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Evaluating Accounting Recruiters: 8 Questions to Vet Your Headhunter

Written by David Salters on February 16, 2022

Warren Averett accounting recruiters image

Besides the core products or services provided by any company, a well-designed and high-functioning finance department lies at every organization’s foundation.

With that in mind, building a high-caliber, in-house finance team for small and mid-sized companies is essential to success, but recruiting the right accounting professionals can be a challenge in today’s environment.

If you’re trying to develop a strong finance department for your business, it may help to partner with accounting recruiters who can match the right candidates with your company’s open roles.

For a business that’s new to the world of accounting recruiting firms, it can be difficult to differentiate whether your recruiter is actually a specialist in finding accounting candidates or a generalist who claims to meet the need with a disappointingly generic approach.

8 Questions to Ask to Ensure the Best Fit with Your Accounting Recruiters

Before you sign on the dotted line with your accounting recruiting firm, it’s important to fully evaluate their experience and knowledge specific to your company and the role at hand.

Since you’re preparing to entrust the recruitment of a vital team member—or several team members—to this company, it’s only fair to ask questions that help you understand the accounting recruiting firm’s approach, practices, philosophy and outlook.

Here, we’ve outlined eight questions (and the reasons why the answers matter) to help you vet your accounting recruiters and truly evaluate whether they have the necessary expertise, resources, vision, and desire to help your business staff your accounting department.

1. How many accounting placements have you made in the last 24 months?

You need to know that your accounting recruiters have a strong record of success placing talented accounting professionals with local companies like yours over the past two years.

It’s a clear-cut indicator that they are doing the work and have the expertise to get results for clients, even during a challenging time in a tumultuous marketplace.

True accounting and finance recruiters make these types of placements all the time. But, if your recruiter has made only a couple of accounting placements in the last 24 months, it may be an indicator that expertise for this particular area is lacking.

Warren Averett accounting recruiters image

2. How many accounting professionals in your area are familiar with your recruiting firm?

When industry professionals are familiar with an accounting recruiting firm’s reputation, it indicates that the recruiters are well-connected are well-represented in the area. More accountants and finance professionals are likely to apply for openings if a firm’s brand is familiar for being trusted among their peers.

On the other hand, if only a few accountants in your area know of your recruiting firm, it may mean that the recruiters aren’t very connected with your candidate pool.

Warren Averett accounting recruiters image

3. If you didn’t have access to job boards or LinkedIn, how many accounting professionals would your firm know?

It’s important to understand the various ways that your accounting recruiters source talent.

You probably don’t want to work with a firm that simply combs job boards, LinkedIn and social media posts without digging deeper. In today’s competitive environment, those tactics won’t get very far to make your job postings stand out and attract qualified candidates.

Expert accounting recruiters know accounting candidates in real life—not just in the virtual job market—and can tap candidates in your area in ways that are more personable and more meaningful than the generic online tactics. Because they’re in the industry trenches each day, their toolbelts are much more vast and varied to connect your company with accounting professionals.

Warren Averett accounting recruiters image

4. Are you involved in accounting industry networking or events?

The more accounting and finance industry events your accounting recruiters are attending, the better.

Being involved in industry events means that they are constantly meeting and connecting with accounting professionals. And it also means that they are always learning more about the accounting field and are able to monitor trends and adjust your hiring strategies as necessary.

Recruiting generalists likely don’t devote the time to attend events that are so specific to the accounting and finance world.

Warren Averett accounting recruiters image

5. Are you familiar with the differences between candidates that would work in general ledger accounting vs. financial analysis?

Accounting roles aren’t all the same—though they may seem that way to a recruiting generalist.

Make sure your accounting recruiters are familiar with the substantial differences between general ledger accounting roles and financial analysis roles. Asking this question lets you know how well-suited an accounting recruiting firm really is for the job and whether they are equipped to find a candidate match depending on your needs.

Warren Averett accounting recruiters image

6. Are you familiar with what motivators are important for public accounting vs. industry accounting?

The answer to this question matters because it shows that an accounting recruiting firm knows what’s important to accounting candidates in various positions.

Most often, public accounting jobseekers are motivated by salary and moving up in the ranks within a firm. Accounting candidates who want more work-life balance tend to focus more on industry work, which entails working in-house as an accountant or finance professional for any business.

Having accounting recruiters who know the motivators of your ideal candidates will position your company to more effectively attract the right hires to your business.

Warren Averett accounting recruiters image

7. Are you familiar with the seasonality of public accounting vs. the seasonality of industry accounting and how to schedule with candidates during these times?

It’s important to know that your accounting recruiters understand the finer points of seasonality when it comes to the accounting and finance world.

Accounting recruiters who are truly familiar with accounting roles are more likely to know when available candidates might be searching for a new job, based on things like tax season or year-end duties.

And they’ll know how to communicate best with your candidates during certain busier times of the year, whereas a recruiting generalist may not see any difference in reaching out to a candidate in early April and reaching out in the middle of summer.

Warren Averett accounting recruiters image

8. Are you familiar with the accounting software programs accountants should be acquainted with for specific accounting roles?

Your organization might use various software programs for specific accounting roles, so you want to make sure your accounting recruiters know what is needed for specific roles to ensure each candidate has the software skills needed.

For example, Deltek Costpoint ERP has become a crucial software used by government contracting accountants, and it would be important for an accounting recruiter to know how to gauge a candidate’s skill level and familiarity with this tool.

Warren Averett accounting recruiters image

Warren Averett’s Accounting Recruiters Can Help You Fill Your Finance Roles

Warren Averett Staffing & Recruiting can help your growing business with effective recruitment for accountants and other financial positions. Our accounting recruiters understand how to help you make the best recruitment decisions for your business.

Contact us to set up a time to chat about how we can help your company find the best finance professionals to keep your business growing.

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