Recruiting Top Talent in a Challenging Market

If you’ve tried finding skilled finance and accounting professionals lately, you may have been shocked at what you discovered: It is not as easy to locate candidates as you might have expected.

The job market is changing and it's often difficult for employers to find prospective hires with the requisite skills today. Recruiting top talent requires managers to think creatively and try new strategies.

Here are some to consider:

Following competitive trends

Be alert to what’s going on at other companies. Are you hearing about financial problems at competitors? Are any businesses in your area reorganizing or planning a merger?

Employees at transitioning organizations may be interested in hearing about your opportunities, and people in your network or contacts at recruiting firms may be able to put you in touch with professionals looking to make a move. Recruiting top talent before they’re even in the job market can give you a real advantage.

Paying competitively 

Re-evaluate your salaries frequently to ensure they are competitive. The 2014 Salary Guide from Robert Half can help you track salary trends in the accounting and finance professions (with the 2015 version of the Salary Guide coming in October ... stay tuned!). Salary, perksa sign-on bonus and attractive benefits packages are not everything, but they can help you woo top talent.

Forming alumni networks

Consider setting up a formal system of staying in touch with previous employees. Through an alumni network, you might inform alums of key business news and hiring plans, and allow them to attend company training programs and events.

In doing this, you maintain a strong bond with these individuals, who may decide to return to your organization or let others know you’re a great employer and suggest they apply to your openings.

Looking on campus

This isn’t a particularly unique choice, but it’s one that many employers fail to tap. Most universities hold job fairs, which give you an opportunity to speak with accounting students directly about your opportunities. Be sure to go there with the right mindset, though, recognizing that it’s just as important for you to impress them as it is for them to impress you. Why should future graduates want to join your company? Let them know.

Internships are another great way to uncover promising potential employees. You get to observe people on-the-job and they get to see what it’s like to be a part of your team.

You can’t expect to post an online ad today and have skilled professionals clamoring to join your team. It takes a more concerted effort to find the right candidates. By using some often overlooked sources of applicants, you may tip the scales in your favor.