Episode 053: Making the Most of Your Staffing and Recruiting Efforts

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In this episode of The Wrap, Jessica Juliano, CPA—a recruiter dedicated to identifying and placing talent in accounting, finance and administration fields—joins our hosts to discuss why staffing and recruiting is different today, how businesses can successfully onboard the right hires despite the competition and how to vet your head hunter so you actually get what you’re paying for.

After listening to this episode, you’ll know:

  • How businesses can get the right candidates interested in their open roles
  • How hunting for talent for your company is different today than it was a few years ago
  • How to vet a recruiter or head-hunter so you know they’re a good match for your organization
  • What staffing and recruiting resources you may need to acquire the right hires and how to use them efficiently
  • How to distinguish your company from your competitors to attract the best hires

Additional resources:

·         Blog: Find the Right IT Recruitment Agencies: 5 Questions to Ask Your Recruiter
·         Blog: Evaluating Accounting Recruiters: 8 Questions to Vet Your Headhunter
·         Blog: Engineering Recruitment: 5 Questions to Vet Your Engineering Recruiter
·         Blog: Staffing and Recruiting: Why and How Today’s Market is Different
·         Blog: How to Multiply the Efforts of Your Talent Acquisition Team
·         Blog: Is Remote Work Here to Stay? (The Past, Present, Future and Benefits)
·         Blog: Recruiting Solutions: Three Reasons Industry Expertise Counts
·         Blog: Hiring in the Age of the Remote Worker: Three Ways to Be More Effective
·         Blog: Three Ways a Talent Acquisition Specialist is Key to Your Company’s Recruitment

(00:00:02) Commentators: Hey, I’m Paul Perry. I’m Kim Hartsock, and you’re listening to the Wrap, a Warren Averett podcast for business leaders designed to help you access vital business information and trends when you need it. So, you can listen, learn and then get on with your day. Now let’s get down to business.

(00:00:21) Kim Hartsock: Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Wrap.

(00:00:24) Paul Perry: Today, we’re going to be talking with our own Jessica Juliano on recruiting and what businesses need to know about when they’re searching for the candidates. We’re so happy to have Jessica with us.

(00:00:33) Kim Hartsock: That’s right, Paul. And in episode 51, we discussed with David Salters in detail about the great resignation and recruiting trends and all of that. But this one’s going to be a little bit more detailed, right, Paul?

(00:00:47) Paul Perry: Yeah, that’s right. We’re going to talk about businesses in more of a micro perspective, right? Not just the whole war on talent, but what the businesses need to be doing when they are searching for people and what are the best ways to do that? And like we said, we’ve got Jessica Juliano here. Jessica, it’s a pleasure to have you with us today.

(00:01:03) Jessica Juliano: Thanks, Paul. Thank you for having me. I am Jessica Juliano, and I started my career in public accounting as a senior auditor for a national firm. I joined Warren Averett almost 10 years ago and our solutions consulting practice for Warren Averett Staffing & Recruiting. I’m currently a Senior Recruiter and Client Manager. I specialize in doing executive search for our industry clients, not just internal recruiting for the firm, but doing industry recruiting for finance and accounting.

(00:01:40) Kim Hartsock: So, yeah, Jessica, we look forward to hearing from you and just hearing more about if I’m searching for someone, how do I even get the right candidates in my inbox and who do I need to work with? How do I find those people? All I hear from people is there is no unemployment. Everyone has a job. So, no one’s looking for a job. No one’s seeking that. But you’re here to tell us that maybe that’s not all true and what the trends are telling you as far as how we can search for those candidates.

(00:02:09) Jessica Juliano: That’s right. And I mean, you can see all the articles in the news talking about the great resignation, the great, you know they love using terms on talent trends. At the end of the day, what companies need to know is how you can find the right candidates. It’s all in the resources that you’re investing in and how you’re viewing the individuals that you’re trying to hire. So, you know, it takes an entire team. If you don’t have a team in-house, then you want to utilize external resources. You want to make sure that you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. And at this point, depending on the type of talent you’re looking for, you really need a trusted advisor. You need trusted advisers to guide you on what the actual trends are in your area, in your industry and the types of talent that you’re going to be needing for the future. So that’s a good summary of how I would approach, “How do you find the right candidates?”

