“One of the things I get asked about the most is how we’ve managed to scale our business and assemble a super-team of paraplanners, when paraplanners are harder to find than a cinema which isn’t showing a super-hero movie.
We learned a long time ago, that there just wasn’t enough paraplanners available to allow us to undertake our plan for paraplanning world domination and that we would have to grow our own, in super-secret labs (cleverly camouflaged as a normal office space).
At present we have 17 full time paraplanners, of which all but 3 have come through our graduate programme.
And therein lies our secret weapon. The Grad Scheme our graduate intake programme. It carries a tagline of #capesnotsuits and this turned out to be more prophetic than we could have imagined.
That in itself wouldn’t be the answer, but the refined application process followed by the after care and ongoing training, has assembled a squad of amazing paraplanners and I’m willing to share a few of our secrets (we’re not the baddies in this story).
This last month saw an unprecedented response to the scheme. It has really picked up traction lately, as word gets around about its informal structure and huge potential for an amazing career opportunity. From literally hundreds of applications, we whittled down our shortlist to a mere 20, elite applicants to attend our Assessment Day. Shortlists are stringent and based upon their CV, covering letter, English and Maths tests.
Only the strongest survive. Like the hunger games, but with less bow and arrows, and you know, death.
On the day we keep it pretty informal; there’s group activities, ice breakers and all feedback we receive states how much the applicants respond well to the casual setting and approach. Once they’re relaxed, they show their true selves much quicker and this makes our job as assessors much easier.
Without sounding like the arrogant super-villain, we feel that we can convert almost anyone into a super-paraplanner, with time, care and our thorough training. Most people can do most jobs, with the right care. That’s a good theme to remember when you’re selecting your next employee. We tend to assess the softer skills of the applicants. Looking at how they would fit into the team, what they could bring to the business and how they think outside of the box.
Broadly, we use a number of tasks which are designed to test the subjects on three core areas, which are aligned with our company values.
Got Your Back.
World Class Quality
Got your back is a teamwork challenge. We assess this in numerous ways, looking at how the applicants interact with one another during various team-building tasks and how they communicate and compromise when needed.
For quality, this is a more lateral approach, including research tasks and paraplanning specific tasks.
For innovation, the prospective employees undertake a creative project, which they then have to present to us, in a short elevator pitch.
We also have one-on-one interviews to allow the quieter applicants to still get their chance to stand out and have their say. Questions centre upon life experiences, rather than work experience, as we’re very aware a lot of graduates don’t have the lateral, work skills, so we discuss those skills that are more transferrable.
Our leadership team, who attend the day, then go through all the applications, looking at the above qualities and we decide who gets to come onboard. It is one of my favourite days of the year, seeing such potential and knowing we’re giving a chance to some people to have a very exciting career and create their own super hero story.
From the last cohort, 6 applicants were accepted and I am very excited about them starting, so they can reveal their super power and help us save the finance world from boring grey suits, one paisley tie at a time.
Applications for The Grad Scheme can be made here.