The accounting talent war: get the most out of your recruiter

In the accounting profession, the war for top talent is in full force, with the best candidates receiving multiple employment offers. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this profession will grow by 13.1 percent through 2022. US News & World Report even ranked accountant as the number three job on their 2015 Best Jobs list in the business category, partly due to high demand.

With the job market changing, recruiting efforts that worked two years ago may not work today. Organizations hiring the best and brightest are more creative in their approach and act more swiftly than in years past. Some employers think it is simple to land great talent: hire a recruiter, give them the job requirements, and wait. In reality, a strong partnership must exist between a hiring organization and recruiting firm to find the best candidate for a position.

Follow these eight tips to get the most out of your recruitment dollars and save time for everyone involved:

  1. Agree and commit: More recruiters working on a job does not mean more great candidates and a faster hiring process. More than likely, you’ll actually observe a decrease in your recruiting firms’ interest. With a bigger team assigned to handle your request, the odds are lower for any individual recruiter to find the right candidate for you than they would be for a recruiter with whom you have an exclusive relationship. Recruiters are salespeople and devote their energy to opportunities with the greatest possibility of success. Plain and simple, it’s math. However, if you find the right recruiter, commit to him or her, and set clear expectations you will likely receive the attention you expect.
  2. Ask what you are getting: Ask the following questions of your recruiter: How many of your recruiters will work on the job actively? What is your process once my organization commits to your firm? How many positions of this type have you filled in the past six months? Do you specialize in the type of candidate that my organization is trying to recruit? What is the average tenure of recruiters on your team? Do you meet the candidates in person?
  3. Be candid: Every organization has a reputation in their market. If yours could be better, be candid with your recruiter about it. If there was high turnover in the role, something difficult about the hiring manager, or bad press about the organization, educate him or her. Make sure that you and the recruiter are approaching the issue on a united front. Being forthright about the challenges future employees will face in your organization will help your recruiter identify candidates who can handle the challenges and be effective in your environment. If you are worried about making damaging information public, ask your recruiter to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Define what is confidential and what is not, and when to share it with prospective employees.
  4. Ask for guidance: You may be requesting search assistance because a position has been difficult to fill. Inform your recruiter about past tactics employed and ask for advice on improving the process. A great recruiter gives advice, even if it means you may not need their help in the future. Their guidance should help you put your best foot forward during the hiring process, giving interviewees a positive experience and impression of your organization.
  5. Make yourself available: After calling your recruiting agency and informing them of a job opportunity that you need to fill quickly, the recruiter sends you a handful of candidates. Unfortunately, you have not had time to respond and days have passed. Recruiters know everyone is busy during the workday, but sitting on resumes for more than twenty-four hours will cause your recruiter to shift their attention elsewhere and your candidates to be hired by someone else. Worse yet, if your recruiter misunderstood your needs and is recruiting the wrong type of candidate, but you have not reviewed the resumes, you haven’t addressed the issue. A waste of time for everyone involved. It’s crucial to be responsive and available during your candidate search.
  6. Build a relationship: Find a strong recruiting partner. There are many recruiters and, like any profession, not everyone is created equal. You need a recruiter who understands your needs, your organization’s culture, and genuinely wants your business. By building a strong relationship with a leading recruiter in your industry niche, you will find top talent more easily. They might even connect you with your dream job one day!
  7. Actively recruit: If you like sports, you know the best teams have talent scouts who are constantly looking for the next all-star. Similarly, if you know you have a future hiring need, your recruiter can help you keep an eye out for your next all-star. In addition, you can network with others, informing them of your position and what a great opportunity it is.
  8. Follow up with the candidate: Remember to get back to the candidates within a day of reviewing their resume. Set up an interview, and then take the time to sell them on your organization and why they should want to work for you. Remember, they need to prove themselves—but so do you!

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly recruiting specialists can help, contact our team.