It's no secret that staffing can be a struggle for financial managers, whether it becomes necessary as a business grows or after a job vacancy. As you examine your company's payroll process, from tax payments to paycheck withholdings, along with today's hiring challenges, you may realize you need help building a team of payroll professionals.
From writing job descriptions to filtering applicants, to interviewing and hiring, obtaining skilled workers is not for the faint of heart. One of the best recruiting strategies is to work with a specialized staffing agency.
Here are seven best practices to follow — and that agencies can assist with — when bringing on operational support staff, including payroll professionals.
1. Cast a wide net for payroll professionals
It's no longer enough to just upload the listing to a job board and wait for applications to roll in. In a job market rife with opportunities for candidates, you should take a multipronged approach, including advertising the position on social media accounts and encouraging followers to share the post. If you're working with a staffing agency, you'll gain access to a network of payroll job seekers. Recruiters can also spread the message via their own social media feeds.
2. Use marketing to sell your company
To stand out in a sea of postings, front-load your payroll job description with the many pluses of working for your organization. Include enticing nuggets like flexible scheduling, regular social events, wellness perks, opportunities for advancement, all part of your corporate culture. As today's professionals — especially millennials — seek meaningful work that makes a difference, play up your company's community involvement.
3. Accelerate the hiring process
It can be daunting when you're already balancing this with your day-to-day work, but speeding up your hiring process helps ensure you have your pick among the top candidates available in your area. Update your job posting to weed out unqualified applicants. Streamline interviews by having candidates meet only with essential personnel. Cut out a round of interviews, where possible. Recruiters can also shoulder a lot of the burden for you. While they can't do everything, they can get moving right away and seriously reduce your legwork.
4. Outsource the screening
As any manager knows, a substantial number of job applications simply don't make the cut. Then there are those candidates who look great on paper, but you soon discover they've embellished their skills and credentials. You can save time and all these headaches by using a specialized recruiter who handles much of the initial evaluation so you can meet with a handful of fully vetted candidates and pick the best fit.
5. Prioritize people skills
Aside from seeking out job candidates who understand payroll software and the latest compliance requirements, you should pay particular attention to their soft skills — the ability to soothe ruffled feathers and quickly resolve payroll issues. While communication and interpersonal skills can be taught, they're often more difficult to develop than technical know-how. When meeting with potential hires, be sure to ask how they've dealt with angry customers or recovered from a mistake. Ask insightful situational and behavioral interview questions specific to payroll functions.
6. Be flexible with your hiring needs
Have you considered a temp-to-hire strategy for your company? There are alternatives to hiring full-time employees, and staffing agencies are well-versed in assessing your needs and providing a solution that's right for you. If you want to focus on getting the work done and you're not sure you need someone full time, you might find a temporary worker is your best bet.
7. Keep them happy on the job
After landing someone great, whether temporary or full time, don't simply rest on your laurels. Focus on keeping them engaged and acknowledging their work. Robert Half's study on workplace happiness finds that among the accounting professionals surveyed, the top driver of professional contentment was feeling appreciated.
As many payroll specialists realize, this work is largely unrecognized. Because your staff likely won't receive many kudos from fellow employees, it's up to management to boost morale. Even simple verbal praise, in private or in public, can go a long way in making a worker feel happy on the job — especially one you recently recruited to join the team.
This article was first published on the Robert Half International blog. Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has 300 locations worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at roberthalf.com/accountemps.