and talk to them and that's the way to handle it. Or, if you need to talk to a client about a bill or an invoice or a quote, well, if you're not a people person, you'll find that very, very difficult to do that, right? So you've got to recruit for that position. The testing that we do for that is around personality testing. It's got more personality tests around that. And plus they've got to have knowledge. So they're positioned to sell the sizzle. Not necessarily need to know how to make the sausage. They have to be so that not everybody can do that. So the ability to communicate with the client is not in everybody's skill set. That requires a different test. 

Now, if you then if we looked at the accountants, the grinders, the people would do the work for our industry. It's different for other industries. For me, it's about speed. It's not so much about accuracy, it's about speed. If they take 3 hours to do their job where it should have taken an hour, well that person cost you three times as much. But you might pay the same wages as another person. But because they're a third slower than what to third slow, the one-third as fast as the next person is cost you three times as much for the person. That person shouldn't be working in a public practice like ours in professional services when they should be working in the public service or a commercial firm where time isn't as important. Then our tests should measure how fast they get the job done. So our testing does that as well. It's not just about knowing how to do the job, whether it's how fast you do your job. 

Of course, your production manager has to be very, very experienced because now she's got to check the work and how she's going to train the person below them to do the work. Now, if they don't know how to train or they don't know how to manage the people underneath them, that's going to be problematic. People don't leave the companies, they leave their managers. So if you're a production manager and your job is to manage, three or four people and you don't know how to manage them. They will leave you or they won't be more productive. I've seen the production managers focus on themselves and not focus on their team. So the manager's role is to get the best out of their team. I've seen production managers blame the team instead of helping the team become more productive. They just point the finger. That's why we have this thing called a no-blame culture, where it's about focusing on productivity and focusing on solutions, not focusing on the person. You play the or not the man, so to speak. 

So the recruitment process for a senior production manager is different for a senior client manager and an accountant who does the grinding work. A senior production manager has to have people skills because his current he or she's got to manage people. He or she has to have this ability to want to help the team become more productive because that's their role. Their role there is to help their team become more productive. If they're doing a really good job, then the team is really reproductive. If they're doing a really, really poor job, then your team is really unproductive. But by bringing these complementary skills together, you get that leverage, you get one plus one is five. It's much more than the sum of its parts. That's the essence of the testing. So you've got to test for those roles. You can't just say, ‘I like that person and put them up.’ 

The biggest mistake I think people have done is to hire people on qualifications alone. Because qualifications will tell you how productive they are. Then every other firm out there is looking for qualifications. They miss these gems. These gems are really productive but not necessarily highly qualified. 

I guess if you don't have a blueprint to recruit and you don't have a testing system for the senior client manager to the senior production manager to the grinders, then you're going to go for qualifications because that's your only differential point. That clouded reason why people go for qualifications is that sort of is the only differentiating point that you can go by. But if you're very clear about your team blueprint, you're very clear about who you're looking for in each of those positions. Then you don't need as much to go for the qualifications as opposed to productivity. I'm about productivity. I don't care about gender, race, or anything of qualifications. It's false. It's about production and and and and productivity that's all that matters. Because at the end of the day, even if you don't like someone, I can guarantee you, if they're being very productive, you're going to like them. 

Tim Causbrook: That's really good. 

A lot of what it's talking about is recruiters if you're using a traditional recruiter. Which is fine. As a source of leads to interviews a lot of people are coming from a wide and shallow team. They might not have had much management experience or if they have, because most firms are wide and shallow. The recruiters aren't emphasizing. Everything I've said, taking into account. Everything I just said about you can test them and say whether or not their skill level is up to scratch. 

Jamie, Is there some extra special sauce you look for or a warning flag that you've got someone who has those interpersonal parts? I found myself in person. I've had to dig a bit for that. If I'm talking to a recruiter or even interviewing someone, I've got to ask them, ‘Hey, did you actually manage anybody in your job?’ Because I usually leave it the CV there. Have you found that's the case? Can you talk us through the importance that someone's being hired in that production manager role? Because that's how every family working with me right now is looking for a production manager, including maybe my own. Is there something extra you look at in terms of the interpersonal skills on the production manager side?

Jamie Johns: Yes, I can with Ed about this over the years. One of the probable tips is I think senior reference checks. Particularly if you're looking to hire those senior positions. So the senior production manager, assistant client manager, or senior production manager, that one of the tips is when you do your reference checks. It's important that you ask them very varied questions. Like, for example, ‘Do you think the strength was in interpersonal skills or was it in the production side?’ You got to be careful. You put that because they may have been with the previous owner like just in as a senior production manager. But they might say, ‘Oh look they weren't really good in that role and that might have been a reason that they left.’ So what you should say is, ‘Well, what were their interpersonal skills like?’ They're good at dealing with clients. Then they might say, ‘Oh yeah, now that you say that, I'm actually that way inclined.’ You've got to not only look at why they left the previous firm, but you've also got to look, ‘Well, what would have they been better at if they were to stay?’ It's important how you pitch the reference check because you can just come out and bluntly say, ‘Were they any good?’ They say, ‘Well, a matter of fact, now they weren't any good.’ But then you have to say, ‘Well, what role did they do exactly?’ 

Tim Causbrook: So they did detective work. 

