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What Is the Best Way to Fill My Open Jobs While Unemployment Is Rising?


Shouldn’t hiring in finance and accounting be easy right now? After all, there are “tons of people” looking for work as unemployment rates skyrocket, so filling a position should be quick and uncomplicated.

In the finance and accounting sector in the Bay Area, it’s just not that simple.

The hiring landscape changed very quickly over the last few months. Many companies cut their recruiting teams and budgets with the pandemic and consequently changed their recruiting process. Now when we’re faced with unexpected staff changes or an opportunity to add a position, we find yet another obstacle to moving forward during this difficult time. 

Let’s say you start your day on Monday morning ready to navigate a new week in this “new normal.” The first email you read is one of your employees wanting to schedule time with you. Surprise! They are resigning. You’re shocked — you didn’t think anyone had anywhere to go. Now you’re left with a gap you need to fill quickly. 

It should be easy to hire a replacement, yet it’s not. Yes, there are fewer openings in general, but many industries, like technology and life sciences, for example, are still doing very well. Whether planned or unplanned, you will have reasons to hire in the coming months. 

So, how do you move forward? The answer largely depends on if you have internal recruiters, how quickly you must fill the role, and whether you can just “fill the seat” or if you need the best candidate in the market. 

Option 1: Post the Job Online

If You Have An Internal Recruiting Team

If you still have internal recruiters, they don’t have much bandwidth right now. Chances are the team has been downsized and is now expected to do more with fewer people, supporting multiple (or all) organizations in the company on any requisitions that open up.  

Filling specialized positions, like in finance and accounting, without relationships to make the necessary connections is difficult to do.  

“How do you move forward? The answer largely depends on if you have internal recruiters, how quickly you must fill the role, and whether you can just “fill the seat” or if you need the best candidate in the market.”

Likely, your team will use a posting strategy. While they will probably receive hundreds of resumes to wade through, the percentage of qualified local candidates with relevant expertise will be very low. 

Consider the candidates applying to your open positions: 

  • Are these applicants the best in our market?
  • Do they have the specialized skills and expertise you need? (If the answer is yes, they will also have many opportunities and will be gone quickly.)
  • Are they located in the Bay Area, across the country, or even overseas? (Non-local candidates add material time to the process, if they can even absorb the cost-of-living increase required to move to the Bay Area.)

Also, keep in mind that any candidate applying to an online posting is an active candidate — a highly motivated person who was laid off or is otherwise concerned about their company’s future. 

If your team relies on the posting strategy, they’re spending valuable time screening less desirable candidates while still not getting access to the passive candidates who may be a great fit but aren’t actively looking for a new role. 

So, how do you attract the passive candidates? You don’t. They are not looking for a job and won’t reply to the one-off message they get from an internal recruiter they don’t know. 

If You Don’t Have an Internal Recruiting Team

If you don’t have an internal recruiting team, you will be the one managing the posting and screening the high volume of resumes you receive. If this feels like it would be too time consuming, and rightly so, you can still “ping” your network on LinkedIn to see if someone knows the perfect available candidate. 

However, while this approach seems logical, it rarely works and often results in lost time and money. Here’s why:

There’s the perception of an abundance of talent in the marketplace, so one of your contacts will know someone. This is a myth. 

The market isn’t flooded with qualified finance and accounting candidates. Plus, most passive candidates aren’t interested in making a move. The small percentage of accounting and finance candidates let go in the mass layoffs of April have already found work. 

Do you have the appetite to target, source, engage, and market your search? Are you ready to combat their objections and make them interested in your company? 

If your answer is yes, what does it cost you?

“One recruiting fee to get the best long-term candidate for the job will cost much less than leaving the position unfilled or filling the job with the wrong person.”

Figure out your hourly rate (salary divided by 2050 hours). Multiply that number by how many hours you’ll spend finding someone. While your network is big, it may not be big enough to find the qualified candidate(s) you need to make the best hire. If you’re not successful, those dollars are wasted. If you make a bad hire, that’s even more costly. 

Finding the candidate yourself is usually not the answer. It’s a complicated and time-consuming process — especially in our current market where candidates need more time and information to feel comfortable making a move.

Option 2: Hire Internal Recruiters

If you are in the majority, you likely laid off or furloughed your internal recruiters. Do you build your internal recruiting team again, or hire an agency to fill this one role? 

Crunch the numbers and look at the facts to see what makes sense:

  • What’s the ROI? Will there be enough new requisitions in the short term to justify the salary, benefits, and the overall fully loaded cost of a full time internal recruiter? Is this cost effective? 
  • What connections have your internal recruiters maintained? If your furloughed internal recruiters haven’t been nurturing your candidate pool (keeping people warm and familiar with your brand), restarting will not be seamless. Those candidates will have forgotten about you and you’ll incur high start-up costs to re-engaging them. 
  • Who will manage, train, and develop an internal recruiter if this isn’t a core competency of your company? How long will it take them to source and engage the passive talent in the market?

While internal recruiters have a viable role in our organizations, in this time of limited hiring it’s typically quickest and most cost-effective to fill a small number of jobs by using a specialized firm who focuses on nurturing the candidate pool no matter the circumstances. 

Option 3: Hire a Recruiting Firm

You’ll save yourself money and time by paying a specialized, local, and experienced recruiting firm whose entire focus is developing and nurturing relationships with the passive candidate pool. These firms have spent the last three months nurturing candidates and listening to their fears and concerns. They know what their motivators are — and they know who may be the right candidate for you

One recruiting fee to get the best long-term candidate for the job will cost much less than leaving the position unfilled or filling the job with the wrong person. It’s a far more efficient use of your time and resources to find the right recruiting firm than it is to try to find the right candidate. 

When you’re ready to hire, consider how to maximize your time and ensure this isn’t the most expensive hire you’ve ever made.

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