In today’s ultracompetitive job market,
it’s hard to find a good fit. It’s difficult for
applicants to find a good job, and it’s equally difficult for companies to find good
help. But, if both sides are looking for the
similar qualities, shouldn’t it be easier to
find common ground?
According to Jessica Morris, accounting/finance recruiting manager with
Burnett Staffing in Houston, finding the
right candidates can be easy if a company
knows what they’re looking for and knows
how to attract it.
“To find the right person, you can’t just
post a job in the paper or online anymore,”
says Morris. “Companies need to actively
recruit candidates, but also, they need to
know exactly what they want in a candidate before bringing anyone in for an interview.”
Smart Business spoke to Morris about
today’s tough hiring market and what companies can do to stand out to potential candidates.
How can a company find good applicants?
In most cases, the best candidate is not
actually looking for a position. To locate
these hard-to-find, passive candidates,
your staff will have to work harder and
smarter. But finding, recruiting and screening candidates can be a very time-consuming process, and an expensive one to boot.
Utilizing outside recruiting specialists, networking with colleagues and encouraging
employee referrals are ways companies
can effectively find good applicants, without wasting valuable time and money.
What can a company do to stand out to an
Know exactly what you want out of an
applicant and be sure that you clearly
express it in the job description. Many
companies spend a great deal of time in the
recruiting and hiring process only to find
that their top candidate has accepted
another job offer. In today’s tight market,
communication and timeliness are keys.
You have to make a candidate feel special
you can’t leave them hanging. When you
begin recruiting, effectively communicate with applicants where they are in the
process. Immediately notify candidates if
you have no interest in them, because if
your recruiter has to keep fielding follow
up calls from a candidate you’re not interested in, it’s a waste of time and resources.
If you are interested in the candidate, continue to keep him or her updated at each
stage of the hiring process. Even if the decision won’t be made for another three
weeks, communicate this to the applicant.
They may wait for your offer. Otherwise,
they’ll assume you have no interest and
accept a competing offer.
What, besides salary, can attract a potential
When the demand for candidates is high
and the supply of top talent is low, sign-on
bonuses should be utilized to set your company apart. This will discourage candidates
from taking the counteroffer their current
company is likely to make. For professional candidates, benefits can make or break
an offer. In addition to salary and benefits,
companies who discuss career development during the hiring process are given a
competitive advantage. I encourage companies to continue to highlight the employee’s career path. The majority of the candidates I interview who are currently working choose to leave their position because
there is no growth potential. Do your
employees know what your plans are for
their career development? If not, you could
lose some of your top talent. Other attractive incentives could include matching
401(k) plans, vacation time, access to company vehicles and tuition reimbursements.
What are companies looking for? What positions are in high demand?
Of the divisions I manage, accounting
and finance candidates are in the highest
demand. Many companies are seeking
degreed accountants who have experience
at one of the ‘Big 4’ CPA firms or those with
a specialty like manufacturing, cost
accounting or audit experience.
Companies are also looking for candidates
who are professional, accepting of changes
and challenges, driven, detail-oriented,
and, most importantly, willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
What hiring challenges are companies facing
and how do they overcome them?
Many companies have their HR staff
recruit for internal positions utilizing job
descriptions that do not accurately portray
the requirements of the position. It is
important to list all the education, skills
and experience necessary for the job, and
then highlight the preferred skills. Do not
limit your candidate pool in a tight labor
market. If you are not able to relax any
requirements and you are still having trouble filling a job, I recommend adjusting one
of the other main components of a candidate’s hiring decision or highlighting how
your company or this position already
enhances one of these areas. Salary, benefits, location and environment are key
components of a candidate’s hiring decision. In addition to increasing the salary
range, a company can also offer telecommuting or a flexible schedule to improve its
ability to attract top talent.
JESSICA MORRIS is an accounting/finance recruiting manager
with Burnett Staffing in Houston. Reach her at (713) 977-4777 or