“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”
– Jim Collins, Author, Consultant and Lecturer on the subject of business management, company sustainability and growth
Not too many people can disagree with this quote. However, finding and placing the right man for the right job is easier said than done – especially in a domain like Financial Accounting where apparently there is a problem of plenty but that is only superficial! Hiring talented Financial Accountants, Managers and Leaders with the right skills, character and attitude can become a monumental task for most business organizations. Quick fixes like taking the “Skill, Will, Fit” route has not really proven to be safe and successful in too many cases. Enter the specialist staffing entities such as Financial Accounting Staffing agencies.
In this article, we discuss the challenges faced by Senior Management and Human Relations departments with respect to Financial Accounting Staffing and how can they address this issue effectively. Before we go into the details, let us also be conscious of the fact that even though ‘hiring/recruiting’ and ‘staffing’ are used interchangeably, the former pertains to filling short term roles or hiring for specific projects while the latter pertains to placements for permanent roles.
Challenges in Placing the Right Man for the Right Job
- FAILURE TO ATTRACT THE RIGHT CANDIDATES
India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world, churning out over 2 crore undergraduates every year from its 900 odd universities and 39000 odd colleges. Out of this, about 9.50 lacs are B.Com graduates alone! Add M.Com graduates to this list. And, at the top of the ladder, there are the Chartered Accountants who number only about 3500 per year, but are among the brightest minds around. So, there is no real reason to have a shortage of manpower when it comes to Financial Accounting. However, very unfortunately, that is not the case. Mediocre quality of education standards in universities and colleges and the lack of industry connect are among the key reasons for this. Lack or inadequacy of soft skills, character and attitude only adds to the problem. Therefore, the competition to attract the best and the brightest candidates becomes intense, making it a tough job for internal hiring teams and Financial Accounting Staffing agencies alike.
- LACK OF SYNERGY BETWEEN THE RECRUITERS AND HIRING MANAGER
This is one tricky matter that adversely affects the hiring process outcomes time and again. Unless the organization has clearly defined SOPs in this regard, many a bright candidate can fall between the cup and the lips.
- INABILITY IN USING DATA EFFECTIVELY
Data to business organizations is what oxygen is to living beings, today. Lack of it, poor quality of it or the inability of the entity to absorb it and leverage it properly is bound to create damaging results. The same is pertinent to the hiring process too.
- SPEED OF HIRE VS. QUALITY OF HIRE
This is another tricky matter that the hiring executives have to deal with. The hiring teams will do well to take the call on speed vs. quality, by keeping the nature of requirement in mind – whether its urgent or not; whether it is being done with a short-term outlook or not etc.
- LACK OF EFFICIENCY DURING THE HIRING PROCESS
Efficiency of the executives involved is another challenge faced by hiring teams. Efficient hiring teams ensure that the hiring process is carried out by using the minimum amount of time, money, people or other resources.
- FAILURE TO PROVIDE SUPERLATIVE CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE
Today’s aspirational professionals are not content with only the company brand name, salary, other benefits etc. For them experience matters a lot – starting right from the hiring process. Therefore, recruitment teams/agencies will do well to conduct the process keeping this aspect in mind.
How to Place the Right Man for the Right Job
In the following section of the article, let us discuss how business organizations/HR departments and Financial Accounting Staffing Agencies can address the challenges in recruiting the right man for the right job.
- DO NOT DEPEND ONLY ON THE JOB BOARDS
The popular job boards such as Naukri, Indeed and Monster are helpful but depending only on them for hiring may not be a good idea. Hiring teams will do well to adopt a multi-prong approach in building a strong talent pool in order to make the hiring process easier and more effective. Some of the proven avenues for building a robust talent pool include career blogs, talent networks, local events, workshops, meetups and webinars.
- FOCUS MORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media has emerged as a very useful tool for hiring teams and staffing agencies these days. Hiring HR teams/ Financial Accounting Staffing agencies can meaningfully connect with the right candidates on various popular channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. People hang out there and express their interests and views uninhibitedly. Hiring teams can get a good insight into the candidate’s character and attitude by observing their behavior on such channels too. Companies can involve all staff in social media initiatives to talk about the organization and build the right kind of perception, which helps in recruiting the right candidates when the need arises.
