TFYW #009: Seven Points to Attract and Keep Good Talent

Nov 11, 2022

Just two weeks ago, my newsletter detailed how to build a different team.

I want to go deeper into the most important pillar of that new team: people.

I am a huge fan of automation but as a service provider, having good talent is absolutely crucial.

The old days of firms grinding their employees are over. The classic firm and talent relationship needs a complete redo.

Your people strategy includes:

  1. Branding your firm before you need talent
  2. Clarify the WHAT and WHEN before you need to hire
  3. Creating job postings and career pages that sell the firm  
  4. Enhancing your interview process + trial days
  5. Onboarding team members is the first impression of your firm
  6. Providing real mentorship and growth plan
  7. Training that teaches the WHY and less of the HOW 

If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:

 

Talent acquisition has to be as important as client acquisition.

 

Talent acquisition doesn’t stop when an employee signs the offer letter.

The above list may only have seven items, but each will take time and resources to implement. If, after reading this newsletter, you start to work on just two things, you are ahead of the majority of firms.

Branding Your Firm To Attract Talent

Do you have a plan for attracting new talent? Does it only include posting to Indeed or Zip Recruiter when you need a new team member?

Let me stop you there.

Gone are the days of long candidate lineups pounding on your door.

Landing a good hire will take preparation and marketing.

Like building your following for acquiring clients, you must create a following for acquiring talent.

Oracle knows this. They also know they need a steady stream of new software engineers and other team members as they grow.

They have a social presence for their company, but also for just attracting talent.

Today, good talent is planning ahead. They are designing the next 2 – 5 years. They are looking for engaging jobs and people/firms that are doing what they want to do.

Posting on LinkedIn about your firm’s culture and people development, goals and plans for your firm, and exciting milestones are subtle ways to sell yourself to your clients AND talent. Good talent is watching.

Clarify Your Needs In Advance

I emphasize planning with all my coaching clients because, generally, firms are terrible at making plans.

But not for lack of trying.

Offering multiple services to any client that comes through the door won’t allow you to create a structure to plan.

If you’re wondering if you’ll have one new corporate tax client or four new monthly bookkeeping clients next month, how can you expect to know when and who will be your next hire?!

The first domino to set in motion is focusing on a set of services. Get really clear on what you do in your firm – and then stick to those services.

Second, understand each workflow in that set of services and the skills, not roles, needed to complete those workflows – See Newsletter TFYW #007 for more details on this.

Third, develop a predictable cadence for landing new clients, through a consistent digital marketing plan. Waiting on referrals is wildly unpredictable.

Only after you have a predictable amount of forecasted work can you see when you should hire. If you are drowning in work, you probably should have hired 3 -6 months ago. But did you see that coming?

Job Posting + Career Pages

Just like an ad for a prospective client, a job posting or careers page has to be about the talent and their problems, goals and investment.

 

You want the talent to entrust you with years of their lives to build your firm.

What are you offering them in return?

Here is Liveca.ca’s career landing page. What the talent will get is displayed front and center before they can even see a job posting.

Focus more on them and their goals than on what they will do for you.

The Interview And Trial Day Process

The interview is a time for both the firm and the candidate to see if this is the right fit.

Good talent have options. They know they have options, so having a solid and attractive interview process is important.

A few modern firms test the candidates’ tech know-how with the first step after the candidate has applied.

Here are some recommendations when creating an application process:

1. Request a recorded video introduction: This gets the candidate to demonstrate if they can use their phone or whatever device to record a short video and upload it.

✅ They’ll demonstrate they are tech savvy  

✅ You’ll get a feel for who they are right away  

2. A zoom call interview: This is the formal regular interview, but on zoom – the communication method they will use with the team and clients. 

✅ They’ll demonstrate that can use Zoom

✅ You’ll get a feel of how they present online

✅ You’ll get to ask all the regular interview 

3. Paid trial day: This gets the candidate to demonstrate their accounting skills AND technology skills. You can get them to prep a mock 1040 or match a month’s worth of bank transactions while signing in to Slack and following simple instructions.

✅ They’ll demonstrate their baseline accounting skills

✅ They’ll demonstrate their baseline technology skills

4. Group chat at the end of the trial day: This gets the other team members to meet them and see if there is a cultural fit. 

✅ They’ll get a feel for the team to see if there is a match there

✅ You’ll see if the team jives with them.    

Having the talent experience how it actually feels working in your firm is important—stuffy and awkward interviews will drive good people away.

A modernized interview process is the only way to get the assurance you want as the firm owner while enticing good talent to invest in you.

Your time is valuable, so I will postpone detailing the final three points until next week. Stay tuned, and let me know if you have any comments or questions. Until then –

Build The Firm You Want,

Mark

P.S. Email Mark@FirmNexus.com with something that you want me to talk about. I’ll add it to the list. 

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