The first thing I think firms need to do to sell themselves to potential employees is they need to understand what they want in an employee, and not technical skills per se. That’s an important component, but what’s really going to be a good cultural fit for the firm. When we talk about sales and marketing for an accounting firm, we talk about the ideal target client. We need to figure out who our ideal target employee is, and each department is probably going to have a slightly different ideal. But there should be a basis of value for the firm, core set of values that are going to help somebody be successful in the environment and won’t. Not everybody’s going to fit that, and when I talk to most firms, they don’t always have a strong handle on what that is. We tend to interview, and we have these biases that enter into it, and we hire based on a reaction rather than what we know will be successful in our environment.
When we see firms start to shift and hire around those values and those successful traits that’ll allow someone to succeed in their environment and the role that they’re in and the team that they’re being placed on, we see a greater amount of retention and a greater amount of success in their hiring efforts. The other thing that they need to do is they need to be wickedly good at communicating what it is that they do in a very unique way. Candidates today don’t really care that much how long you’ve been in business. They want an attractive job description, whether that comes in a written form, an audio form, or in a video form. They want to hear about your firm and what makes you unique. So you need to have someone that’s really wickedly good at communicating what it is that makes you different and why your firm is attractive.