Building a Team? Accounting Agencies (might) help.

Working with my HR partners has always brought me direct feedback on the effectiveness of recruiting agencies in the finance and accounting industry.  When working to develop this post, I performed a quick survey of some of my Sr. contacts and the following feedback came to light:

Speed:  Accounting Recruitment Agencies fill positions faster.   Specialized functions like accounting require a different recruiting approach than general roles.  Top accounting recruitment agencies have the time and inclination to keep in touch with their top candidates so that they are ready to move when a new position needs to be filled.   Furthermore, an agencies’ candidates show up already pre-screened for the position, which allows the client to spend more time assessing for fit and less sorting through resumes.

agencies’ candidates show up already pre-screened for the position, which allows the client to spend more time assessing for fit

Accounting Recruitment Agencies are paid to perform:  The vast majority of my clients and contacts saw both positive and negative sides to paying a recruiting agency to fill a placement.  The idea that a client only pays for top talent is very attractive as the only cost is the hiring authority or HR manager’s time.   The same clients, however, have found that you also attract aggressive salespeople to the agency world with this model, many of whom are focused on closing the deal and not on the long-term result of the hire.  As a remedy, my contacts scorecard their agency partners on the number of times a position needs to be re-filled.

The idea that a client only pays for top talent is very attractive as the only cost is the hiring authority or HR manager’s time.

Overall Cost:  Organizations who are looking at a significant number of hires in a given year, may find it appropriate to invest more heavily in their internal recruiting function.  Interestingly, the people I surveyed let me know that even in a rapidly growing organization, they found it more cost effective to outline certain candidate or position requirements to accounting recruitment agencies.  Accounting has its own language, and as a result an organization with only a few hires in accounting will likely have difficulty in pipelining the right candidates as they struggle with the nomenclature.

 

Cultural Fit:  This is perhaps the most difficult dimension to quantify.  The degree to which a candidate fits the group and organizational culture requires an investment on the part of the client to educate the agency.   Some accounting recruitment agencies have a demonstrated track record with an organization they have worked with on numerous successful placements.  This enables the agency to use previous placements as model for what works.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t provide the multi-dimensional view that is required to really understand the subtleties of a company’s culture.

Overall, in my conversations with HR managers, the recurrent theme was that the best recruiting agencies were the ones who took the time to understand the company’s culture, specific job placement needs and offered some type of checks and balance system to ensure that their sales people had a measure of accountability.

According to the HR managers, a good recruiting company simplified their lives, moved a company towards increased productivity and was a partner in their success – a message worth paying attention to