Try these steps for success
So if you know who to look for, where do you start? There are some tactical steps hiring managers must complete to be successful in pursuing non-traditional candidates.
Step 1: Start with refreshed job descriptions and postings
Partner with customers and recruiters to curate job descriptions that will meet the needs of your practice, all while highlighting the great culture and opportunities that your firm provides. Next, talk to your customers or recruiters about the qualities you’re looking for in a candidate. Work with your network to seek candidates who may be from an industry you have not historically recruited. Keep in mind that the recruiting process is the best time to ensure you’re seeking diversity through experience and background. In addition, your time-to-hire process is critical in this talent search. Keep in mind hiring from the non-traditional talent pool will have you competing with potential employers with less rigid processes. Hiring managers can accomplish this by partnering with organizations in your community or professional networks that champion diversity.
Step 2: Onboard for success
Fast forward 2-3 months. You’ve done the hard work, expanded your pipeline, and found amazing talent! These non-traditional candidates have become your non-traditional new hires, so onboarding is paramount to their successful transition to public accounting. Assimilation to the necessary workflows enables successful acclimation into the culture of your firm, including the risk management filter. While many of us grew up in the system, it can be a culture shock if coming to this work through a different path. Sending your new employee through traditional onboarding could be a recipe for disaster. Therefore, ensure the program has been updated to include how to educate and onboard non-traditional candidates. Thankfully, there are many avenues to support you and your practice as well as this new employee.
Step 3: Implement job shadowing
Education without action is simply entertainment, so when onboarding a non-traditional candidate, develop an action plan. The practical application approach is for each candidate to have a job shadowing plan. Identify the objectives they need to learn, the team members best fit to teach each objective, and then follow the process of “first I show you, second you show me, and third do on your own.” When creating the job shadowing plan, consider leaning towards clients who are similar to the new hire’s experience. This is important to give the new hire to assimilate the new information with their experience for quicker learning.
For example, you’ve recently hired a young marketing grad who has run her own online retail business, but has not had any luck finding a marketing role that met her needs. She is going to join your team as a staff accountant in the outsourced accounting space. One of her objectives is to understand the purpose of bank reconciliation, and how to accurately and efficiently complete it. The result: Pair her up with a senior staff member on an online retail business account. The senior staff member knows the objective, and will not only teach the “why,” but also teaches the tips and tricks to be effective.
Step 4: Integrate your software vendor relationships
Work with your software vendors to let them know when and who you will be onboarding. Curate a training plan using these resources in the context of your needs for this new hire. At times, a custom plan may be necessary due to the size of the group you may be onboarding. Your trusted software vendors want you and your firm up and running quickly, so many will support the onboarding to free you and your team up to strategically run your CAS practice. As you curate a training plan, supplement the plan with the job shadowing noted above.
For example, Intuit offers numerous avenues for education. The ProAdvisor program has a training tab in QuickBooks Online Accountant. On the tab, your team members have an opportunity to gain CPE through product certification and personalized learning paths, and can sign up for live webinars. Look for new additions to the ProAdvisor program in fall 2023, including client communication templates, tax product training and discounts, and accountant-approved third-party app recommendations.
Maya Angelou once said, “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” With the strategies and steps above, you’ll be on your way to creatively solving the talent pipeline for your firm, all while creating a beautiful and strong organization.