3 KEYS TO HIRING ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE TALENT IN A TIGHT MARKET

HiringIf your company has been on the hunt for new hires lately, you know firsthand how tight today’s candidate market can be. The shortage of qualified candidates is particularly acute in accounting, where 30% of companies have unfilled full-time positions, but 72% of recruiters say they’re having trouble finding qualified candidates to take on those roles.
What’s causing the talent shortage in accounting, and what can you do about it? To find out, we sat down with Kristi Kershaw, Director of Professional Search at Bridgepoint Consulting’s headquarters in Austin.

What’s behind the accounting hiring shortage in the Austin market?

Over the last several years, Austin has become a huge attraction for a variety of companies. We are seeing more companies relocate their headquarters to Texas – for instance, from California – because they find it a more affordable place to operate. As a result, we are experiencing a shortage of access to local talent because many of these companies are not relocating their existing talent to Texas. In addition, we are also seeing more finance talent in the Austin market, as opposed to true operational accounting talent.

You’ve also said baby boomers are contributing to the workforce shortage as they begin to retire in large numbers. What can companies do to prepare for that shift?

You can learn to work with different types of candidates who have different needs. Flexible schedules, vacations and other benefits are often more important to millennials than to baby boomers, who tend to be more tightly focused on salary and working up the ladder.

Millennials are also strongly motivated by the desires to belong and to make a difference – so attracting these candidates is often less about offering a prestigious job title than it is about providing the opportunity to become part of a company with a strong, values-driven culture.

And that leads to another important trend: the value of thinking outside of the box.

Because there’s such a significant workforce shortage, hiring managers need to understand that they may not be able to get all of the technical skills they are seeking in a particular candidate. Instead, looking for smart people who are trainable, self-motivated and who will be able to master the job requirements should be considered. That’s why it’s so important to consider soft skills like drive and motivation. These skills are part of the profile of a high-succeeding individual. You also want a candidate who’s collaborative, communicates well and isn’t afraid to ask questions or challenge the status quo.

How can Bridgepoint Professional Search help companies find these candidates?

One of the most important services we provide, is that we are experts at identifying and vetting passive talent that are not actively pursuing their next opportunity. We have a strong and far-reaching network, technology tools and resources, as well as a strong reputation across Central Texas for delivering high-quality candidates.

In addition, our vetting process is based on a full understanding of a company’s culture. For instance, we meet with the company and staff to assess both technical and behavioral skills. We also engage with every candidate in person, which is something a lot of recruiters aren’t doing anymore. Furthermore, we agree upfront with our hiring managers about their needs and thoroughly screen to identify candidates who will be successful in the role and that also meet at least 85% of the critical skills they’re seeking.

As a complement to our process, we also offer DiSC® profile assessments for the final few candidates and for the team. The value of using this assessment tool is that we’re able to identify the right candidate that fits best within that particular company’s culture. Why is culture fit is so important to your organization? Watch this video to find out.

From how to handle hiccups in the hiring process to when to work with an external recruiter, our Professional Search blog series takes on the latest top-of-mind topics for HR/recruitment professionals. Visit our News & Insights Hub in the coming weeks for more helpful insights from Kristi Kershaw on issues that matter most right now.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Kristi Kershaw headshot hiringAs Director of Professional Search at Bridgepoint, Kristi Kershaw leads the overall strategy and operation for the Professional Search practice. Kristi has 15 years of progressive experience in professional accounting and finance roles, including Big 4 public accounting as well as private and publicly traded companies. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Indiana University and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Kristi can be reached at kkershaw@bridgepointconsulting.com. Connect with Kristi on LinkedIn.

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