Jamie Johns: It's almost like a detective. I think the recruitment companies might sort of go to that depth and be able to pivot like that because they just they to hire someone. I actually remember from about five years ago, I actually went to Melbourne and did a presentation to two actually recruiters on the deep and narrow team. They're like, ‘Well, we just hire someone from your firm.’ That's it. That's we're just hiring someone. We're hiring a body. And you want an account will for anyone but yeah. So, I think that's just an important thing when you do your reference checks, which obviously we do. But WizeTalent is to make sure not only just looking at why. One of the questions is, ‘Why did you leave?’ From your perspective, ‘What did they leave the firm?’ 

But the other and more important question is, ‘Well, what role do you think they would be most happy in? One day I remember asking and I said, ‘Well, why do people leave firms?’ They'd say, it's because they're not in their flow. Another answer or people don't like firms. I leave that manager, but the other time is they just not working in their flow. So if they're not really happy with the type of work they're doing, then you know they're going to be uncomfortable at some point in time. 

Tim Causbrook: That's really helpful, Jamie.

Jamie Johns: Test with the other with reference checking. It can be more difficult, particularly when you're trying to hire a graduate, and often they've only had one job or have never had a job. So the reference checks become a little bit riskier, but as long as you're aware of that risk. 

Tim Causbrook: That's good. 

Ed, we stress the importance of the client managers having interpersonal skills a lot. I think we probably don't do enough justice to the fact that people who are managing staff do have to have a level of interpersonal skills as well. I guess over our time have seen where that goes wrong with firms when they don't have those. Usually, what Jamie said, people leave their boss. They'll leave their direct manager. Is that right, Ed? So we're right in saying they do need a level of interpersonal skills to be able to effectively manage people. It's not the same interpersonal skills that you need if you're talking to clients, though. 

Ed Chan: Yes. 100% was the level of communication that you're required to speak to clients is different from the right communication skills. You need to speak to your own staff. For example, you know, if the client has a profit of 100,000 and their tax bill is 30 grand and they don't have any money in the bank. If you say to them, you've got a tax bill of 30 grand, they'll say, ‘Well, how can I make that money when I've got my money in the bank?’ And that person has to be explained technical terms in layman's terms so you can connect with that with your client. 

Now, with a senior production manager, they don't need that level of communication because they're talking to their team. They’re talking to their own people in their own industry. However, they have a certain level of people skills. They're not so task-orientated because if you're very, very strong on tasks and less on people, you're going to upset the people below you and they're going to leave. We've seen that happen when we got three resignations from the accountants and the manager was not managing them very well. He was blaming the staff instead of looking at himself as to how he can improve the staff and it was a complicated situation. It's not a very it's not a simple thing. Otherwise, I wouldn't be doing it. 

Tim Causbrook: Yeah, I've seen in my own firm an offshore person be quite unproductive under one manager. I'm going to put them under a different manager. It was like they were a different employee and I was tempted at the time to say, ‘Oh, that was a bad egg we hired.’ A really good manager to turn her around. Probably even surprised herself with how much she was able to turn her around. That kind of got me Wize on how important they can be, like you said, and bring it. They've got to bring the best out of them as a coach. It's very easy to blame the team when maybe the problems in the coach, at the coaching level. 

Ed Chan: With another of our members also had a lot of trouble with a client manager. I'll just use is no such a site called him John. John was having lots of trouble with the girl in the Philippines. I'll just call it Selina. Just made that up. John used to complain about Selina. Selina's productivity was really low. I think it was Selena. Selena was the problem. John left and they hired a new person. I'll call him Jason, the new client manager or production manager. Jason was able to get, like twice or three times the amount of productivity out of Selena. It's just that they connected. He was able to train him well you know understood Selena's strong points and worked with her to get her productivity up. Jason was focused on Selena and John was more interested in blaming Selena. There's 100% it's the same person under a different manager who has completely different results. 

Tim Causbrook: it's crazy, isn't it? 

Ed Chan: Another person manages that person as opposed to themselves. 

Tim Causbrook: I guess a client manager would say all this person's rubbish. Whereas this manager said look she's top, she's tough compared to what I'm used to. But I'll see if I can turn it around somewhat and she did. It was really really great. I guess an example of what we're talking about that I saw in my own firm. 

Jamie, can you just leave us with one action point you suggest to take if you're looking at recruiting at the moment? 

Jamie Johns: I'm a massive believer in a little tip code to create history forms. So I think that's in the WizeVault, actually. So, whether you're doing it, whether you're doing it yourself or using WizeTalent, have a look at the creation form, and just the questions there are like what we call the truth serum. As how we spoke about the team that integrity piece. A lot of that integrity place is really a three-step process just in that let's call that part A. If you like the part I feel is the create history form get people to fill that out choice to send that off. Even if you just do it manually. Send it off. ‘Hi, Joe. Please fill this out. Thanks for replying.’  The career history forms just that truth serum. Then you can pressure test that. The side pressure tests the career history form against an immediate face-to-face interview and asks particular questions in that interview about the career history form. The third pressure test is the reference check. So if you can get all three to line up, Tim. You're a long way along the line to hiring someone.


Then and now: How hiring people has changed
Understanding your team blueprint
Why recruitment is critical for every firm
The importance of having your team structure in place
WizeTalent 12-month journey to success
How to hire your next team member with WizeTalent
Where do practice owners struggle in testing the competency of potential staff members
Red flags & tips in recruitment
How to manage people in terms of productivity and communication
How to take action today