- MAKE APPLYING EASY
Technology has made almost everything easy or at least easier in life these days. So, why should applying for a job be an exception? Job aspirants expect a hassle free application process now a days – and rightly so. Hiring teams and staffing agencies must take this into account while planning and designing the application process – both online and offline (if any).
- FOLLOW UP
Remember yours’ is not the only company that the candidates are targeting. Therefore, prompt follow ups – in the way of phone calls and emails, as suitable – is an absolute must. Any lapse on this activity and you may find the candidate being picked up by a competitor.
- MANAGE THE RELATIONSHIP
Hiring is a selling process. As in the selling process, establishing a relationship and managing it well through the sales cycle is critical for ensuring a successful closure in the recruitment cycle too. After all, candidates look for good organizations where they will be spending a substantial part of their days once they decide to join. They would expect to be a part of a resource-rich, interactive and supportive team in the organization; they would expect these characteristics to be displayed by the hiring team members too. Therefore, it cannot be an impersonal process.
Closing the sale/hire is the most critical part in the hiring process. The golden rules of selling apply here as much as in the sales closure – ask for the sale, say only what is required, never interrupt the customer etc. This part is usually handled by the team manager/lead/senior management of the hiring HR team/Financial Accounting Staffing agency, in order to ensure higher chances of success.
Challenges in Staffing
- UNREALISTIC CLIENT EXPECTATIONS
Time, cost and quality are the three most critical aspects in any project including Financial Accounting Staffing. It is only prudent to make sure that the client expectations are reasonable and realistic with regards to these factors so that there are no surprises later on, which is important especially in long-term relationships.
- APPLICANTS WHO ARE LESS THAN HONEST
Dishonest applicants are another challenge that is faced by Financial Accounting Staffing firms. Many candidates believe that they can ‘fake it till they make it’. Many of them realize that it is a short-sighted approach only late in the day. Such candidates can even potentially spoil the client-agency relationship and therefore staffing agencies need to be vigilant in this regard.
- STAFFING THE STAFFING FIRM
Staffing the staffing firm itself is a big challenge for agencies, especially if they are new in the market and/or lead by management team which is not experienced enough and less savvy.
- KEEPING UP WITH THE CANDIDATE SOURCING
As we had discussed in the earlier part of this article, it is critical for Financial Accounting Staffing agencies to ensure a steady, high quality pipeline. However, they will have to be exceedingly competitive to achieve this as the race is really close. They will have to be innovative, adopt new-age technologies, embrace social media etc. to accomplish this.
- IDENTIFY TRENDS AND MAKE PREDICTIONS
In order to stay ahead, Financial Accounting Staffing agencies must be able to identify the trends and make predictions so that they are not caught unawares by the vagaries of the market. Keeping their ears close to the ground and eyes wide open will help the agencies in this regard.
- KEEP UP WITH LEGISLATION
Legislative/regulatory changes can be a boon or a bane to any industry. Financial Accounting Staffing agencies will do well to stay tuned in to the changes that are happening in the regulatory framework from time to time and adjust themselves to survive and thrive.
Overcoming the Challenges in Staffing
- ATTRACTING THE RIGHT CANDIDATES
This aspect has already been covered in the earlier part of this discussion.
- ENGAGING THE QUALIFIED CANDIDATES
It is like ‘nurturing’ the leads in sales activity. A candidate can drop out any point during the staffing cycle/process. Keeping this in mind, agencies will have to train their staff very well on how to effectively engage the qualifies candidates and make sure that they stay interested.
- HIRING FAST
‘Speed’ is a key deciding factor in Staffing. The short deadlines given by the clients make it essential for the Financial Accounting Staffing agencies to move quickly and close the process. The same candidate(s) may be in discussion with other agencies for other positions too.
Financial Accounting Staffing is a highly competitive and specialized activity. Only those agencies having the necessary experience and the right team will stand a chance to win in this market. Ability to foresee the trends, keeping eyes and ears open, ingenuity, good people engagement skills and swift actions can increase the chance of success in this competitive space.