5 Best Practices to Win the War on Talent

Grow your practice, Practice Management Finding the best talent for your firm

It’s more than just finding a resume, conducting a phone screen and inviting someone in for an onsite interview. Here at Intuit®, identifying awesome talent is critical to our success. I’m sure this is true for your practice as well. We are consistently reviewing our processes and innovating when we see areas to improve – and that’s what we did recently. Our innovation process consisted of benchmarking with top companies that we feel know how to do talent acquisition well, incorporating our own tested and best practices, and using these learnings and insights to revolutionize talent delivery to our hiring leaders.

Here are a few best practices to be highly successful in your talent acquisition journey.

  1. Don’t boil the ocean. When it comes to candidate requirements, less is more. Keep your requirements to the three to five most critical skills absolutely necessary to do the job. Our tendency is to create a laundry list of every skill and experience that we can imagine needing now or in the future, and focusing on finding that perfect candidate. However, in my experience, a perfect candidate doesn’t exist and really isn’t necessary to get the job done. Be careful not to put too much focus on the fringe skills because this will slow down your hiring process. Once you are locked in on the short list of skills, make sure you have a good job description that can be your roadmap to identifying and assessing top candidates. Your job description should include what the candidate will be doing, the short list of critical required skills, prerequisite experience and/or education, and cultural qualities and values you believe are necessary for the job, team and company fit. Use these requirements to be your guide for every step in the process. Another key is to involve your interview team in gathering the requirements to ensure everyone is looking at candidates with the same lens.
  2. Let your current talent work for you. Select a small but mighty team of two to three top people to identify your future talent. This team knows best what you are looking for because it already does the job really well. Plus, they are likely to know the best talent in the industry, so let them help you identify talent through their network and referrals. Put these people on your interview team, and let them be your internal consultants and trusted advisors. When it comes to your assessment process, avoid a parade of people who think they need to meet the candidate. Consider group or team interviews during one – and only one – onsite interview session, rather than multiple visits and one-on-one meetings. Your candidates will appreciate your efficiency, and by having the right people on your assessment team in this condensed format, you will retain quality and hire faster.
  3. Play show and tell. Give candidates the opportunity to show, and not just tell you, about what they know and do. Create a variety of experiences during the interview process that allows candidates to demonstrate hands-on their abilities through case studies, technical assessments, project portfolios reviews, and tried and true behavioral questions on past performance. Past performance is still a predictor of future behavior. When you see a person in action, you will be more confident he or she can do the job. Remember, too, that the assessment is a two-way street; your candidates are also trying you on for size. The more you can create a real-life experience for them, the better they will see themselves doing the job, eventually leading to a higher acceptance rate for your offer.
  4. Create an awesome end-to-end candidate experience. From the first email or phone call to the last feedback call, offer or onboarding, you must stay in touch early and often. As you take this journey with your applicant, be their guide. Don’t make them wonder what is around the corner, down the hill or how long it will take to get there. Along the way, give as much detail as possible about where they stand and what to expect next. The better you do this, the better rapport and trust relationship you build with the candidate. Remember that this person could be your next star team member and will most likely share the experience with others, good or bad.
  5. Measure your results. Survey candidates and hiring managers after their interview, and continue to improve and innovate. Ask what they liked and didn’t like. Have the interview team provide detail notes on why it gave the decision to hire or not hire. This gives you the assurance you have made the best decision and allows for detailed feedback to the candidate. Everyone appreciates this. Don’t be afraid of this feedback. Quality scores and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are your friend.

If you want to fill positions faster, increase quality of hires, and make a positive impact on your NPS from your candidates and hiring managers, try these Intuit best hiring practices at your own tax and accounting firm. Have your own best practices that didn’t make our list? Leave a note in the comments section below!

Editor’s note: Check out these other tips for hiring the best accounting talent for your firm.

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