Back-Office Operations Hiring: Is It OK to Hire Inexperienced Staff?

More employment options for applicants mean companies are competing with each other for the best talent, and those that lose out on the top candidates have to settle for second- and third-best.

To further illustrate the hiring challenges for investment managers, a 2017 report from PWC revealed 72% of financial services CEOs see the limited availability of skills as a threat to growth.

Like many hiring managers, you may have little choice but to go with a less experienced candidate, but if you do it right, you can train your own team of reconciliation and performance reporting experts.

5 Aspects to Consider for Middle- and Back-Office Operations Hiring

Look Beyond the Hard Skills

It’s ok to demand a basic level of formal education, in addition to computer and communication skills, but don’t limit your search for a seasoned industry veteran with years of accumulated expertise in your portfolio accounting software.

There is talent out there waiting to be built up if you know the right traits to look for.

Good Character

Think about how this person will fit in with your operations.

You want someone who treats their colleagues and superiors with respect, and they prefer to settle conflict quickly and peacefully. They will listen first and avoid arguments.

They will have the courage to accept responsibility for their reporting errors or failures; their first instinct is not to blame others.

They will give you an honest day of work (and more) because it’s the right thing do.

Work Ethic

Look for an applicant who feels like they have something to prove. Consider a candidate who believes performing hard work is a virtue.

Their happiness and sense of satisfaction is dependent on your happiness and satisfaction with their work, and you want someone who uses your positive feedback as motivation to work harder, not an excuse to be complacent.


Ideally the candidate has a background in finance or accounting, but don’t limit yourself to specific degrees. There are plenty of non-business degree-holders in the industry. The bigger question is what they are capable of.

  • Do they have analytical skills?
  • Do they pay attention for detail?
  • How about solid oral and written communication skills?
  • Do they have the ability to learn hard skills?
  • Are they pursuing a license or certification relevant to their work?

Proven Track Record

They may have had good reviews at another wealth or asset management firm.

They may be a college student or a recent graduate without experience in the industry, but they are looking for an opportunity, and they have consistently received positive reviews wherever they’ve worked. In addition, they have the educational background and skill set to learn new things.

Building Your Ideal Middle- and Back-Office Reporting Team

With a shortage of available talent in the current job market, it is ok to a hire less experienced personnel as long as you know the characteristics to look for.

Select candidates based on potential, not just the finished product.

If you hire the “right inexperience” and are committed to training, you can build a team of middle- and back-office specialists in your image, and in these situations, compensation packages will more often be on your terms than theirs.

You can train someone to run your portfolio accounting software, but you can’t train character and work ethic.


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