In the world of accounting, the importance of hiring top talent can’t be overstated. After all, your team is the heart and soul of your firm. In today’s competitive market, hiring employees who have the hard and soft skills needed to help your business grow isn’t always easy. Fortunately, hiring and retaining top talent is entirely possible as long as you use some critical employee recruitment strategies. The good news is that once you learn how to hire top talent, it gets much easier moving forward. Discovering some of the most common challenges associated with hiring new employees lets you proceed with confidence.
Challenge: Recruiting Employees
Solution: Become More Visible
One of the biggest hurdles when learning how to hire top talent is making it possible for applicants to find your company. One of the secrets of hiring top talent is letting the most motivated applicants come to you. After all, go-getters make fantastic employees. The challenge is making your accounting firm not only visible, but also noteworthy. Your goal is to be the first choice when all-star applicants are seeking a new job.
So how do you become more visible? These days, the best approach is to analyze and improve your current web presence. Does your website state that your firm is hiring? Do you have listings on all of the major online job boards? Are you connecting with other accounting professionals on LinkedIn? Do your social media followers know that you’re expanding your team? Most job seekers start their search online, so make sure that your firm is listed on every relevant online platform.
Challenge: Retaining Staff
Solution: Hire for Longevity
According to Statistics Canada, on average, Canadians tend to hold their positions for around 100 months, or eight years-give or take. While eight years seems like a long time, your goal should be to find team members who are going to stick with your firm for the long haul. When you have a solid core team to rely on, and you don’t have to spend money hiring in the future. You may even end up hiring your successor. Of course, it’s impossible to predict how long an employee is going to stick around, but you can take steps to improve your odds.
First and foremost, make sure you’re crystal-clear when describing what the position entails. You want to be on the same page as the applicant before their first day, with no unwelcome surprises to drive them away. Second, make sure you ask them about their long-term goals during the interview. Third, check their previous employment dates. Do they have a history of bouncing from one job to the next? If so, it’s wise to keep looking.
Finally, create a work culture that encourages people to stay. Little things like buying the team lunch once in a while, decorating the office, or letting employees listen to music while they work can go a long way in boosting morale, which naturally improves employee retention. If you create a positive, welcoming environment, your team is going to be much more likely to stick around for many years to come.
Challenge: Shortage of Top Talent
Solution: Hire for Soft Skills (Then Train)
Finding all-star applicants can be seriously difficult, especially if your firm isn’t the biggest or most well-known in the area. The best applicants are usually going to seek out prestigious firms that pay more, offer benefits, and come with a sense of clout. If you’re not able to compete with the perks offered by larger firms, it may be impossible to hire those top candidates.
The solution is to hire candidates based on soft skills, and then mold them into ideal employees. After all, hard skills can be learned, but it’s the less-tangible skills that give an employee inherent potential for greatness. For example, say an applicant just got out of school, they don’t have much concrete experience, but they have excellent communication and leadership skills. While their credentials may hold them back elsewhere, if you’re willing to focus on what they do bring to the table, you might end up with a fantastic employee who’s grateful for the opportunity to learn and improve. While you may have to spend more time and effort training them at first, often the long-term results are well-worth the investment.
Challenge: Identifying Qualified Applicants
Solution: Test Your Candidates
Sometimes it takes more than a resume and cover letter to prove one’s qualifications. Even if a potential hire has relevant knowledge and experience, that doesn’t guarantee that they’re going to be able to handle your unique firm’s needs. You want to be sure that someone you’re considering hiring is going to be able to acclimate to your company before you actually sign a contract.
To overcome this challenge, you can test your applicants to ensure that they do have the specific knowledge required to fulfill the role. You could create a test or use online accounting tests. In addition to testing candidates on accounting-specific questions, you can also incorporate personality-based questions that help you to better understand who your applicant is as a person and if they’re going to fit into your company’s culture.
Challenge: Hiring New Employees Quickly
Solution: Develop a Dedicated Hiring and Training Team
When it comes to hiring new team members, often time is of the essence. While it’s important that you find the right candidates, you also need to keep up your firm’s forward momentum, and the hiring and training processes can slow things down considerably. Even after you’ve hired the perfect candidate, helping a new hire to get acclimated to a new position takes time and effort, and your employees may not be willing or able to dedicate their time to helping a new hire adjust.
You can speed up the hiring and training process by creating a dedicated team that handles hiring and training. While it’s not usually practical to have a team work on hiring for eight hours a day, having them dedicate an hour or two on a consistent schedule can go a long way in hastening the hiring process without drastically uprooting their day.
As an added bonus, having a team work on hiring tends to help with eliminating bias in the hiring process. While the final decision still comes down to the hiring manager, your hiring team can filter through candidates so only the all-stars come in for the big interview. They can even use video interviewing to further streamline the process for everyone involved.
Additionally, you can create hiring and training materials to make the process more streamlined and effective. For example, you might give your interviewers a list of questions to ask and a checklist of skills to look for. You can have them hold mock interviews so they get more comfortable and familiar with the interviewing process. Then, once the hiring process is complete, you can have the team switch to training mode without drastically changing the structure of the work day. Be sure to provide concrete training materials that the new hire can reference, as needed.
Challenge: Reaching the Technically Skilled
Attract Quality Hires with Cloud Accounting Software
When hiring top talent, sometimes all it comes down to is providing a suitable work environment. Today’s up-and-coming accounting professionals want to use the latest cutting-edge technology. If your firm still relies on outdated spreadsheets, it may be time for an upgrade. Not only does using the latest accounting software make your workplace more appealing to the new generation of accounting pros, it also helps your firm run more efficiently, boosting your bottom line. QuickBooks Online Accountant helps you manage projects, tasks, and clients together. Sign up for free.