“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” That sentiment has been attributed to both Winston Churchill and President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel. Wherever it originated, it’s a reminder that despite this year’s challenges, it’s essential to look ahead at what positives might ultimately come out of the coronavirus pandemic. One of those positives, from my perspective, is that more CPA firm leaders are embracing the benefits of remote teams.
From an employee’s perspective, remote work provides the flexibility to choose the hours that work best and avoid wasting time on long commutes or distractions in the office. From the firm’s perspective, remote work can help reduce costs in rent, facilities, and resources while opening doors to find people anywhere in the world who want to work with you.
Of course, to take advantage of these opportunities, you need to reinvent your style of recruiting. Here are five remote recruiting tips to help you hire top talent from anywhere in the world.
Change your recruitment strategy
In the past, most firms worked with local recruiters or localized advertisements. Now, your ads need to attract applicants from anywhere in the U.S. (or anywhere in the world).
You might use some of the same tools, such as Indeed or LinkedIn, but your job ad doesn’t need to be location-specific. Instead, get more specific about the skills you want. Saying you want someone with an accounting degree isn’t enough. Your ad should spell out the specific type of work you need done.
Tap into the gig economy
Full-time employees are no longer your only (or even your best) option. Today, there’s more opportunity than ever to access the specific skills you need on a project-based or part-time basis. Check out AccountingFly or Beech Valley Solutions to match your needs to an outside resource.
Pay attention to your online reputation
Negative online ratings and reviews can drastically affect your ability to recruit the best talent. When you post an open position, potential candidates will check your rating from previous employees on Glassdoor, Indeed, and other websites. If they see negative or even neutral reviews, you’re going to receive less interest overall.
If you see a negative review, try to respond to it positively and politely. If you ignore it, it will appear that you don’t care about your brand reputation or can’t defend yourself because the feedback is true.
Fine-tune your messaging
Most CPA firm websites are focused on one thing: the firm. They talk about the firm’s history and founders. But the harsh truth is: nobody cares.
Prospective candidates don’t want a history lesson when they visit your careers page. They also don’t want to see all pictures of older white men when they view your firm’s current team.
Your website should be about your clients, and your careers page should be about your current and potential talent – not about the firm. If you’re not sure how to improve it, ask the young people in your firm to take a look at it and provide their honest feedback.
Leverage video in the interview process
The questions you’ll ask during the interview process and other candidate screenings don’t really change in a remote environment. However, it’s important for remote candidates – and really any candidates in today’s workforce – to be comfortable communicating on video.
Ask potential candidates to record themselves answering two or three interview questions. This will show you how comfortable they are on video and give you a flavor for the candidate before you invest time in an interview.
You may also want to film a short video discussing the job: the type of person you want, what the employee will be doing, compensation – any big-ticket items that you might normally cover at the beginning of a live interview. Spark Hire is a great resource for leveraging video in your recruiting process.
Don’t let yourself slip back into the old habit of thinking remote work can’t work in your firm. Yes, there will be a few hiccups and challenges along the way, but you can overcome these. Don’t use the excuse that you tried hiring a remote team member before, and it didn’t work. One time is one bad experience – not proof that it can’t be done.
Whether your office had reopened or you plan to limit your on-site team for the foreseeable future, adapt your recruitment strategy to the remote reality. After all is said and done, it will help you become more tech-savvy, efficient, and able to access the best talent wherever they are.