In my experience, working with interns has always been a great idea for established advisors. Not only are you giving back by helping to train the next generation of financial planners, but you get much needed help around the office, and a working update on the latest advances in technology and practice management techniques from someone who’s being trained on the leading edge. What’s more and perhaps most important, you also get a preview of a candidate for a permanent advisory position with your firm. From a recruiting and screening standpoint, I can tell you it doesn’t get any better than getting to know someone and observe how they handle various projects and situations over some months right in your own office.
These days, with the competition among advisory firms to hire young planners approaching a frenzy, I’m surprised that hiring advisory interns hasn’t become a common practice among all firms that want to grow beyond a solo practice. (Even solo advisors who don’t have any interest in hiring full-time advisors can greatly benefit from periodically having an intern around to help out). Not only do you get all the above-mentioned benefits of screening potential candidates, but from a recruiting perspective, you get an extended opportunity to showcase why your firm would be an ideal place for a young advisor to begin their professional career.
As I’m sure you’re all too well aware of by now, larger advisory firms with their higher compensation, better benefits, and detailed partnership tracks have substantial recruiting advantages. But they also have an Achilles heel: what looks very much like a corporate culture. Just like your generation, most young planners today aren’t crazy about going to work for a big company–if they were, they’d be in an MBA program. So smaller advisory practices have a powerful trump card to offer: a friendlier atmosphere, more flexible work environment, and better lifestyle. The best way to play to that card is to let young advisors experience it for themselves, as an intern in your firm. Once they see what working at your firm is all about, you’ll be surprised at how often they’ll choose what you have to offer. Right now is the perfect recruitment time to start looking to hire a summer intern in your firm.