In the competitive hiring environment that exists in accounting today, communicating your recruiting brand and ensuring that it stands out is more important than ever to attract top talent. A plethora of factors are affecting the hiring market, and perhaps the biggest of which is the entrance of Millennials into the workforce. What they look for in a potential employer has changed everything.

Gone are the days when posting an open position on a job board was the beginning and end of luring a new candidate. Today, practices need to adopt an "always on" mentality towards recruiting. In the race for talent, it’s important to stand out in the crowd to hire the best of the best.

Define your culture

Culture is a critical piece of advertising your firm as a great place to work. To determine what drives your culture — your firm’s “why” — think about why your business exists and the strongly-held beliefs you would communicate to a customer or an existing employee. These considerations need to be made so you can communicate your culture to a potential hire and incorporate your culture into recruiting content.

Accounting firm recruiting and retention expectations

Create quality content

Increasingly, content is being used as a marketing tool for attracting talent. Industry job board Accountingfly says that applications from quality candidates are increased by 300 percent when a company shares relevant content on their website and social media channels.

The content itself can range anywhere from video, showcasing what it’s like to work at your firm, or written content created with similar intent or to position your firm as a thought leader.

Given that, according to Jobvite, 48 percent of job seekers used social media in search of their most recent job, social media is an important outlet for not only advertising open positions but your company’s culture; Jobvite also found that 59 percent have used social media to assess the company culture of a potential employer.

It’s important to be where the younger generation is. Although LinkedIn may be where they go for professional resources and communication, update all your channels regularly. Push out articles on LinkedIn Pulse but also post on Twitter and Facebook regularly.

Don’t be afraid to be flexible and show off the things your firm is doing in other, unconventional ways that the Millennial generation consumes it, and challenge your staff to promote the firm in this way. Having a Snapchat account for your firm with a location-based filter at your office can be a fun way to show what your firm is up to.

Your website should be your biggest resource for people looking for information on working at your practice. Keep the careers section of your website updated. Host not just job ads, but information on your firm’s culture, benefits and all of the great content you’ve created.

Interview process

Getting talent through the door and interviewing at your practice is a big step. But by creating an amazing interview experience you can make sure they walk out with the thought that they can’t imagine not working there. The experience needs to reflective of not only your firm’s culture, but also the environment. Consider options like if it will be a formal one-on-one process or a group interview.

Think about what is the most attractive part of your physical office space and make it a focal point. Do you have an amazing view or ping pong table? Office space shouldn’t just be functional but somewhere where people want to be. Many interviewees ask themselves, “do I see me here?” when interviewing. If you have a diverse workforce, this will be the case. Recruit for what you want the firm to look like as well.

Interviewing shouldn’t be something done out of necessity to fill an open position. Recruiting should be a constant momentum. Always be on the lookout for new talent at events and online; develop internal referral programs, and always be willing to meet with new talent — even just for coffee. If you make these connections, when it does come time to fill an open position, you will likely know the right person for the job.

By being always on when it comes to recruiting — creating great content, getting it out there and making sure you’re networking regularly — with your company culture at the forefront of everything you do, you’ll be able to hire the best of the best.

Amy Vetter

Amy Vetter

Amy Vetter is the chief relationship officer, partner channel, for Xero Americas.