How to Avoid Hiring Shock

Avoid Hiring Shock - blog graphic

For a lot of companies, entering the hiring arena brings a few shocking revelations. In the current market (candidate-driven, highly competitive, and extremely urgent), those revelations can feel magnified. 

When you look at current labor market data, the struggles make sense: job openings have hit record highs, reaching levels not seen in at least two decades. Lots of employees are voluntarily resigning—in fact, September 2021 saw the highest quits rate in over twenty years. Finally, and perhaps most frustratingly, the professionals that are most in-demand are the hardest to find and often work in industries with the lowest unemployment rates in the country. 

Job openings graphic from BLS

Many of those professionals are in accounting and finance occupations.

If you’ve tried to hire a senior accountant or an accounting manager lately, you may be gasping for breath. We are sitting in the midst of a highly competitive market where there’s such a demand for talent that hiring, whether for new positions or existing ones, can be mind-bogglingly hard. Plus, many companies, even established and stable ones, are losing some of their best people to their competitors. This is especially true for companies that aren’t retention-savvy. 

The good news is that there are a few ways to prepare for these hiring challenges and set your company up for success. Below, you’ll find our top tips for succeeding in this crazy hiring market, even if your positions have been open for a long time. 

Analyze your salaries 

We’re in an age of extreme demand. When demand for talent is high and the supply of qualified candidates is low, salaries for those positions go up. If you’re trying to hire a senior accountant in the current market, you’re almost certainly competing with multiple other companies for the same candidates. The salary you’re offering needs to be in line with what the current market is demanding. 

If you’re still trying to fill a position that’s months old, it’s time to revisit the salary range you’re offering. An expert in local market salaries can help you evaluate and adjust your salary range so it aligns with current market rates for particular skills. If you can’t adjust your salary range, you may need to adjust the experience or skill level your position requires. 

Be realistic in evaluating your perks

When you’re trying to hire the same professionals as everyone else, you have to find ways to make your company stand out from the pack. As a result, thousands of businesses are expanding their employee perks, offering everything from stock options and tuition assistance to bonuses, employee wellness programs, and extra PTO. 

If you haven’t evaluated your own company’s perks lately, they probably aren’t in line with current candidates’ expectations. Speak with a labor market expert who knows which perks are most attractive to job seekers in this market.

Read more: Adjust your hiring process for today’s labor market.

Utilize interim talent so the work doesn’t pile up

High demand naturally makes the hiring cycle longer, especially for companies that are diligent and careful with their processes. You can get three interviews deep with an outstanding candidate, and they accept an offer from a competitor. Suddenly, you’re back to square one.

The problem with this is that the longer a position remains unfilled, the more work that piles up for potential employees. An outstanding new hire may walk in on their first day, thrilled to join your team and excited to get started, only to find weeks of backlogged work waiting for them. It goes without saying that this isn’t the best first impression, and it’s certainly not a great strategy for improving employee retention or bolstering company culture. 

An interim consultant can keep the work moving while you look for a long-term employee to fill the position. Interim talent can also ensure that a new employee has a manageable workload when they start.

Speaking of a long hiring cycle…

Don’t have unnecessary steps in your hiring process

While you’re conducting your fifth phone interview, your competitor is making that great candidate an offer. While you’re gearing up for your second round of skills testing, your competitor is entering salary negotiations. Due diligence is certainly a must during the hiring process, but unnecessary steps are only going to make it harder—and more time-consuming—for you to fill roles.

One resource for shortening your hiring process is finding a recruiting partner with proven resources and strategies. For instance, Vaco’s Hosted Interviews (call Vaco today!) can help you narrow down top candidates faster.

Understand what you need

Sit down with your team members and discuss what the position really requires, both now and in the future. Ask yourself the hard questions. 

Does the role truly require a CPA certification or could the work be done by a junior accountant on a CPA track? What career trajectory could the position have within your organization? Do you need someone with the skills and experience to eventually become a manager?

If you need guidance on what to offer, how to define the position, or what’s realistic, Vaco can help. We understand, and we care.

Explore Vaco’s accounting and finance solutions to learn more about how we can help you find top talent and grow your team, quickly and effectively. 

Want to connect with a Vaco expert? Contact us today; we’re with you all the way. 


Joslyn Osborn - Vaco Partner


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