Tibergien notes that employer-based organizations such as banks and wirehouses have systems in place to train and integrate new hires, while business owners at smaller firms don't always have the experience, discipline or capacity to groom people to grow the business.

And some advisors, Tibergien says, carry an attitude that creates a negative vibe in the workplace. "Some individual advisors have the attitude of 'I suffered for many years, and if you want to be successful you should suffer too.' The whole idea in business isn't to look at this as an endurance test, but rather as a leverage opportunity."

In other words, use employees wisely to free up the principals so they can do other things to make the company more profitable.

Some young advisors might enter the profession with unrealistic expectations regarding the early part of their careers, Tibergien concedes. "But that can be managed without resentment. The issue is: Are you willing to teach, have patience and channel their energy in a productive way? They may not want to work 80 hours a week, but no wisdom exists that says the longer you work, the better you are."

Avoiding Potholes
LeGrand "Lee" Redfield Jr., president of Asset Management Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn., says he's impressed with the quality of young folks coming out of the Certified Financial Planner programs. But he's having a hard time finding people for positions he wants to fill.

"The people who apply for jobs are just different," says Redfield, 57. "They seem to believe they know more and are smarter than their elders. I know this sounds like every generation from the past.

"Some younger planners don't appreciate what it took to actually build a business," he continues. "What the experienced planner has to offer a younger planner is avoidance of potholes."

Redfield says his firm has several twenty-somethings who were hired as administrative assistants, became paraplanners and are taking courses to become CFPs. But he adds that his firm, which has more than 290 clients with about $215 million in assets, has reached the point where he needs new hires with more training and experience.

"Instead of training somebody from scratch, I'd like to take advantage of someone who's already got a CFP or ChFC and have a leg up beyond just book smarts," he says. "I'll even take an insurance salesman with a CLU."

It would help, Redfield notes, if young job candidates came to interviews with realistic expectations about their roles and their potential value and how to measure them. He says he recently interviewed five job candidates, none of whom could answer two basic questions: 1) At the end of the first year of employment, what metrics would you use to decide if you made the right decision to join this firm? 2) What metric should I use at the end of the first year to decide whether you were a good hire?