The need to fill an open position can sometimes be so strong that firms are willing to take any warm body – but one of the keys to long-term retention is to spend a little more time in the hiring process.

Like most companies, the Best Firms to Work For check candidates’ personal and professional references as part of a multi-stage interview process. The vast majority of them also perform criminal background and credit checks.

Hiring experts also recommend that employers maintain a long pipeline of potential candidates, and keep the hiring process going even when they don’t have any open spots – and though that’s not always possible for smaller firms, the more practice your firm has at checking resumes, interviewing potential employees and sorting through the results, the better you’ll be when you really are ready to hire.

Here are some of the more unique ways the Best Firms to Work For attempt to find the best fits from the pool of applicants:

  • Other checks: A number of our Best Firms mentioned drug tests, and checking candidates’ driver’s licenses. Besides the DISC assessment, Fair, Anderson and Langerman also uses handwriting analysis. Interestingly, Rudler PSC was the only firm that specifically mentioned reviewing candidates’ social media postings, but more and more experts are suggesting that this should be part of the hiring process, particularly with younger people.
  • Deep assessments: Many of the Best Firms also use personality or behavioral assessments, like the Kolbe Index, or the DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness) assessment that Las Vegas-based Best Firm Fair, Anderson and Langerman employs. These aim to give employers a better idea of a job candidate’s personality, as well as how they will fit in with the culture of the firm and its current employees, and are becoming more and more common in all types of industries.
  • Outside help: Annapolis, Md.-based HeimLantz and Austin, Texas-based Maxwell Locke & Ritter both noted that they use TopGrading, a consultancy that offers high-performing hiring methods. There are a wide variety of hiring and candidate-vetting services and consultancies out there, many of them allied to traditional headhunters. Atlanta’s Porter Keadle Moore, meanwhile, will bring in a corporate psychologist to vet candidates at the management level. 

In the end, the more time you spend gathering and vetting candidates, the longer they’re likely to stay with you.

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