How to hire the next generation of professionals

The longevity of a business is determined by many factors, perhaps at the forefront is whether a firm is able to adapt and evolve to keep up in an ever changing technological world.

The accounting industry in particular is constantly being met with so many innovative new tools. It’s very important for advisors to keep up or risk being left behind.

In conjunction with this there is no point in having all the latest gizmos and gadgets if you don’t have the right team behind you to drive it.

Graduate accountants leave university today armed with skill sets that weren’t even around when some of us started our practices. There’s no denying that millennials work very differently, and although sometimes tarnished with a negative stigma they add great value to any business today. However it can be hugely overwhelming when deciphering not only how to recruit them, but also how to foster the most of out of them.

Remember that these graduates grew up in a different world

It’s undeniable that these millennials had a different upbringing to our own, growing up surrounded by a world of technology. Rather than textbooks, their learning is with cloud apps and the Internet. Business owners should harness it. The tech industry is evolving at such a rapid pace that being comfortable with change and innovation is a vital skillset to have within a firm. A graduate who understands technology, even if you don’t, will be a huge asset in the long run.

How do you select the great people from a tall pile of CVs?

When advertising a graduate position it’s likely that you’ll be flooded with a multitude of resumes that at first glance all look identical. All coming from similar universities with the same degree can make deciphering who will be a natural fit for your firm a huge challenge.

The first thing I look for is a person who will suit the culture of my team and my clients. I also look for for great work ethic, clearly demonstrated in their ability to commit to a job or community work during their studies. Even if it’s not related to their degree or a part time job at a cafe shows, it shows a person’s ability to juggle tasks, work under pressure and most importantly work hard. It’s very easy for students to take an easy route through their studies, but those who consciously work within their community or demonstrate they are a team player usually go to the top of the pile.

Millennials need to be impressed

But there is a mental shift with millennials which means that the hiring process entails not only being impressed by your candidate but also your candidate being impressed by you!  If a graduate ends up having to choose between you and another firm your competitive edge will be your company culture and the methods you use.

Studies have backed up the theory that millennials place a lot of focus on a workplace culture and really value having areas like breakout spaces. Adapting your workplace to accommodate millennials could sound extreme and expensive but it can be as simple as bringing in a few standing desks or a beanbag area. Similarly embracing cloud technology will allow colleagues the flexibility to work from home when they feel they need to.


Published by James Solomons

FCA, GAICD. Innovative Business Leader. Global CFO @Xref (ASX:XF1). Director at @business_Depot (formerly Aptus Accounting & Advisory @AptusAA). Former Head of Accounting @Xero Australia. Advocate, Entrepreneur & Educator #Family #Football #Fastcars!

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