Posted by Rebekah McLain on Monday, December 22, 2014 - 00:00
As the economy continues to recover, many organizations are looking to expand, including adding new positions to the finance function. But employers now face a new dilemma: The demand for the most sought-after finance and accounting professionals far exceeds the supply.
One solution employers are finding is working with employment agencies. We spoke to Steven Fields, Robert Half Senior Vice President, to see what employers need to know about working with skilled staffing specialists , and how to maximize the value of recruiting solutions.
What do you need to be prepared?
While employment agencies can handle most of the hiring process for you, they’ll still need your involvement to deliver the best results. To most effectively use external staffing solutions to find candidates who are a good fit with your organization’s needs, it helps to come to the table prepared, Fields says.
Along with the basics — like salary and benefits — provide employment agencies with a job description detailing the technical requirements, responsibilities and experience needed for the position. Your description should also include soft skills , such as written and spoken communication. Finally, Fields notes that candidates are often interested in the corporate culture of an organization, so you’ll need to provide a depiction of what your working environment is like.
What can you do to attract difficult-to-find talent?
As Fields points out, accounting and finance positions are currently in high demand. Those especially challenging to staff are roles requiring specific IT skills along with an accounting-and-finance background, such as the business systems analyst.
So what benefits come from working with employment agencies? Specialized recruitment firms have access to a wide array of top-notch financial talent that most employers lack. In addition, they save you much of the time and trouble that comes along with scouring resumes and vetting applicants in order to find the candidate that best suits your company’s needs and corporate culture.
However, in order to get the best results possible when working with recruiters, Fields notes employers should offer some flexibility in their search, particularly for areas that can be gained while on the job. “Businesses are best served by making sure they have not listed as requirements attributes that are nice to have but not entirely necessary for a position,” he said. “Anything that employers can provide leeway on in terms of requirements, such as experience, software skills or salary, will help. The more flexible you are, the more your candidate pool increases.”
For example, if you’re looking to staff a position and one of the requirements is fluency in Oracle, you risk significantly decreasing your pool of candidates compared to if you asked more broadly for ERP expertise. By dropping certain software knowledge or experience levels, knowing you can provide more training to bring new employees up to speed, you will bring your skilled candidate numbers back up.
Here’s another consideration: As employees increasingly strive for work-life balance, commute times play a factor into whether they’ll take a position. Some prospective employees are more willing to accept a job that’s farther from home if they’ll only have to make the drive two or three times a week . Opportunities that include the shorter work week and longer days telecommuting are very appealing to candidates.
With the limited supply of financial talent, there’s no time like the present to consider working with employment agencies. Employers that come to the table prepared the take full advantage of agencies’ expertise can help keep their financial departments staffed and operating at peak efficiency.
What financial roles are you finding difficult to staff? How has working with employment agencies helped in your search? Share your experiences in the comments section.