Have you ever wondered why some firms seem to attract the top talent in their field almost effortlessly, whilst others seem to struggle to fill vacancies in the same location for the very same job specification?
The instinctive answer is salary and reward. But in most cases, in our experience, that’s far from the truth. In fact, three times already this year we have had candidates take a pay-cut in real terms to move to a new role, whilst others have taken the lowest paid job out of several offers they had on the table.
As the battle for top talent within the accountancy practice market rages on; what drives the decision to favour one employer over another, and what can you do about it?
You may think as a recruitment agency it’s up to us to fix that problem for you. That’s what you are paying us for right? But the reality of a candidate driven market, where supply far outstrips demand, means that a recruiter can only do so much.
‘You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’
An experienced recruiter can source you enormous potential employees, and initiate an introduction, but cannot and should not force them to accept an offer of employment (not only unethical, but a sure-fire way to cost you as a client more money in the long run)
What we can and will do is to advise on the things you can do to put you in the best position to attract the talented employees you desire. We often advise clients in this respect, and whilst there is not sufficient space within a LinkedIn post to cover all aspects, here are a few key considerations;
1. Digital strategy. If you haven’t got a cohesive and effective digital strategy, get one … and fast. A poor online presence can be a huge weakness when it comes to attracting top talent. If your digital strategy ‘sucks’ it can be damaging to your reputation as an employer.
Much in the same way as most employers will now review a potential employees LinkedIn profile and online presence in general before interviewing them, the converse is also very much true.
- Lack of any digital presence
- Inconsistent brand ‘voice’
- Incomplete or lacklustre profiles for Partners/Senior Management
- Negative portrayal of the practice culture via current/past employees
- Absence of quality content
Any or all of the above can add up to an attractive potential employee not seeing you as a viable career prospect.
2. Candidate Experience. From the minute, you engage in any way with a potential employee you are creating an impression… one which will form their opinion of your entire organisation, and one which will most likely last.
Too many hiring managers/partners underestimate the importance of this.
Right from how the initial arrangements for interview are made through to the offer, it’s the tiny details which form a rounded opinion of how you would stack up as an employer.
- Being a bit flexible with interview times
- Having the right attendees in the interview (so they don’t have 3 different interviews with 3 different people)
- Making sure that reception know who they are and make them feel welcome
- Providing a short amount of time to meet with other employees and allow them to engage with their potential future peers
Potential employees need to feel that they would fit within your organisation and that they would be valued. Making the process smooth, and the experience a positive one, will not only ensure they relax and interview more successfully, but will leave them with a good impression (whether they end up as an employee or not).
Think carefully about tone used in any direct communication and especially during the interview. It needs to reflect your brand and the identity of the organisation. How does it feel to work for you and with you?
In a marketplace where good candidates will have multiple offers (and in a short space of time) you need to have a smooth and seamless process and be able to react quickly. Don’t lose exciting potential employees by getting caught up in red-tape or through something as simple as not offering an alternative interview slot.
3. Employer Reputation. Your current/past employees can be your biggest and best advocates or your biggest hurdle when it comes to attracting the best talent. Gaining regular feedback to gauge this barometer can be powerful, via anonymous engagement surveys or another forum.
‘Perception is reality. If you are perceived to be something, you might as well be it because that’s the truth in people’s minds.’ Steve Young
Whilst you can never one hundred percent control what employees say to others in the marketplace there is much you can do to ensure that feedback in general is good. Building strong relationships with other local businesses and professionals will also go a long way to ensure that both online and offline your reputation as an employer is spoken of highly.
If you need any help in this area it’s something we have experience with at Public Practice Recruitment Limited (both limiting and repairing negative employer reputation).
4. Cultural fit. You may know how great it is to work in your team… but you need to shout it out to the world.
We work with many clients who have an amazing team culture, a lively social scene and a wonderful office environment. But it’s often a well-kept secret.
Never underestimate the importance of cultural fit. We all have an innate need to belong, and if in someone way you can conjure this feeling within a prospective employee it can build a powerful connection.
The best way to showcase the great culture you have within your organisation is to ‘show not tell’.
This is one of those times where you need to blow your own trumpet…and loudly.
- Share good news stories both on and offline
- Be seen to openly praise and reward current employees for promotions, and other achievements
- Write about any charity or sporting/social events undertaken as a team
- Encourage employees to share their good news stories with prospective employees and within your website
- Don’t be afraid to show the ‘human’ side of your organisation and a bit of personality
If you need any further help or information about any of the points touched upon within this post please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0333 577 7787 to arrange a discussion.