magnifying jobs

Hiring for your accounting firm? Here's what you need to know

Tax season is here, are you fully staffed?

Tax season is heating up… along with utter chaos in the world!

If tax is a huge part of your firm, it most likely means your team is under additional stress to deliver for your clients... and that's amazing for those clients.

But it puts a lot of stress on and usually maxes out the capacity of our teams. It doesn’t just impact our accountants, but also the rest of our back-office staff, like HR!

And recruiting still has to happen.

Recruiting takes time and effort

The issue is that recruiting takes effort… and it's not just from the HR team posting the jobs. Managers need to be prepared to screen & interview the candidates flowing in.

What normally happens during the busy season is managers might not have time to interview, so they don't create job requisitions. They don't ask HR to post those jobs, or they might even ask HR to turn them off… and HR may disable job ads because they don't believe the managers are prepared to do the interviewing.

While this might cut down on some noise for the managers & HR, the problem is that when it comes time to hire again, there won't be any active job seekers in the pipeline.  That means starting the whole recruiting process at zero… and waiting potentially weeks to be able to start interviewing qualified candidates.

The mistake here is really quite simple.

You should start the hiring process BEFORE you need to hire

The whole job requisition process, which in the HR world has to do with having a very methodical process for getting approval to hire somebody. That approval to hire normally is what prompts HR to post a job and get applicants flowing.

This is just how HR has always done things based on the idea that the time to post a job is when somebody quits, gets fired, or the manager needs more help.

The problem is that at this point the manager is most likely urgently needing help, and getting more desperate by the day.

And HR is pushed to quickly get applicants flowing, so they don’t slow down to ensure that they have created a solid ad that will get good results.

Instead, they just quickly post their old ad, one that might not have done that well in the past, and pray that people apply.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Here’s the right approach to hiring 

STEP ONE - Separate Sourcing from Interviewing.

1. You've got to separate the process of sourcing/screening candidates from the process of interviewing/hiring people.

You have to mentally separate it in the minds of your entire team… by changing to a setup where you are always looking for talent.  You are always sourcing & screening… even when you aren’t actively interviewing/hiring!

2. You have to break the process apart. The requisition process of getting approval to hire somebody should be the approval to start interviewing… but it should have no impact on your sourcing. 

Your core job ads should be live & generating qualified applicants all the time! As applicants apply, someone can screen and rank them, and send them more information about what your firm has to offer.

STEP TWO - Build a Sourcing Engine.

  1. Identify the core jobs that you hire for consistently.

  2. Build target personas for each role so that we know who we are trying to attract.

  3. Write amazing ad variations that will convince those personas to want to apply.

  4. Create a distribution drumbeat where those ads are posted & shared all over the internet. This isn’t just about job boards but needs to expand into social media & email blasting as well.

  5. Most importantly… get your whole team involved in sharing jobs online. Jobs shared by employees have added credibility, and are much more likely to generate qualified candidates than those shared just by HR.

STEP THREE - Decide who will run your Sourcing Engine.

You most likely need to have a separate person driving sourcing & screen. While this might seem unnecessary… or that this is just part of the other HR duties.. without having a dedicated person over time you’ll see sourcing get put on the back burner, and it will end up harming your recruiting results.

There are 3 options to execute this approach 

#1 - Doing it in-house.

They might have an internal HR team that handles sourcing. The problem is those folks don't usually have the time.

Some might dump it on to somebody else like an admin assistant, or hire a part-time person to do it. Problem is that it won't be a priority, and more importantly, they might not have the knowledge of how to create & execute a winning Recruiting Strategy.

I’ve seen Accounting Firms even go so far as hire dedicated recruiters… but it's expensive to hire full-time recruiters to do this because the ones that are good would be better off being head hunters.

The biggest issue I see for most firms that do this in-house is that they don’t have the right recruiting strategy, and just end up doing the same things that didn’t work in the past, and aren’t working for any other firms in our new hiring environment.

#2 - Hiring a Head Hunters or Recruiting Firms.

When it comes to outsourcing the sourcing of candidates, most accounting firms default to head hunters & 3rd party recruiters.

The problem with that is that it costs a percentage of first-year pay… that’s pretty expensive.

And it's also insanely risky.

It’s risky because those recruiters maintain their relationships with your new hires, and most of their contracts give them the ability to recruit those hires away from you 12 months later and refer them to one of your competitors.

#3 - Hire a Recruitment Marketing Agency!

This is a new type of service to the recruiting world… that most accounting firms have never even heard of. 

Let me take a minute and explain

What does a Recruitment Marketing Agency do?

The best way to think about is to compare it to your current options.

Your Team = your HR team comes up with a strategy, buys software, writes ads, posts to job boards and social, create screening processes, and puts in the labor to try to make it work

Head Hunters =  have their own pool of candidates, and send you a few to look at.  While you might hire one of those people, a recruiter doesn’t help you build a future talent pool.  They build that pool for themselves and charge you a fee every time you want someone out of it.  You are basically addicted to paying them that high %.

Recruitment Marketing Agencies = a team of experts who act as an extension of your team. They bring with them a proven strategy, expert consultants, a team of writers, and advanced tools & technology. Their goal is to help your firm not just fill your open roles today but to help you build an engine that creates a future talent pipeline for your jobs.

The big difference is that they're doing things in your firm's name, using your logo, your brand, connecting to your career site & the applicant tracking system, which means that you own the applicant pool that's being created.

This is the best bang for the $... not just today but for your future recruiting… and it’s why every Accounting Firm should be talking to a Recruitment Marketing Agency in 2022.

Would you like some help?

If you'd like to talk more about this, I'd love to set up a free 30-minute hiring consultation? Click the button below!

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