Archive for the ‘Recruiting’ Category

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Asking For Salary History Might Be Illegal

“You can’t teach employees to smile. They have to smile before you hire them.” – Arte Nathan

If you are the typical CPA firm, you are doing a lot of interviewing of potential new hires on a regular basis. Be sure the people in your firm involved in interviewing know what to ask and what not to ask.

Per an article by Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady:

Many states and cities have made it illegal to ask a candidate for salary history, making basing their current offer on a previous salary difficult (but not impossible). Keep in mind, none of these laws prevent employers from asking what salary someone is looking for. A person who currently earns $50,000 is most likely going to say she is looking for a lower salary than someone who currently earns $80,000. The best way is for companies to state a salary range up front: “This job pays between $75-$85,000. Does that work for you?”

Here’s a link to her full article on the Inc. website.

  • When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.
  • Simon Sinek

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

The Threat From Artificial Intelligence & More

“It’s beauty that captures your attention; personality that captures your heart.” – Oscar Wilde

I receive a newsletter from a long-time business friend, Norm Bobay of  HireMAX. Check them out if you have a need to use DISC for your firm.

This month’s newsletter has two articles that I think will be of interest to you – CPA firm citizens.

The first explains the threat many are feeling because of AI replacing their jobs. The second article – Leaders Excel With These Different Leadership Styles – is also insightful.

The leadership styles are:

  • Action-Oriented
  • Transformative
  • Encouraging
  • Empowerment
  • Reflective
  • Idealistic

Follow the link to the article and read more about these styles.

  • The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.
  • Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Entry-Level Hiring Is Changing Quickly

“Be Prepared” – The Boy Scout Motto

Be aware. You will not need the same type of talent going into the future. Here’s a brief excerpt from an article by Dustin Hostetler via CPA Practice Advisor:

The convergence of technology (namely more artificial intelligence), along with the gig economy, is going to change the way CPA firms hire entry-level staff in the very near future. Basic compliance work will be automated through technology and what isn’t fully automated will be sourced to the gig economy. The new staff you bring in must demonstrate the ability to grow/develop into a client-facing advisor much earlier in their careers than has historically been the case. They also need to possess more skills in the areas of data analytics, financial analysis and strategic thinking.

Now is the time to plan.

  • Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program.
  • Spencer Kimball

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Interviewing Experienced Candidates

I hire people brighter than me and I get out of their way.”  – Lee Iacocca

When it comes to interviewing potential new hires, I have observed that CPA firms are not very creative. Many firms have the same people do the interviewing whether it is a college recruit or a 10-year experienced person.

Are your interviewers asking the same questions they have asked for 20 years? Do they focus too much on where they went to school (even if it was years ago) and how strong their tax (or audit) technical skills are?

With an experienced person, ask more questions like these from Seth Godin’s recent blog post.

  • What have you built?
  • What have you led?
  • How do you make decisions?
  • How do you act when no one is looking?

For an experienced person, in public accounting, I would add:

  • How many people have you mentored?
  • How would you describe your tolerance for change?
  • Joe has interrupted you six times this morning with questions. What do you say when he interrupts you the seventh time?
  • The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.
  • Steve Jobs

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Do Your New People Look Forward to Reading Your Employee Handbook?

“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” – P. J. O’Rourke

I am sure you have an employee handbook. Well, I guess I’m not that sure. I have worked with two firms lately who did not! Often, smaller firms don’t bother but even a brief, streamlined manual helps guide employees.

Does yours have a very boring title, such as Employee Handbook, Personnel Guide, Staff Manual or something similar? Why not jazz it up a bit and give it a new title? The title could be something like “The Smith & Company Journey” or “The Way We Work”. My favorite is “How We Do It Here”. Afterall, that’s what new people want to know…. how do you do it here? They want to fit in quickly and not make dumb mistakes.

First of all, you must be able to tell your people how your firm does things. It can’t be the all too often reality…… “If you are doing it for Jim, do it this way.” If you are doing it for JoAnne, do it that way.” Partners must agree upon and adhere to how work processes and procedures work at the firm and bend their personal preferences to align with firm standards.

Of course, you need to include your firm’s vision, purpose, and core values. Consider writing it in a more reader-friendly style.

Be creative in how you present it to your new employee. Don’t send them a pdf copy to read. It’s easy now to have booklets bound with an attractive cover then present it to them with a Starbucks gift card tucked inside.

