Finance and Accounting is figuratively the circulatory system of a company. They make certain that the money is flowing to the places it’s needed and sound the alarm if there is not enough of it coming into the business. They are essential players, and you must be able to recruit the talent you need to keep your organization robust.
And yet, finance and accounting positions can be a struggle for many teams to recruit. Getting a hire right is always important, but having the wrong finance people can be one of the most costly hiring mistakes you ever make. You want to warrant that you spend a reasonable amount of time thinking through your recruitment strategy and considering all of the angles.
To make things even more challenging, there is a substantial generational shift underway in the workforce. In the next ten years, millennials (people born between 1980 and 2000) will make up approximately 70 percent of the workforce. With this cohort comes new expectations about working. Never before have employees had such high expectations of their employers and a need for authenticity.
A survey conducted by the Institute of Management Accountants found that 62 percent of senior finance professionals think that recruiting millennials is the most significant challenge their business is facing. To appeal to this hard-working group of workers, it’s worth exercising some avant-garde approaches to connecting with them.
To assist you and the team in getting the right “numbers-people” for your operation, we’ve put together this list of our favourite innovative recruitment methods for finance and accounting positions.
Create a Mini-Documentary about Working at your Company
Most companies, when they are recruiting for a new position, have a LinkedIn listing and a job posting on their website. These methods rely on paragraphs and bullet points to convince a potential candidate that they want to make an effort to apply.
All of these recruitment outreach methods are essential. However, creating a video about what it’s like to work at your company can give an applicant a quick assessment of whether they will be a good fit. To do this right, you will need to provide an overview of what the company does, but then spend most of the time talking with current employees about how they spend their working hours. It’s best to do a project like this with a professional, who can help you to scope and edit the piece. Much as you want it to be fun and informative, poor production quality can quickly derail what you’re trying to accomplish. That said, however, don’t let it become too polished. A balance between authenticity and finish is critical.
When you’re developing the project, consider doing a short segment with each department. You may have an accounting position to fill now, but if you can create a modular documentary that can be customized slightly for a given job, you’ll be ahead of the curve. This fun example was for an Accounting Firm in the UK. It gives you a great sense of how much the staff enjoy working there.
Ask for a Video Application
Candidates entering the workforce now have grown up surrounded by video. Many of them have been making professional-looking shorts since they were in grade school and asking for video submissions to accompany their CV is a great way to get a sense of their potential to fit before bringing them in for an interview. It also allows them to make a first impression in a comfortable setting before entering a potentially anxiety-inducing situation. An excellent option for Accounting and Finance staff is to have a specific scenario for them to address. For example, provide candidates with a series of mock-statements and have them assess the company based on what they’re seeing. In less than two minutes on video, they should be able to give a financial opinion and point out any problems or opportunities.
The Group Hire
A method becoming more common with many accounting firms is to bring in multiple applicants for a team trial. After narrowing the pool to a select few, a group offer is made for a three to six-month contract. The team is then brought on board, where the real analysis begins.
The number of candidates you can bring on will depend on the size and revenue of your company. However, the extra staff can allow you to tackle a backlog and handle some larger projects.
As your group goes along, a great option is to provide them with as many learning opportunities as possible. After a given period, you may only be able to offer permanent positions to one or two candidates, but each of them should feel like it was a valuable placement.
More than ever, employees are looking for opportunities that allow them to work from home, a cafe, or anywhere but the office. And, while Accounting and Finance have been slower to adapt to this new way of working, there is no reason that at least some members of your team couldn’t spend a few days a week working outside the office. We recently wrote a piece on the latest trends in remote working; you can find it here.
While there has been a lot of uncertainty regarding the gig economy, the one thing millennials seem to love about it is the variety of experience it can provide. An exciting way to simulate the gig economy and give some security is to share a resource with another company. It’s becoming more common for employees to have one part-time job and then take on projects as a freelancer on the off days. By working with another company in need of a part-time position, companies are finding they can add just the right amount of accounting support. And if the agreement allows for some ebb and flow, you can take more time during your busy season and let the other company do the same during theirs.
Embracing text messages as a means of communication with potential candidates can be quite effective. A Gallop poll found that texting is the most frequently used form of communication among Americans younger than 50. And by opting to communicate in the way they are most comfortable, you are saying something about your company culture. Another US survey comparing text messages to Email use found that 82 percent of text messages are read within 5 minutes, but users only open 1 in 4 emails they receive. Just be sure to let prospects know that you will be contacting them via text to arrange the next steps.
The words you choose when writing your job posting can heavily influence the applications you receive. The trouble with Finance and Accounting positions is that they have a long history of being thought of as “male” professions. Meaning job descriptions are often subtly written with a slant towards male applicants. We mentioned Textio in a piece we did earlier in the year on workplace diversity. Their research has found that if you have too many bullet lists, fewer women will apply, too few, and a lower number of men will apply. Textio’s augmented writing service allows you to put down your thoughts, and then have the actual words rearranged to appeal to the broadest possible audience. The tech-sector quickly embraced these services, as they had a similar problem in attracting applicants. Companies such as Cisco, Dropbox, and Spotify, have all started augmenting their writing. The finance-sector has been a little slower to adapt. Still, institutions like Credit Suisse, Union Bank, and American Express, have seen the value of communicating effectively to more prospects in this way.
Be Socially Responsible
It’s no longer ok for a company to go without having a corporate social responsibility plan. Customers are making product choices based on how organizations give back to their community, and the same is true with job applicants. If you plan to recruit Millennials to your Accounting or Finance department, a Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study found that 76 percent of Millennials consider a company’s CSR commitments when deciding where to work. If you want to dig a little deeper on Corporate Social Responsibility and hiring, be sure to have a look at this piece, we published this past spring.
If you’re trying to innovate your recruitment methods for Finance and Accounting positions, we would be happy to lend a hand. As a staffing agency with nearly fifteen years of experience, LRO Staffing has helped many companies adapt their methods to find just the right candidates.