(00:03:15) Paul Perry: People listening to this that have hired for years, but for their company, you know, like we’ve said with most every other topic we’ve done on The Wrap: it’s not the same way it was. It’s not the same way it was 10 years ago, right? People aren’t just going to come looking for you. So, what specifics? What actionables would you give folks listening to this? You know, how do you hunt for the talent in today’s market, today and everything that’s going on?

(00:03:47) Jessica Juliano: I mean, you’re right. Having been a hunter of talent for almost 10 years now, I can tell you it’s different than yesterday. It’s ever-evolving. The first thing is to recognize is that what you’ve done in the past (whether it was 10 years ago, five years ago, last week) is going to be different tomorrow. You want to have a true talent strategy and be able to be agile, be very flexible to be able to capture the talent and capture the capital investment in the resources that you’re using. Whether it’s an in-house team that you’re paying year-round, the resources that they must post ads, things like that. Then, the external resources, external specialized recruiters. You want to establish a good rapport and relationship with them. Send them more information than just a job description because you can do that by just posting on a computer. So, you can get more out of your external resources than you probably have had in the past if you have a moment to really let them be a partner with you.

(00:05:01) Kim Hartsock: If I want to work with somebody, if I feel like, ok, I’m not going to be able just to sit in my office and place an ad and everybody is going to come to me like in the glory days of putting out a job description. And I want to work with somebody. What are the things that I need to look for if I’m trying to hire that trusted adviser to partner with me?

(00:05:28) Jessica Juliano: You know, that’s a good question. There are people that – whether it’s your auditors, whether it’s your bankers, your lawyers – every single company has had exposure to recruiters. So, I would reach out to your trusted adviser network and say, “Have you used anyone successfully that you recommend?” Once you get a couple of names of companies that you have been recommended, I would have a detailed meeting with them where you get to ask them: “Why should I choose you? What do you do differently than my internal in-house recruiting team that will help you find the talent better than they can?”

What they should tell you is that we meet each person live or virtually. We reach out to them directly. We do not rely solely on ads. We will ask them questions like: What is your walk away money? Meaning you won’t accept a counteroffer; you will walk away. If I give you this offer right now, that’s what you need to leave your current job. Ask them why they’re wanting to make a move. Why did they respond to the recruiter? You know, that’s reason for consideration is something that I think is an important piece of the puzzle as to why a recruiter presents a talent. And then also, why did the person respond? There’s always a reason besides money. Those are questions you want to be able to partner with the referral source the recruiters that you’re going to be talking to and make sure you make a good order so that they can deliver what you’re needing.

(00:07:09) Paul Perry: So, Jessica, what are some of the other resources people should be using? You know, how are companies finding the talent and then once they do find the talent, what is it they should be doing as next steps?

(00:07:21) Jessica Juliano: The resources that I would recommend and sure, the prices for all these resources are going up. So, you just need to recognize that it will cost. There are going to be costs associated with finding talent. If you only place free ads and sit back and post on your own website, not only will the talent that applies potentially get lost in the shuffle, but it’s a full-time job to filter through all the unqualified talent. That’s a big part, so using your resources as efficiently as possible is just as important as picking your resources. LinkedIn is a reputable resource, and then, like I said, external recruiters are another resource I would recommend. Of those resources, taking a hands-on approach to each of them and not sitting back is in your best interest so that you get the biggest return for the money that you’ve invested.

(00:08:19) Kim Hartsock: What are the best opportunities to find the talent that I really want to hire, right? I don’t just want to fill a position. I’m looking for a specific job and I need the right person to fill this job. What are the best opportunities for me to do that?

(00:08:37) Jessica Juliano: The best way is to identify a specialized recruiter. You want to know when you essentially interview your recruiter, get their information, and say, “How many placements have you made that are similar to this experience?” Like, I need someone that can be an IT director. I need someone who can be an accounting manager with SEC reporting. You want to be specific and hear from them what placements have they made in the last 24 months. Have you placed somebody with these skill sets? If you have not, what are you and your recruiter going to do to find them? Their response should be we have the tools that we pay year-round to headhunt, go reach out to talent, pose the opportunity, get responses from them and then follow them through the recruiting cycle. So, the best opportunity for you is to ensure that you provided the required skills. There may be some preferred skills, but you want to make sure it’s very clear that they must have this experience. We cannot train them on this. They need to come in and hit the ground running.