Wouldn’t it be fun to give your handbook a facelift? Give it a try.

  • Reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are.
  • Mason Cooley

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Make Background Checks Part of the Hiring Process

“People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” – Jim Collins

You are working in the CPA profession. You are honest, trustworthy and dependable. You sometimes take it for granted that everyone in the profession or entering the profession is the same.

That’s why so many CPA firms make a background check a routine part of the hiring process. I have observed that CPA firms use a variety of vendors and there are a lot of reputable ones out there.

Here’s a good article about hiring nightmares from Sharlyn Lauby – HR Bartender.

If you need some information about background checking companies to use, contact the CPA Firm Management Association (CPAFMA).

  • Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can't tell you whether someone will fit into a company's culture.
  • Howard Schulz

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Hiring Retirees

“I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” – Albert Einstein

I read an article on the WSJ site about PKF O’Connor Davies LLP. It pleased me very much and made so much sense.

They want to hire retirees! If we are in such a talent shortage and many people 65+ are a wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion about their work, why not hire them?

In some firms, 62 is the mandatory retirement age. Others it is 65. People live longer now, they are healthier than generations before them, why not take advantage of their experience?

It doesn’t mean they are a partner the firm, it simply means they are an employee who can bring value to the firm and the clients.

These types of people, at PKF O’Connor, often work only three days per week but they help establish new practice areas, improve training and mentoring and have a wealth of contacts.

I believe that our youthful American culture is pushing some talented, older people aside much too quickly – – but that is a topic for another day!

  • You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be 100.
  • Woody Allen

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

What Recruiters Are Seeing

“Human Resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.” – Steve Wynn, Wynn Las Vegas

I follow Sharlyn Lauby (@hrbartender). She covers HR topics, of course, but she also writes about general workplace topics.

Sharlyn recently was facilitating a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) seminar and discovered that recruiters wanted to vent. Imagine that! They are frustrated because candidates are not prepared for an interview.

Here are just a few things on their list of things they want to see from candidates. If you are recruiting people for your CPA firm, maybe you can relate to these.

  • Cover letters are not dead. They can serve a purpose.
  • Research the company (firm) – know something about them before you arrive. Simply visit their website.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Be prepared to talk about your future.
  • Ask questions.

Read the entire article here.

  • Time spent on hiring is time well spent.
  • Robert Half

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Searching For A Manager

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

Accounting firms are hiring. That is an under-statement. Most of the firms I work with are almost desperate for an experienced manager. Throughout this year I have heard this statement over and over again, “We really need a tax manager and they are impossible to find.”

Perhaps, someone already working at your firm is the answer. Top talent joins a firm where they believe opportunities for advancement exists. They don’t want to work at entry-level for years, then as a Senior for a few more years. Then, maybe in the partners’ minds they are seasoned enough to become a manager. That is why it is so important that you have documented career paths available.

If your firm is content with status quo and not experiencing impressive growth, top talent won’t join up. To become a manager, the firm has to need a manager.

You don’t need a manager if:

  • Your firm is not dynamic, growing and generating new opportunities.
  • Your firm has a level of managers in place who are not dynamic and growing.
  • Your young people see your current managers as roadblocks

Keep in mind that promotions are no longer based on seniority. So many firms have current managers that were promoted to manager to reward them for longevity and productivity, not because they had proven ability to manage and inspire other people. In many cases, it is the opposite.

So, the next time you need a manager, look inside and ask a top performing senior or supervisor to stretch. They may be tired of waiting and already searching for another job. Bringing in someone unproven over them might be the last straw.

  • The future depends on what you do today.
  • Gandhi

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Moving Past “Engagement”

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become” – C. G. Jung

Some progressive companies are now moving beyond the over-worked term, employee engagement.

It’s no longer just about how they feel about their role and your firm. It involves the complete employee experience. Is your firm focused on the employee experience? You can bet that other accounting firms in your market are initiating ways to attract YOUR people!

Per a recent article on Entrepreneur, there are four key pillars to the employee experience:

  1. Connection
  2. Meaning
  3. Impact
  4. Appreciation

To me, these are fairly self-explanatory. However, it would be a good exercise for firm leaders to explore these four topics and define what they mean relating to your firm and your people.

I often think about a slogan from one of the car companies a while back….. “Enjoy the Ride!” Are your people enjoying the ride at your firm?

  • Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson