Employers Needing Accounting and Finance Talent: Don’t Tarry!

Following what is now commonly called the “Great Recession,” employers have not seemed to shake the misperception that it is still a buyer’s market out there when it comes to attracting and hiring strong finance and accounting professionals. If you are a hiring manager and have attempted to hire recently, you have probably discovered that nothing could be further from the truth! Consider:

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the third quarter of 2013, the unemployment rate for financial analysts, financial managers, accountants and auditors, and bookkeepers ranged from 2.5 percent to 3.3 percent, well below the current national average of 7.0 percent.
  • Employers are recognizing the value of the personnel they have, and the volume of counteroffers, despite being an ineffective retention strategy, has shot up dramatically in the past year!
  • Those employees who have demonstrated the ability to be strong performers, with progressive career growth and good credentials and systems skills, are not just getting one offer when they put themselves out on the market, but multiple offers!

What is an employer to do in this environment?

  • Streamline your hiring process. In order to compete, you must act with a sense of urgency. Modify your hiring timeline to be as short as possible from the time you receive a resume to the point of offer. The most effective employers will do a short phone screen by a knowledgeable member of the team who knows what is required by the position, and then set up a half day to full day of interviews with the key decision makers. Dragging the interview process out for multiple visits will result in the loss of talent to other employers who can act more decisively. In addition, most of your targeted recruits are working and thus cannot afford to miss work frequently for interviews.
  • Utilize multiple resources to find the top talent. Many HR departments simply do not have the in-house resources to dedicate the time it takes to weed through hundreds of incoming resumes and online profiles to find the talent their hiring managers require. In addition to posting ads and using social media, tap into the hiring managers’ professional network, including recruiters, to get the best in your market.
  • Seek out the hidden, passive talent in the marketplace. Recognize that with an unemployment rate that is so low, you are often missing the best talent if you are only targeting the active job seekers through ads, etc. Specialized recruiters can help you find the talented individuals who are not scouring the job boards, but rather rely on their network to bring them the premier career opportunities.
  • Treat potential applicants with respect. Be responsive to potential new hires throughout the hiring process. Whether you hire them, pass them over, or consider them for future opportunities, your treatment of people matters. They will share their impressions of your organization – good or bad – with others. The worst thing you can do to is to not follow up with candidates who you have interviewed or provide any feedback about decisions. The more communication, the better!
  • Develop succession plans. In this competitive environment, all employers risk losing their best and brightest. Create a process to recruit, develop and promote top talent and then communicate regularly with those key employees to ensure they are aware of their performance, opportunities and path forward. 

Two great additional resources you may want to check out: