The institutionalization of larger advisory firms gives smaller firms a tremendous recruiting advantage–and opportunity. The hardest part of bringing a young advisor into a small firm is the time and effort it’s going to take in the first year or so to bring them up to speed. The good news is that the larger firms have already done that for you, and they’ve done it with the best young candidates that money can buy. Here are a few suggestions on how you can successfully compete in what’s quickly becoming a very hot recruiting market for these blue-chip prospects:
o Be flexible. If you want to run your business like a Nazi, go work at a bank. One of the biggest advantages a small firm has is that it’s not institutionalized. Don’t lose that. No time clocks, rigid rules, or other inflexibility. Your pay scale won’t be as high, benefits won’t be as good, and they won’t make as much as a partner, later. They know that, but are willing to trade it all for a better job in a better environment. Make sure that’s exactly what you’re offering.
o Don’t be cheap. I know it’s hard to believe, but there are some advisors who will see this as an opportunity to get a great deal on an experienced advisor. Resist the urge. Even in this environment, you won’t get a superstar at a bargain. What you will get is a good, experienced young advisor at a very fair wage. That’s more than enough. Just count your lucky stars, and don’t blow it. These kids won’t be as unsophisticated as you might want to believe. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot with a low-ball offer. Would you work for someone like that? Just be fair: it’s all they want, and what you should want to be.