Archive for the ‘Recruiting’ Category

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Ghosting

“Our feet are planted in the real world, but we dance with angels and ghosts.” – John Cameron Mitchell

Maybe your firm has done it. I know a lot of firms where it happens. Someone interviews with the firm for an accounting position. You interview them and end with the normal “We’ll get back to you” comment. But no one does get back with them. You have made the decision to hire another candidate but you don’t get back with every one you interviewed to let them know. Someone dropped the ball.

Maybe payback can be expected. Applicants and employees are now ghosting their employers in greater numbers. Per USA Today:

Workers are ‘ghosting‘ interviews, blowing off work in a strong job market. … A growing number are “ghosting” their jobs: blowing off scheduled job interviews, accepting offers but not showing up the first day and even vanishing from existing positions – all without giving notice.

I have heard some amazing stories from firms. Many of the cases are people in administrative positions. They report for the first day and then never show up again. One firm even told me a new admin person left at lunch on the first day and never came back. It sounds amusing (when you are not involved) but it is not that unusual any longer.

Here’s a great article via Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady.

Make sure your firm has systems in place to facilitate the interview and selection process so no one feels ghosted.

  • Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.
  • Stephen King

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

The Hiring Challenge

“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” – Vince Lombardi

I was reading an article via the Journal of Accountancy titled, Small firm spotlight: How I recruit and hire new accountants. Cheryl Meyer interviewed Kenneth Cerini, the managing partner at Cerini & Associates.

I could certainly relate to much of what Mr. Cerini divulged.

Recruiting and hiring is an art, not a science. When you are hiring people, you can’t cram a square peg into a round hole. We’ve brought people in from bigger accounting firms and realize they are not the right fit overall. We have much smaller clients, and our clients need more handholding. That’s why I love interns. I’d rather invest more money in the training and be able to bring on people at a younger level and help them grow within our atmosphere. You learn a tremendous amount during your first two to three years in public accounting.

At my firm, we found that hiring a 5-year person from a big four firm was not a very smart move. We had many small business owners and our 5-year people were so much more knowledgeable on many types of situations. It seemed to us that a 5-year person working at one of the big national accounting firms just did a one-year person’s duties five times.

However, that being said, firms are often very successful in training smart people no matter what their background. Often it is the training programs that need attention and, of course, the experienced new hire’s attitude is key.

  • Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
  • Helen Keller

Monday, November 5th, 2018

2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey Results Summary

CoverLast week, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC released their 2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey.

Today’s talent wants to integrate work and life. As a result, leaders must continually find ways to innovate workplace flexibility.

The goal of the survey is to collect data on CPA firm adoption of flexible work programs and the experiences firms have had with these initiatives.

Firm leaders need to thoughtfully contemplate how enhancing a more flexible workplace can be a huge benefit to the future of the firm.

Jeff Phillips, CEO of Accountingfly tell us, “On Accountingfly, we see incredible talent response to remote accounting jobs, which receive at least 8 times the number of applicants than in-office positions. The demand for remote careers in accounting is clear, and it’s such an obvious solution to the talent issues facing CPA firms.”

Download the survey summary here.

  • Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Individualized Employee Engagement Improves Culture

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” – Chinese Proverb

As you know, I am always reading and attempting to keep current on a wide variety of trends in the are of employment, employee engagement and workplace culture.

I came across a very interesting article on the Modern Healthcare site titled, Individualized Approach to Employee Engagement Improves Culture.

A recently hired graduate nurse asked Bon Secours Mercy Health if she could join the labor and delivery team.

But when the organization used its psychometric evaluation tool that analyzed her likes and dislikes, stress-induced behaviors, critical thinking skills, and other characteristics, it revealed that she was hardwired more like an emergency nurse. 

They are using big data to actually make the workplace more humanizing, rather than fitting all people into a specific slot.

Managers receive data that helps them tune their leadership style to a particular employee and help them acclimate.

“How do you build culture not only within your organization but across contiguous geographies? Communication is key,” notes Jim Dunn, chief human resources officer at Atrium Health.

“Focusing on change management and the transition process is where human resource executives can add the most value, he added.”

There are more interesting trends in this article. The way you hire and acclimate people may be moving to a completely new level soon.

  • It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.
  • Steve Jobs

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Beware of Helicopter Parents

“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.” – Peter De Vries

Fall recruiting season is fast approaching. Your recruiting team will be on college campuses for job fairs, networking events and interviews. Beware of helicopter moms. They have been spotted roaming the halls of accounting job fairs gathering intel for their student.

Over the last several years, I have heard more and more stories about helicopter parents (almost always Moms) getting involved in the job search and actual hiring of their children by accounting firms. I know, many of you will say this is unbelievable! It’s not. It happens.

It probably begins when their younger teenager gets their first job. Maybe that first job is a fast food chain or a summer job at the local pool. Moms are protective and they check things out.

Here’s a great, short story from Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady. You’ll love the title of her post: Dear Moms, Do You Want Your 35-Year-Old Living in Your Basement? Because This Is How You Get That.

Check out this amusing video in one of my previous posts.

  • Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.
  • Pearl S. Buck

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