Resourcing great staff and why a good job description is the keystone

When you do something every day, you become very good at it. Most accountants within small to medium firms don’t deal with resourcing often, so it’s important to consider your process as well as the use of external help to attract and secure the right kind of talent into your business. Of course larger firms often have access to specialist help, but even then it’s still worth while reviewing your processes to make sure you’re delivering current best practice.

In many firms, hiring tends to be a tactical solution rather than part of the strategic planning for your business. That is, the need is to replace somebody or to deal with a burning capacity issue, rather than business development or future business considerations. This approach is typically a ‘Recruitment’ tactic, rather than ‘Resourcing’.

Approaching resourcing with clarity on the role, an understanding of the firm’s culture and the expected growth of the role will ensure that the search process will result in improved business and candidate outcomes.

Creating the job description

The keystone to resourcing great staff is the job description. In times past, it was simply a list of job activities. A modern job description however links the role to the business goals, role purpose, key competencies and business values. A modern job description should consider:

  • Position title and role overview
  • Qualifications and experience, both essential and desirable
  • Technical skills
  • CPD requirements
  • Business vision
  • Job purpose
  • Behavioural competencies and values
  • Key result areas and how they will be measured

At first glance that might seem overwhelming but the reality is that it’s probably easier to pull together than you think. To help with this task, download Striver’s Free Job Description Template (https://www.striver.careers/for-business#For_Business_Resource). The template provides you with a ready to go format to complete your job description and there is even room to add your business logo to truly make it your own. It’s also a great template to use to update existing employee job descriptions too – annual staff review is a great time to complete this activity.

Without a solid job description you’re going to have all sorts of problems. You won’t have clarity on the skills and experience your business needs now and into the future. Worse still you may offer the role to someone who doesn’t properly understand the role’s function or business expectations and there might even be poor cultural alignment with the values of your business.

Key resourcing activities to complete

Of course the resourcing process is more than just a great job description. It’s also about attracting the right talent to apply for the role, conducting interviews and making an assessment of candidates before selecting one to offer the role to.

Here’s a quick checklist of issues to consider

  • Advertising the role in the right place and at the right time
  • Assessing applicants’ CVs against the position description
  • Psychometric and cognitive assessments
  • Inviting a short list of candidates into interview
  • Conducting first and second interviews, as required
  • Assessing applicant’s interview performance against the position description
  • Completing status checks such as residency, qualifications
  • Completing reference checks
  • Selecting the preferred candidate and making an offer
  • Thanking unsuccessful candidates for their applications

While the above list looks short and sharp, there’s a lot of work that goes into resourcing and it’s not uncommon for a thorough process to take around three months from start to finish. Through the above process we see why the job description is the keystone, without it the business or the candidates won’t have a clear focus.

Advanced resourcing techniques

In writing this article, we also wanted to share some advanced resourcing techniques that you may wish to consider utilizing in your business resourcing. We call these advanced because to be most effective, they are required to be completed by people with more specialist skill sets. We identify them because they have been shown to improve candidate selection, thus improving business outcomes.

Psychometric testing

Psychometric tests are usually written tests completed by preferred candidates. They are used to more clearly identify a candidate’s skills, knowledge and personality. They’re more objective that interviews and their often used as a part of an early screening process to help identify preferred candidates.

Using different interview styles

Typically most job interviews are structured with a list of pre-prepared questions that all candidates are asked as a part of the screening process. There are other kinds of interviews however. Unstructured interviews or semi-structured interviews are great to explore how a candidate might solve scenarios or problems. Stress interviews are used to create an intentional stressful situation to see how the candidate performs under pressure.

Peer Reviews

One of the challenges with interviews is that most interviewers bring some sort of personal bias to the table when they are undertaking the work. A peer review seeks to overcome this limitation by bringing in others from the business to provide alternative perspectives. Peer reviewers can be used at all stages of the process from reviewing the job description to helping interview candidates.

Hiring extra help for the heavy lifting

Depending on the role and the job market at the time of resourcing, you may be either overwhelmed or underwhelmed by the candidate responses you receive to the role. Neither are great outcomes – too many CV’s can leave you buried for weeks sorting through them. Not enough CV’s means that you may not have attracted the right candidate.

The work required to properly resource a candidate is also often not fully considered when the business makes the decision to hire. That’s why many accounting firms hire in assistance to help with the heavy lifting as well as undertake one or more of the advanced resourcing techniques to improve the outcome.

It’s important to remember that your approach to resourcing says a great deal to candidates about your business. In addition to screening and assessing them, they’re screening and assessing your accounting firm to consider if you’re the right fit for their career over the medium and long-term. And finally once you select your preferred candidate, don’t forget about the induction process. Inducting your newest hire effectively is the first step in creating a long term relationship.

For more information about Striver and to join the Striver Tribe at no cost, please follow the link to set up your account: www.striver.careers/accounting-launch. Striver is offering a free e-book in the month of November for those who join, ‘Your Professional Headspace’ by Scott Charlton.

Alisdair Barr
Founder and CEO at Striver
Email: abarr@striver.careers

Alisdair Barr

CEO at Striver
Alisdair Barr is the founder and CEO of Striver. He’s also been a key figure in developing the best practice frameworks for how financial advisory and accounting firms hire and manage early career talent. Alisdair has been recognised by the AFA for his contribution to the advice profession, including the best practice study and frameworks within ‘The Perfect Marriage –The Graduate and the Firm’.When he’s not working for clients with Striver, you’ll probably find Alisdair spending time with his young family
Alisdair Barr

Financial Services

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Alisdair Barr

Alisdair Barr is the founder and CEO of Striver. He’s also been a key figure in developing the best practice frameworks for how financial advisory and accounting firms hire and manage early career talent. Alisdair has been recognised by the AFA for his contribution to the advice profession, including the best practice study and frameworks within ‘The Perfect Marriage –The Graduate and the Firm’. When he’s not working for clients with Striver, you’ll probably find Alisdair spending time with his young family

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