The Upside of Challenge
At SEI, we are always in pursuit of the ideal candidate– someone who is both a good fit for SEI and for whom SEI is a good fit. We are diligent in this search because the right people are essential to maintaining our culture and ensuring our future. Part of that pursuit is transparency. We have a lot to be excited about, and that’s clear to candidates in the interview process. But like any company, SEI has its challenges. We have areas for development and spaces in their infancy. Throughout the interview process, we do our best to share a candid perspective on our strengths and challenges so that candidates have a realistic view of SEI and how they can contribute when they join the company. Here are some of the challenges our consultants are working on right now:
Challenges That Come with Growth
Our guiding principles are centered on steady, predictable growth. With growth, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring our consultants are building strong relationships within their office and across the country. To address that, our consultants have created programs such as “Six Degrees of Collaboration” lunches, giving small groups of consultants the opportunity to socialize and get to know the people they don’t see every day. Ladies’ Lunches, various social events (such as Ladies’ Nights Out and bowling), and lunches organized for those who work from home are just a few examples of events planned by SEIrs and leadership in an effort to make a growing office “smaller”. Additionally, the Advocate program ensures a direct line to a seasoned consultant who can and will help the “newbie” navigate these new waters.
Finding the Right People
At SEI, finding the right candidate takes time. Most candidates will have several interviews (in person and over the phone). From our perspective, this is an investment in time and resources, but one well worth making. The “Ideal Candidate” is a collection of traits, experience, and personality and it takes time and effort to identify and vet these traits. We feel that we minimize risk in the long run by investing the time up front to make sure there is a good fit both for SEI and for the candidate. It can be a lengthy process for everyone involved, but hiring the right people is the most critical aspect of our business.
Our focus is on building long term relationships with clients. And while every consultant would love to work on the most strategic project in the company, there are times when clients need us to help with basic blocking and tackling. To earn client loyalty, we need to consistently demonstrate that we will be there to assist in any way we can, even if it’s not the most glamorous assignment. There is always something to learn and new ways to contribute, no matter how we are serving the client on any given day.
Building Brand Awareness
SEI is not a household name. Many of our candidates have experience working for organizations whose business card can open doors for them. Building brand awareness is a more organic process at SEI, one where every consultant plays a role, whether it’s through client delivery, a networking event or their child’s soccer game. Our opportunities are more often the result of our work product and relationships. A cross-office team of consultants leads multiple initiatives to support the company in our branding efforts and help everyone at SEI take an active role in our brand awareness efforts.
As we encounter new challenges, our consultants are empowered to approach leadership with their concerns and contribute to the solution. We employ an open book concept, where we discuss everything that impacts our organization, whether good or bad. Candidates should expect that same candor in our interview process. While the passion and excitement of our consultants comes through loud and clear in the interview process, we also want our candidates to have insight into the challenges they’ll be helping us solve.