Independent Capital Management
Independent Capital Management Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Financial Services Specialist Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online - interviewed at Independent Capital Management in December 2013.
Interview Details – One interview. Lasted over an hour was a really thought provoking interview. If you are going into this field I was suggest interviewing here just to see what is out there.
Interview Question – Why do you want to get into this industry? Answer Question
Financial Advisor Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied through college or university and interviewed at Independent Capital Management.
Interview Details – You enter the building and once you state that you are there for an interview, the receptionist leads you to a conference room. You sit according to the order that you arrive so I suggest you arrive fairly early - roughly 30 minutes earlier should be fine. The first part is not really an interview its more of a presentation with about 8-10 other people where you are introduced to the company and some of its offered services.
Interview Question – There really was no difficult or unexpected question. Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Financial Advisor Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Independent Capital Management in August 2013.
Interview Details – ICM works like a rotating door. They give lots of people a chance to prove themselves and hold interviews for new hires twice a week. This can be a positive or a negative.
They call you in with a group of 5-10 people and tell you the very basics of how the job works. They ask things like 'wouldn't you want to make $10,000 in an hour just by talking to someone?' and while that is possible, it isn't probable until you get some more experience. They give you some more rah-rah pep-talk and then pull people out for 'individual interviews' at this point they have already decided who they are inviting back and are pulling people out one at a time to let them know if they are invited back.
If you are invited back you will sit through another group 'interview' where you learn about licensing etc. before you are again pulled out for individual 'interviews'. They will ask you some questions like 'who will you be able to talk to about helping them with investments' before delivering their verdict.
The interview isn't about what you know. It really just isn't. It is about your personality. They are looking for bright, bubbly people to help explain investing to others.
Training consists of getting licensed for insurance and variable products before giving you a script and sending you out to meet with clients. This process takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 4 months depending on your ability to pass the licensing exams.
Once you are in the field, you will have experts brought in several times a month to explain what product they represent and try and help you sell more of that product. This is how you will learn about products other than mutual funds and life insurance.
**they may mention a 'salary base' option during the interview process but the necessary qualifications to get the salary base are difficult and will not be offered unless you ask your hiring manager for the salary option. This will lower your commission from 40% to 20%. That being said, I highly recommend people start with the salary base, despite the difficulty maintaining it. In the beginning you want to focus on referrals and meeting clients rather than actually opening accounts so having some money coming in will make a world of difference.
**another caveat is your ability to pass a thorough background and credit check. This isn't ICM's doing, this is required by FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) for all licensed employees.
Interview Question – They will ask about who you are able to meet with day one. They are just trying to assess your natural market and the probability that you will know enough people to have a comfortable start. View Answer
Negotiation Details – No negotiation. They brought a contract and you sign. I read all the paperwork which made the process take far longer than had been allotted. I don't think they expect you to read it all but READ ALL THE PAPERWORK. Nothing nefarious is waiting for you, but there are there are technical details you will want to know later.
Financial Advisor/Supervisor Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Independent Capital Management.
Interview Details – The first interview is a group interview. This gives us a chance to meet you face to face to see if you'd be a good fit for us as well as to give you a chance to determine whether or not you see a career for yourself here.
The second interview is one on one and lasts about 2 hours. You learn a little bit more about how compensation works and you really get a chance to ask questions about ICM.
Interview Question – How would you market yourself? Answer Question
Financial Services Specialist Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4 days - interviewed at Independent Capital Management in July 2013.
Interview Details – Hiring process consisted of 1 group interview that was consistent other firms that I had interviewed with, it offered an overview and of the industry and what makes them different. They talked a lot about the benefits of being independent agent so that you can do what is right for your client.
Interview Question – The second interview which was a one on one interview; reviewed training bonuses, compensation options, and licensing process. I was asked why I thought I would be good in this industry and what would be my biggest hurdles. View Answer
Negotiation Details – N/A
ENTRY Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied online and interviewed at Independent Capital Management.
Interview Details – Group interview. Cattle Call.
Financial Advisor/Representative Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
Interviewed at Independent Capital Management
Interview Details – They start off by contacting you for an interview then you come in and there is this group of other people and the manager gives a presentation. After that they give you a one on one interview. Then if they like you, then you'll get a call back. The second interview was a bit longer, basic questions. The barely looked at my resume. Then I went home and got an offer.
I have to point that I accepted then declined because of the constant waiting and paying them to work. It should be the other way around. After several 3 months I still wasn't working and ultimately withdrew.
Interview Question – As a full time student how will you balance work and school? Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Financial Services Specialist Interview (Positive Experience; Very Easy Interview)
Interviewed at Independent Capital Management
Interview Details – Applied for the job through Indeed and received an email the next day to schedule an interview. It was a group interview; majority of time we listened to a presentation on the company (which i found to be interesting and informative) and at the end you are taken aside for brief individual interviews. Overall, i thought the people were very nice and the environment was one to foster learning and improvement
Very Easy Interview
Financial Services Specialist Interview (Negative Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Independent Capital Management.
