Know Who You Are Hiring Before You Invest in the Process

The labor market for Accounting and Finance professionals is the most competitive and limited candidate market the we have seen in years.  Why? There are multiple reasons; one we will highlight is that we are suffering from the lack of hiring during the most recent recession and the painfully slow recovery period since that time.   We are asked daily to recruit for Senior Accountants with 4-6 years of experience and it is almost an impossible task.  Why?  In order to have a solid Senior Accountant candidate, companies must have hired a staff accountant in public accounting or corporate 4 to 6 years ago.  Again, firms and companies were struggling and were asking their employees to take on more work during this period.  Most employees did not like taking on more work for the same pay, but they were also thankful for the job so they made the best of it.  They did not want to do anything to jeopardize their position.

Who to Hire and How to Engage

This labor shortage has required firms and companies to revisit their hiring process.  Those that have reviewed and have adapted have flourished in hiring, those that are doing the same as they did 10 years ago are struggling to fill their positions. There are many ways to improve your hiring process but we will focus on one area to discuss.

Who is the best person for you to hire and what is your situation?

This is not the easiest question to answer.  It all depends on the situation.  Let’s break it down by candidates:  Unemployed and Employed, Active and Passive, Temporary or Permanent, etc.  Let’s look at a breakdown on how to determine who you hire:

Consultant – This individual is typically a well accomplished professional that craves a variety of work.  They do not want to be permanently employed.  They want to take on new challenges and use their experience to help a firm or company accomplish their project and goals. This individual is usually booked for the majority of the year based on their professional knowledge and experience.  They typically take ample time after a project completion to relax and refresh prior to the next engagement.  The projects range from 3 months to multi-year.  When you engage a consultant you are engaging a vast amount of experience.  A consultant will possess significant functional, industry, or systems experience that allows them to provide solutions to the firm or company, and typically can accomplish more than what 2 -3 less experienced consultants can.  The consultant is hired through a reputable firm with an hourly bill rate.  The bill rate includes wage, taxes and withholds.  Travel and expense are the responsibility of the firm or company where the services are provided.  The consultant is not available for hire with the rare exception.

Direct Hire – This individual is typically available within two weeks of an accepted offer.  The direct hire candidate will possess the majority of the “must have requirements” coupled with either industry or system experience of the hiring company.  It is truly rare for a candidate to have more than 7 out of 10 of the job requirements.  Again, companies are most successful focusing on the 3 “must haves” and the other industry and system skills for this type of hire.  They range from a few years less to several years more experience of the original job description.  The direct hire candidate is hired through a reputable recruiting firm with a fee based on the first year’s annual salary.  This hire will come with a limited placement warranty.

Contract to Hire (CTH) Candidate – This individual is typically available within one day to one week of identification of the labor need.   This arrangement is typically 1 month to 1 year.  The CTH candidate is typically selected for the engagement with the understanding that they will be hired if they demonstrate they have the skills necessary for permanent employment.  This candidate typically has a very broad range of applicable experience but may lack industry or system skills initially.  During the contract if they are able to learn the industry specifics and/or master the system, they are normally offered full time employment. A contract to hire candidate is hired through a reputable firm with an hourly bill rate.  The bill rate includes wage, taxes and withholds.  If the firm or company wants to hire permanent, a conversion schedule is used to determine placement fee.

Temporary – This individual is available immediately and can fill the work flow gap you are experiencing for a relatively short period of time.  This typically ranges from 1 week to 3 months.  The temporary can be but is not typically hired by the company upon completion of the temporary assignment. The temporary typically has an excellent broad base of skills which are more than adequate for the assignment but lack the critical skills required for long term employment.  A temporary is hired through a reputable firm with an hourly bill rate.  The bill rate includes wage, taxes and withholds.

Once you have identified your new employee or consultant, you must make it known to them. Companies that can make a decision on the spot or within 24 hours have a very high acceptance rate.  If you wait, and correspond with your top pick a week later, make sure to include a congratulations card, because they have most likely already accepted another position!

With all of that being said, utilizing this hiring technique ensures that you will obtain the right candidate and will also ensure that you are investing in the most efficient way.  Recruiting, hiring, and having the ability to retain people is just as important as the product or service you are selling and the way you conduct business!

Freeman, Clif. Mon. 16 May 2016. LinkedIn. Retrieved from

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