Having trouble finding talent? – CPA Practice Advisor

Whether you’re a machine parts manufacturer or a CPA business, your competitiveness and growth are jeopardized when you can’t find the people with the skills you need.

In the age of the “great quit” and the dwindling number of accounting graduate students, many companies are addressing this particular issue. Candidates with strong skills and qualifications can expect to receive multiple job offers right now, leading to a sort of arms race in which employers offer ever-higher compensation to secure exceptional hires.

The talent is there

These are potentially high performers who, for one reason or another, are not targeted by your current outreach strategies (or those of other companies). Perhaps they come from underserved communities and have not had the same educational opportunities as their peers. Maybe they took time off from their careers, leaving them with a job gap on their resume. Maybe they don’t have the specific configuration of skills and credentials that most job postings ask for, causing them to settle for part-time positions or even drop out of the industry altogether or Workforce.

How is such a talent ignored? In some companies, the answer is simple: in the name of efficiency, recruiters and hiring managers select too many candidates. Their hiring processes focus on what candidates lack (credentials and unbroken work history) rather than what they have (raw talent and potential). The result is that a diverse population of skilled employees (CPAs or otherwise) either go untargeted by employers or are left out of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) designed to minimize the number of people considered.

5 tips for finding talent

You can take steps today to start the process of finding and hiring talent. Consider these five tips.

Review your job descriptions

Job descriptions can spiral out of control if left unchecked. Over time, hiring managers often add new requirements and valuable skills without removing old ones. This results in unwieldy job descriptions that can be off-putting to potential employees, who may not have recently had the opportunity to hone their skills and therefore feel they don’t meet your expectations. requirements (obsolete).

Start pruning. Ask your incumbent CPAs to rate how well your job descriptions match their actual day-to-day responsibilities. What value do these valuable skills add to their work and how easy would it have been for them to acquire these skills on the job or with training? When revamping your job descriptions, you may also find that it is more effective to describe essential soft skills (e.g. “ability to adapt to new challenges in a fast-paced, dynamic environment). fast”) to reach hidden talents than using vaguely worded descriptions of nice-to-have technical skills (e.g. “Experience with ERP systems”)

Reconfigure your ATS

Applicant tracking systems save recruiters time and money. They can be used to market vacancies, schedule interviews, and screen out unsuitable candidates.

But what if none of the candidates who pass the strict ATS filters accept the job? This is a possibility in today’s hiring market. Or what if they accept but leave after six months when a competitor makes them an offer they can’t refuse? As a result, the savings in time and money are less clear.

Then there is the term “unsuitable”. Your ATS can weed out hidden talents that don’t tick all the boxes, but could perform at the highest level with a little support and training. Do you really want to exclude people because they have a gap in their work history or let their CPA license expire? Redesign your ATS so that it screens out fewer candidates with the potential to succeed in the role. If that means more interviews, so be it – in the age of video interviews, that might not unbalance your workload as much as you’d like.

Customize your integration and training programs

Not all top performers need to be up and running right away. While experienced candidates with up-to-date skills can quickly reach their expected productivity levels, hidden talents may need a bit more onboarding and training time. Failure to provide such resources may lead groups such as entry-level professionals and people returning to the workforce to assume that they are not a good fit for your organization.

Also, the business case for upskilling, mentoring and other career development programs is easy to make. In a time of skyrocketing quit and attrition rates, any investment in fostering employee engagement and loyalty should yield a solid return. Hidden talent can be harder to find, but with the right training and support, it’s also harder to lose.

Update your organizational culture

Your ability to recruit hidden talents does not only depend on your recruiters. You can have the most flexible and inclusive hiring process in the world, but if those same qualities don’t permeate your organizational culture, new hires may start considering exit soon after they arrive — or even before. that you don’t offer them a job.

Even the smallest business can apply the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to ensure everyone feels like they belong in your organization. You can convey your DEI commitments to potential candidates by removing non-inclusive and gender-specific language from your job descriptions, posting employee testimonials on your website, and posting visual or written content on your social media channels that show a diverse, cohesive and motivated workforce.

Flexibility is another particularly important strategy for attracting new candidates. A key factor behind the “Great Resignation” is the reluctance of many employers to allow remote work options. Offering flexible and hybrid work is a great way to attract top talent in general, and hidden talent in particular, including groups such as working parents and caregivers who need such flexibility.

Reaching Passive Candidates

Not all hidden talent has been marginalized or excluded from the current hiring market. In fact, the person you need most may have been happily employed by one of your competitors for years and doesn’t even have an up-to-date resume.

We call these professionals passive candidates – and they’re notoriously hard to reach. Even if they are open to the right opportunity, they are unlikely to advertise this fact on LinkedIn. A smart approach is to work with a talent solutions company, which will have extensive candidate networks and work with passive candidates on a daily basis. They can act as trusted middlemen, connecting your company to a candidate you would never have known existed otherwise.

The fight for talent is real, but it’s not impossible to win. By expanding your lens to focus on candidates your rivals may have missed, you can maintain your competitiveness when you need it most.


Paul McDonald is Senior Executive Director of recruiting and talent solutions company Robert Half. He writes and speaks frequently on topics related to hiring, the workplace, leadership and career management. In over 35 years in the recruitment industry, he has advised thousands of business owners and job seekers on how to hire and get hired.

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