Interview Details – They just go over your resume. They either like it or they dont. They do not rally go over your resume or ask any in depth interview questions. Then there was a 3 hour presentation when i was initially told it was only 2 and then she tells you whether or not she likes you and then you are on your way. I did not feel as though anything would be invested in me. And you are required to pay for fees upfront, which is the new industry standard, but they reimburse you after six months, when industry standard is suppose to be right after you pass your test. This tells me they have a very low retention rate.
Interview Question – None. It was barely an interview. Answer Question
Reason for Declining – Felt like a cattle call. I did not feel as though I earned it.
Financial Services Specialist Interview (Negative Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Independent Capital Management in August 2012.
Interview Details – I have prior industry experience (licenses & financial planning certifications) and I was curious about this company as I worked alongside a co-worker who used to be with them. I "interviewed" at the Ontario location.
First, I was expecting a one-on-one interview. Well, that was not the case. There were about 10 people in this room. We were to turn in our resume's and complete a simplistic job application before the presentation. I was noticing all the faded "success" posters that were framed on the wall. Looked like they've been there for quite a few years. Someone really should replace them.
The presentation was where it all went south for me. It's always a big warning sign when a company with a few offices is talking about "opening an office in every city in America" and are looking for "managers". When I looked around at all the fresh college graduates, I sincerely hoped that they could look through all they hype. It felt more like an MLM meeting. I felt that I was being "pitched" the job. (Hint for management: Talk about expanding in the region or just in the current state. Make it more believable.)
Oh, and "don't ask any questions during his presentation, but make sure you participate." (Another "MLM" sign.) These are/were classic sales techniques to recruit distributors for MLM companies. It simply did NOT sit right with me. In financial services, it is always a best practice for the interviewee to ask more questions than the company recruiter. It shows preparation, seriousness and knowledge of the industry. I had to really try hard to keep my mouth shut from asking questions and/or showing up the interviewer on his lack of knowledge compared to mine. But it would be very uncouth for me to interrupt a presenter.
Also, the presenter paints the career with a truly "rose-colored" brush by talking about the "average income" (which he said was $168,000 per year; I don't think so - closer to about $55k), and the joys of "helping people". Let me tell you something: a dentist pulls out people's teeth and is also "helping people". Sometimes in this industry, you are helping people in spite of themselves. They'll thank you LATER as you develop a relationship over time.
WARNING: This is the ONLY financial services company that said they would reimburse your licensing costs AFTER SIX MONTHS WITH THEM. Every other company either pays for them, or reimburses upon passing. This tells me that something isn't right here. They must be hiring a lot of people and they aren't doing the job. "But it costs us more to hire you than what you'll pay!" C'mon, give me a break. Even if it's true, you're trying to justify this to them... and as you can tell, I simply was not buying it.
If you go to their (substandard) website (I emphasize this because they talked about 'how great the website was" during the presentation), you will see that there are only 18 "managers" with the company. If it was so great to work for, why aren't there more managers?
By constantly promoting the "management track", you are also saying that the job of being a "Financial Services Specialist" is just a sales job. Also, REAL LEGITIMATE companies will hire managers directly into their companies - because the skills to be a manager are vastly different than the skills required to be a top producer.
Also, the fact that you can only get the more advanced licenses (series 7, 66 and others) by becoming a Supervisor, means that they are promoting people OUT of doing more advanced work. This is a typical MLM-type venture, except you don't do any recruiting. Wait, I take that back. It was a Divisional Manager doing the "Career Presentation"... so eventually you WILL be doing the recruiting. This IS an "MLM"... and all the signs are there. At least Primerica and World FInancial Group are up-front about it.
If you promote all your "top salespeople" into management, who is going to grow with your client-base to serve the higher net worth clientele? Yes, you may have the products, but that doesn't mean that you are skilled or equipped to serve their needs. Not all salespeople are cut out to be managers. I'm sure not. But your top salespeople need to stay where they are because good top financial advisors can (and should) make much MORE than their manager.
There is a great opportunity for being a true financial advisor that takes great care of their clients. There is a shortage of good advisors. This is where there are great opportunities... not in "management". If you can learn the art and science of building a clientele, you will know that this is the skill for your financial success in this business, not in "managing and recruiting others".
As you can tell, I'm pretty negative about it. I felt that the entire thing was a waste of my time. But as with any career or investment, always ask yourself "compared to what?" My interview with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management is tomorrow.
- What are you most excited about when you heard about this job? View Answer
- Why did you decide to apply for a position with ICM? View Answer
Reason for Declining – Read my description. As you can tell, I was not going to join this company.