If it’s a lower-level position or it’s something that’s new to your organization, tell the recruiter, “We have someone who is going to mentor and take this person under their wing, but we’d like for them to have a certain background that will set them up for success.” I tell candidates on the other side all the time, you want to be set up for success. If the company has communicated how that can be possible, you will have a better chance of tempting that talent to leave a situation where maybe they’ve hit the glass ceiling. Maybe, they are in a situation where they see the writing on the wall, looks like the company may get sold or merged and there’s going to be a mix-up in culture. They’re primed and ready to make a very smart move for their career. The best opportunity to find the talent is to communicate why you have a good opportunity for talent.

(00:10:56) Commentators: Want to receive a monthly newsletter with The Wrap topics? Then, head on over to warrenaverett.com/TheWrap and subscribe to our email list to have it delivered right to your inbox. Now back to the show.

(00:11:09) Paul Perry: A follow up question on that, Jessica. Because you’re not the only company that they’re recruiting for: How do you distinguish yourself between the other companies that they’re also recruiting for the same position, right? That’s got to be something that comes into the conversation. When somebody is thinking about, “Hey, I’m using a recruiter, I have to know that they’re also recruiting for other people. So how do I set myself apart as a company?” That’s probably something you deal with on a regular basis.

(00:11:37) Jessica Juliano: Absolutely. You know, a lot of things that have come up recently is the work from home, the hybrid schedules, the what type of flexible culture work arrangements have you made that allow people to separate work and life, but also be able to get done – not just their job – but get their home life? Taking care of that has become a very important part. We heard for years, “You know, the millennials, they love flexibility, they’re more interested in their extracurricular activities and their nonprofit work and things like that.” COVID switched it up for everyone. There is no group that is exempt from the transition that we made due to COVID.  I think that for companies, they need to recognize that if they can’t make any type of flexible schedules or arrangements, what can you do? What can you offer your people so that they know that you mean more than just the bottom line? Right? So, whether it’s “Yes, we’re in the office, but every third Friday, we take off” or whatever it happens to be that you can give: what’s the give and take?

(00:12:56) Kim Hartsock: I know that companies like ours, there are seasons where we’re busier than others, right? And there are seasons of recruiting. Typically, there’s a season where we’re hunting for new talent, there’s a season where we’re onboarding and then, there’s a season when our people are busy, right? So how do you deal with that? How do you deal if there’s a seasonality where there’s a schedule of trying to fit candidates in during those times?

(00:13:25) Jessica Juliano: You know, I think that based on the industry and based on the type of talent you’re looking for – whether it’s public accountants or if you are in the governmental sectors – you know you’ve got certain requirements. Publicly traded companies, you are not going to probably need or want to hire at quarter end or at year end. But you must be flexible. And I think the virtual meetings have really helped companies expedite the interview process. What you want to do is regardless of the season, you must decide so that you can capture the talent when they’re available. And the best way to do that is to have it – whether it’s Zoom or team interviews – get those interviews going as quickly as possible. Have max people to interview, make sure you feel like you have met the person. But at the end of the day, they may have three offers on the table. After three weeks, they’ll be gone. So regardless of the seasonality of the talent, you want to schedule that as soon as the talent is in your inbox. You want to meet them as quickly as you can and go through your necessary vetting process so that you know that you did everything you could to get them through the door.

(00:14:46) Paul Perry: Jessica, you’ve talked a little bit about specialized recruiters. Is there any specific information people should know about specialized recruiting? You know, if they’re going to get some help in that area?

(00:14:56) Jessica Juliano: Yeah. When you do meet with the recruiter, ask about their recruiting team. If you’re in a certain area, ask if the recruiters have experience recruiting and whatever vertical you’re going to be hiring in – like IT or accounting – whatever the specialization you’re looking for… Ask them what their record of success is. If the recruiter has made a couple of placements in the last 6 months, where they are successful, did they stay in those positions? You want to know that you’re talking to someone that isn’t just going to post an ad and then send you predominantly unemployed candidates, and that’s an indicator.

If you see candidates that are already in transition, more likely than not, those candidates came from a posted ad. To ensure that you’re getting talent that is passive, that is open to having a conversation, but not necessarily looking: those are specialized. Recruiters are equipped to start conversations and engage talent that may not necessarily be unhappy in their job but are trained to talk to people and tempt them to have a conversation with you and thus gets them down the line to ultimately an interview.

