By Virginia McCoy, Ingenuity Marketing Group
Your strategy for recruiting the best talent needs to change.
That’s what we learned when speaking to some recent hires in accounting. We interviewed experienced candidates and graduates to find out what they really want from their next firm.
Impress candidates in person and online
You may have been around for 50 years, but recruits will only notice you if you’re showing up where they are. Recruits need to know your firm exists. Stay visible in the industry by sending staff to association events and continually expanding your network. One hire we spoke to recently moved from Tennessee to San Francisco. Instead of contacting a recruiter or headhunter, he spoke with partners at his firm to find out if they had any recommendations through the firm’s affiliation with BKR International, one of the largest global certified public accounting firm associations. His partners connected him with another BKR firm, where he accepted an offer.
Another way to create a great first impression is through social media. According to LinkedIn Talent Solutions 2016 Global Recruiting Trends, social professional networks are the top spot in sources of quality hires. Share articles and photos on Facebook and LinkedIn when staff attend events. This will position your firm as a place to learn, grow and stay active in the industry. Plus, social media channels are a way to stay in touch with prospective hires while they finish school or gain experience elsewhere. By staying current in the online space, you will stay in front of prospects and be top of mind when they make the decision to pursue a new opportunity.
Modernize your physical space and technology
The physical environment of your firm may not seem like a factor in the recruiting process, but it is increasingly significant. The recent hires we spoke with ranked “a comfortable and modern office” as high as compensation and benefits!
“The physical environment is very important to me. I need the space to be comfortable in order to do my best for our clients,” one recent hire said.
Recent graduates and experienced professionals also have a high expectation for updated technology and software in the workplace.
“I expect firms to stay current, even if they’re not cutting edge. Fraud is an issue and we need to make sure our systems are safe,” said another recent hire.
Make your internship the real deal
Do your interns make coffee runs, or are they purposefully staffed on client service teams? Give them a realistic expectation of what they will be doing at your firm. They may understand the concepts they learned in a classroom, but applying it to the real world is a different story. Plus, if they are being underused at your firm and then talk to a peer about their experience, other potential candidates could decide your firm isn’t an option either. Those are the candidates you want — the ones who want to roll up their sleeves, learn and make a difference every day.
Another real world lesson for candidates is acknowledging the best fit firm for them. Maybe they’re comfortable at a large, national firm in an urban setting. Alternatively, they may want the experience of a small, local firm in a close-knit community. Be ready to help your interns set up these expectations through the content on your website careers pages (sharing lifestyle information as well as benefits), and other recruitment materials. This will help them make a decision faster about the lifestyle considerations of potential firms — and keep your firm on their “must-visit” list.
Let them talk to the team
To find the best talent, go beyond the traditional interview. One Houston-based firm we spoke with invites candidates to a company happy hour and peer lunch so they can meet most of the team.
“After I went through the formal interview process, I got to go to lunch with a few of my peers and ask questions. I liked the informal interview style and the opportunity to interview my peers about the culture of the firm,” a recent hire said.
If you hadn’t considered this before, you’re not alone. The LinkedIn Talent Solutions report revealed that a good relationship with superiors and colleagues was valued 10 percent more by young professionals than what recruiting leaders thought.
Your interview questions should also reflect the firm’s core values and vision as well as the roles and responsibilities on the job. Right-fit candidates must reflect the strengths and values of the firm because today’s candidates consider the workplace completely integrated with their lives.
Do you want to make a great first impression with candidates in today’s competitive environment? Talk to Ingenuity about how we help firms compete for talent through their brand impression and recruitment communication strategies in person and online.
Virginia McCoy is a communications consultant at Ingenuity Marketing Group. She helps accounting firms use talent branding to attract qualified candidates. Reach her at 651-690-3358 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @vmccoy. Learn more at www.ingenuitymarketing.com.
This article was originally published on the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants website.