Supporting your Recruiting Team During the Great Resignation and Beyond
We have all heard about the “Great Resignation” and how the talent pool for the accounting profession is dwindling. If you are new to marketing for accounting, you are likely wondering what the reality of the current accounting profession landscape is and how you can contribute to the recruitment process of bringing in enough of the right people. Whether directly or indirectly, marketing plays a crucial role in the candidate journey, employee engagement, and overall culture of the firm. This article will walk through the current landscape recruiters are up against, what your hiring team wants you to know and how you can help.
Trends and Current Landscape
If anything is certain, it’s that the accounting and finance recruiting landscape is constantly changing, and today, we are in a candidate-driven market. There is an overwhelming trend of people leaving their current jobs and either going to other firms, into an industry role or simply retiring. The number of accounting graduates continues to trend down or remain flat, and the industry is still feeling the decreased number of graduates sitting for the CPA exam due to the pandemic. These statistics alone are a recruiter’s nightmare.
What does all this mean? Your recruiters, along with firm management, are challenged to be flexible and to better understand what is important to employees and potential new hires. For example, accounting professionals have come to embrace a remote and/or hybrid schedule. After being forced to work from home for some extent of time in 2020 and beyond, people realized that the work can be done well from anywhere, all while having a better balance at home. In this new candidate-driven market, flexible work options are only one of many newer essential benefits crucial to remaining competitive in recruiting and retaining talent.
Compensation and benefits remain some of the most important factors considered when looking for a new job. While it is important to remain competitive from a total compensation standpoint, it is more crucial than ever for job seekers to understand where leadership is taking the firm, for them to get a glimpse of your firm’s culture and values, that they can envision their role in the firm and that they can foresee professional and personal growth opportunities. For some firms, this is a major shift in how they approach recruiting and associated messaging, both internally and externally.
The job market went global in what seems like overnight. This shift impacted small to mid-market/regional firms more so than larger, national firms. People are now searching, finding your job openings, and learning about your firm from all over the globe. Candidates are typically tech-savvy and well-informed; therefore, it is critical to make certain that there is brand consistency across all your channels. Use technology to your advantage to showcase the great things about your firm and why people should want to work there. Recruiting teams may have historically only focused on the materials, website content, etc. that fell under their umbrella, but ensuring there is consistency in what candidates may read, see or hear about is essential.
Meet with your recruiting team and talk about what they are using to communicate to potential candidates. Does it need a refresh? Marketing typically “owns” much of the data and statistics that potentially play an integral role in their approach. Sharing email, social media, and website traffic metrics are some of the basics that recruiting needs but may not have access to. If candidates are more engaged in one channel versus another, help recruiting see this so they can shift priorities and expend more time in the areas that are working.
For example, if the data indicates that people are highly driven to the firm’s recruiting page from social media posts and after recruiting events, be sure you know what recruiting events they are attending in advance and assist the team with social messages leading up to, and after, the event. If there is little traction with emails, offer to review the messaging, setup, etc. to make sure it is in the most readable and visually appealing format. Continue to measure, evaluate and adjust the tactics as needed.
Just like you already conduct research in an effort to understand the journey of your prospects and clients, work with recruiting to do the same for new hires. This exercise is helpful for all as you will review the entire journey, starting from the initial brand awareness and what is driving candidates to your firm. Is it the job posting on LinkedIn, recruitment events or seeing relatable content on social media that makes someone “see” themselves working at your firm?
Walk through the entire process and experience what it is like to apply for the job, what typical communication looks like before and after the interview process and perhaps most importantly, what the onboarding experience looks like. Is the content on your careers page in line with your recruiting signage and social media messages? Is your team utilizing automation to follow up or is it a manual process? Are there areas where the onboarding experience can be improved and retention increased? Working to gather this information will provide the opportunity to bring value to the recruiting process. It will also provide synergy across all messaging, creating a genuine experience for job candidates and new hires.
What Recruiters Need
Make it easy for your recruiting team. Do they always have the tools necessary to talk about the firm in a way that is consistent with the brand and values? Depending on the size of your firm and its geographic spread, there may be different types of messages that are required. It is likely that many regional firms historically only recruited in their own region, and now post-COVID, recruits are coming in from across the country seeking remote work options. Recruiting needs marketing to better understand their candidate personas and collaborate on messaging in an effort to build a connection and presence with this new audience.
Work with HR and recruiting on your firm’s onboarding process. Attracting talent is only one piece of the puzzle, and what happens after an offer letter is accepted is often more important than the interview process. Onboarding a new employee is often considered the first day/week of a new job, but in reality, the communication and interaction leading up to their first day of work and beyond are all part of the overall onboarding phase. Ask them about their “touch base” frequency post-recruiting events, offer letters, etc. Is there an opportunity for marketing to help create automation and workflows to provide new hires with a consistent experience, all while increasing efficiencies internally?
Your firm’s employee brand that recruiters talk about every day with potential new hires must correlate with reality. While the firm’s culture is not the responsibility of any one team, HR and marketing need to collaborate to ensure the culture talked about during recruiting and interviews looks and feels like the employee brand in which they walk into on day one. This could range from consistent graphics to incorporating your firm’s mission, vision, and purpose in visible locations in the office to receiving uniform messaging that looks and feels like one firm. Be sure to keep recruiting in the loop on things like internal and external events, community outreach projects, and industry organization involvement so they can offer students and potential new hires examples that back up their words.
It is a win/win situation when marketing and recruiting are on the same “team.” Partner with your HR/recruiting team to develop a meeting cadence and establish a system that works. Ultimately, what you and your marketing team are already doing to learn about prospects, clients and industry trends can and should translate to your firm’s talent recruitment and employee retention, resulting in overall growth.
About Tanya Doescher
Tanya is the Director of Marketing at a Delta Consulting Group. She is responsible for developing and executing the firm’s overall growth goals and objectives, and oversees the development, implementation and execution of Delta’s marketing strategy.
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with Danielle Reynolds, Business Development, Manager with Whitley Penn
A business developer’s day involves a myriad of activities from external meetings with business owners and referral partners to scoping calls for initial client connections.