(00:16:24) Paul Perry: When we were planning this discussion, we talked a little bit about recruiting use of AI. I’m always going to bring up something technology-related in a lot of our conversations. We could probably do a whole session on just the AI piece of anything. But that’s probably another question you have to ask your recruiters because… if I’m going to hire you, is it actually you and your people that are meeting with folks or are you relying too much on technology and AI. We could talk about the bias that’s sitting in AI or we could talk about any failure of AI in the last 10years and say that’s a reason not to use it now. Can it help? To some extent, maybe, but it’s not what you want to be relying on somebody for. Can you speak to that aspect of it? Because, if I’m in a business and I’m going to use an outside recruiter and I’ve got two in hand… One is substantially higher than the other, right? I don’t need to ask, why are they so high? I probably need to ask, “Why are you so low?” Does that make sense and talk about a little bit quickly on how do you know when somebody is only using AI? Maybe that goes back to your answer a moment ago, but just talk about AI and recruiting a little bit now.

(00:17:47) Jessica Juliano: Talk about AI, for years I have read, or I’ve heard podcasts on how AI is going to take over recruiting and you’re not going to need recruiters. I think one of the things that I’ve learned is that the computer cannot take away the hands-on human conversation. You can have people that apply to an application and aren’t really looking… you can reach out to them and ask them for an interview, and they say, “Well, I just put my information out there just to see just to see if y’all would bite.” The computer cannot vet someone out from wasting your time versus a recruiter who will have multiple conversations with them and say, “OK, are you sure you’re interested in moving forward? Will you accept the counteroffer?” What AI and the computers do efficiently is value. You know, you’re going to get a hundred applicants for one staff accountant position. There may be eight people with an accounting degree of that100, and it may give you a result of 20 just because they have had some accounting-related skills because they’re scraping those skill sets. So, you still must go through those 20 applications that fit the keyword.

When you’re using a specialized recruiter, you should get no more than five qualified candidates that are fully vetted. So, the amount of time that it took an internal team to go through and filter through all the filtered AI applications: it’s a time value of money. It boils down to that at the end of the day, you can get a lot of volume with AI, but you’ll get more targeted, time-efficient talent through a more specialized resource like a recruiter.

(00:19:40) Kim Hartsock: Jessica, here on The Wrap, we always love to end with a wrap up in 60 seconds or less. What information do you want to leave our listeners with in regard to specific trends on searching for the right talent?

(00:19:55) Jessica Juliano: Now, I would tell anybody looking to recruit talent to their company: it’s not impossible. You can set yourself up for success and the way to do that is: you want to work with resources. You want to work with recruiters that don’t just simply comb job boards, LinkedIn and social media posts without digging a little deeper and getting to know the talent that they’re presenting. You know, it’s competitive out there. Those tactics won’t get you very far when you’re just posting jobs and you just attempt to attract talent independently, they’re not going to come. It’s not as if you build it, they will come. But expert recruiters know candidates in real life. It’s not just this virtual job market.

They get to know the talent in your area with your specific industry experience, and it’s a personable, meaningful approach that bridges the gap between the virtual and live experience. The three things I would do is look at your ads, see how long they’ve been posted. I would look at the quality of the talent that’s been sent to you. Are they mostly unemployed? That way, you will know whether those recruiters are using ads or not. Do you have all your eggs in one basket? If so,you may be limiting yourself, and it’s just like ordering in a restaurant: if you place your order and see that they deliver exactly what you’ve asked for, then you know you’ve done a good job of hiring the right person.

(00:21:23) Paul Perry: Jessica, it’s been a pleasure listening to you talk about this. I’m sure there are a lot of businesses out there beating their heads against the wall or scratching their heads every single day: How do I find the right talent? So, good, actionable items. We appreciate you being with us today.

(00:21:36) Jessica Juliano: No, this is great. Thank you for having me.

(00:21:38) Kim Hartsock: Great to see you, Jessica.

(00:21:41) Commentators: And that’s a wrap. If you’re enjoying the podcast, please leave a review on your streaming platform. To check out more episodes, subscribe to the podcast series or suggest other topics you want to hear: visit us at warrenaverett.com/the wrap.


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