Interns speak up- Six tips for recruiting advisors of the future

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Schwab RIA Intern program

At Schwab, we're committed to supporting the growth of the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) industry and to helping firms attract and retain top talent. Our Schwab RIA Intern Program prepares college students for careers at RIA firms by letting them explore the different facets of the independent advisory business firsthand. Out of hundreds of applicants, top candidates from universities across the country are selected to participate. The goal: to build a bridge that connects the advisors of today with the talent of tomorrow.

We thank the interns who contributed to this article (left to right): Rachel Frame, Carnegie Mellon University; Tara O'Connell, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Shivani Modi, University of Delaware; Amanda Webb, University of Florida, Amorette Hernandez, University of Notre Dame; Daniel Vosskuhler, Northern Arizona University; Christopher Adamo, Lafayette College; and Grant Gillem, Southern Methodist University.

Recruiting Gen Z and Millennial talent requires an understanding of their views on issues like culture, technology, and diversity. Several of our 2019 RIA interns jumped at the opportunity to provide insight and help inform the industry's approach to talent-acquisition strategies. Here's what they had to say.

  1. Offer internships. We know recruiting can be a big undertaking. Advisory firms may lack the resources to staff a dedicated recruiter to canvass college campuses nationwide. A scalable alternative is to offer internships. The great thing about internships is that they're short-term, low-risk opportunities for both advisors and potential recruits. Advisors get to test new talent, while interns gain valuable, hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of the RIA industry. 
  2. Help us see a path forward. There's so much ambiguity when starting a career. Help us hit the ground running with clearly defined career paths. Set expectations for our roles, provide opportunities to expand our skills, and have conversations about the firm's goals—and ours. Show us how we fit into your firm now and down the line. Clarity brings out the best in new talent and inspires commitment from employees.
  3. Embrace technology. We grew up with technology. For us, user-friendly tech is less of a game changer and more of a must-have. We know technology can improve client experiences, grow firms, and save time. That's why we want to work for a firm that openly embraces new technology. When a firm invests in tech, it sends a message that the firm is invested in its success, its employees, and the future.
  4. Put your brand out there. We are interested in working for a firm whose mission and values align with our own. That's why it's important to communicate who your firm is and what it stands for. Promoting your brand purpose and culture can help you connect with the right candidates—and clients. Express your unique brand identity on your website, on social channels, in the office, and out in the world.
  5. Take pride in diversity. Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet. We're drawn to organizations that value all genders, sexual orientations, races, and ethnicities. Create a welcoming and inclusive work environment. When you build a culture that embraces diversity, you're signaling that you value a wide range of thought, experiences, and beliefs.
  6. Tap our networks and create an employee-referral culture. Great talent keeps good company. Whether it's a promising intern or a recent hire, don't overlook their network when searching for new talent. Consider offering referral incentives. These are great ways to motivate your current employees to reach out to their friends and acquaintances. You may just find the perfect fit for your firm. 

Schwab RIA Intern Program Class of 2019 

Thanks for the opportunity to share our ideas. We look forward to joining the RIA industry and building a stronger future together.

If your firm is looking to connect with rising talent or simply looking to learn more, check out the Schwab RIA Intern Program.