28 September 2017
Millennials seem to be getting a bad rap these days, or at the very least, many are wondering why they are discussed so frequently when there’s always been a continuous cycle of new generations that seem slightly different than those before them. While over-generalizations abound, one thing is certainly true: in the U.S., millennials now make up the largest segment of the workforce, and as they continue to enter the job market, employers may find it challenging to hire the best and brightest of this generation. While you may be accustomed to looking for experienced candidates, hiring millennials—especially those in the younger part of the generation—often requires a new formula for identifying talent. In this new pool of candidates, companies must begin to understand that it’s the soft skills that will define a future leader. While they may not be ready to lead tomorrow, when you hire for potential instead of experience, you may just find that millennials will pleasantly surprise you—and you’ll secure the future of your organization in a millennial-dominated workforce. In order to identify growth potential when hiring millennials, look for these four soft skills during the hiring process: Leadership Skills While millennials may not have the desired management experience you would look for in a leader, there are other ways to identify an emerging leader in the hiring process. On the resume, look for: Trained Advised Directed In an interview, ask: Describe a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented primarily because of your efforts. What was your role? What was the outcome? Evaluate: If they took initiative, whether they took ownership of their work, how passionate they felt about the project, if they seemed to work well with others, and if they accomplished a successful result. Communication Skills Because effective communication is the foundation of a productive organization, it is crucial to identify millennials who have harnessed this skill. On the resume, look for: Negotiated Consulted Collaborated In an interview, ask: Have you ever had a disagreement with another employee at work? How did you resolve it? Evaluate: If they clearly articulated their issue with their coworker, and whether they were able to resolve the problem without it escalating. If they say they’ve never had a disagreement, it may be a red flag. Throughout the hiring process: You can easily evaluate communication skills through emails and interviews as well! Problem Solving + Critical Thinking It’s one thing to know that an employee can carry out their responsibilities under normal circumstances, but you also need to feel confident in their ability to perform under pressure. On the resume, look for: Resolved Improved Orchestrated In an interview, ask: Can you describe a project where you ran into an unforeseen issue? How did you approach the situation? Evaluate: How they identify challenges, think on their feet, and analyze a complex situation. If they can’t articulate their thought process or sought direction from a 3rd party, they may not be the self-starter that you need in a critical situation. Accountability Employees who feel accountable for their work, take initiative, and follow through are committed to the organization’s goals. On the resume, look for: Created Authored Contributed In an interview, ask: Tell me about a time you made a mistake. What did you learn? Evaluate: Where they place the blame. If they view the mistake as a learning experience, this is a positive sign that they take ownership of their work. Conversely, if they point their finger at others—or say they couldn’t have done anything differently—you may want to tread carefully. Learn more about hiring millennials with our new eBook: The Millennial Workforce: 21 Tips for Identifying + Attracting A New Generation Of Talent Check out our companion eBook on retaining millennials: The Millennial Workforce: 23 Tips For Motivating + Challenging Emerging Leaders
26 September 2017
In recent years, the demand for accountants and the specialized skills they possess has become remarkably high. As a result, these professionals, particularly CPAs with previous public accounting firm experience, have had many opportunities to diversify their skills in a variety of companies. But perhaps one of the most noteworthy trends since 2008 has been the transition to private industry. Due to the financial crisis, many financial institutions faced new regulations that required them to hire an influx of internal accounting professionals to help them comply with updated standards and new governmental regulations. Because of this sudden need, several accountants left their public firms to work in private industry and gain new experience. However, this trend has recently shifted, and many of the CPAs who left public accounting firms are now returning—creating a boomerang effect. “If you have made the transition to private industry and are interested in returning to public accounting, you are in a great position right now to make that move,” says Irv Myones, a Senior Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “I even have clients specifically asking for candidates with experience in private industry. They want professionals who not only understand public accounting, but also possess a specialized business skill set that they developed while working in private industry.” Irv explains that this is occurring in firms of all sizes, including the Big 4 level. In fact, EY has even stated that 30% of its experienced new hires are former employees that have come back to the field. So why are accountants returning to public accounting firms? Here’s what Irv has to say: They are looking for new challenges Because public accounting firms have such a diverse roster of clients, the work can be more varied than what they were responsible for in private industry. “Through this broad range of work, there is a potential for variety and new challenges,” explains Irv. “This makes these public firms very attractive to motivated accounting professionals. As the economy continues to improve, public accounting firms are gaining new business and expanding their scope of services. As a result, returning to public accounting is an opportunity for CPAs to further diversify their experience with clients they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.” This can provide just the type of challenge that a professional needs in order to take the next logical step in their career. For example, by taking the time to learn about an industry that you haven’t had much exposure to, you have the ability to carve out your own niche and explore new areas of specialization. They can see a wide array of career paths In public accounting—where accounting is the business—there can be many more opportunities for CPAs to grow professionally. According to Irv, the chances for a promotion, especially when returning with experience in the private industry, are higher. “In a public firm, accounting careers can take many different trajectories, particularly when you’re reentering with newly acquired business skills,” he says. “Plus, you may have higher level opportunities within reach at a public firm, like partner-level roles, where there is also a high demand at the moment.” Company culture is shifting In acknowledgement of the talent shortage, Irv has observed significant strides made by public firms in order to retain top talent. “They’ve pivoted toward a more relaxed company culture to better accommodate employees,” he says. “From a more casual dress code to more flexible hours, employees can find a more predictable work-life balance outside of their busy season.”
26 September 2017
You’ve finally made the decision to start your job search. While it may be tempting to jump back into the market, it’s important to ensure you have everything you need to lead a successful search. This starts with a strong resume. To make a positive first impression on an employer and increase your odds of landing an interview, there are hundreds of resume writing tips to choose from. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to separate the facts from fiction. However, there is some advice that most experts agree on: a flawed resume can mean a missed opportunity. When it comes to mistakes, it’s important to avoid these 5 at all costs: Don’t lie Getting caught lying about information included on your resume can do more than cost you the job. On top of that, it can lead you to become blacklisted at specific employers. As a result, do not embellish certain parts of your resume to try and stand out amongst competition. This especially relates to fabricated employment dates, misconstrued titles or responsibilities, or inaccurate information about your education. This information can be easily verified by the employer, especially if you can’t perform the functions of the job, so be honest about everything you include on your resume. Don’t rely only on spellcheck to catch your errors While hiring managers review your resume to evaluate your professional experience, they also pay close attention to a candidate’s level of professionalism in delivering supporting documents and materials. If your resume contains misspellings, typos, or punctuation errors, this will raise red flags to hiring managers, as it demonstrates a lack of attention to detail. As a result, instead of relying solely on your computer’s spellcheck to spot grammatical and syntax errors, have someone read your resume with a fresh set of eyes to catch things you might have missed. Don’t go overboard with style formatting Using additional styling and formatting to give your resume some character is a strategy many job seekers employ. However, candidates rely too much on creative designs and styling to help their resume speak to their professional abilities. While there is no one way of putting together a resume, there are certain resume writing tips you should rely on to avoid being overlooked for an opportunity. For example, steer clear of using multiple fonts and sizes, try being consistent with bullet point usage and use white space strategically. Don’t include irrelevant information It can be tempting to find other ways to sell yourself in the hope of standing out. However, beefing up your resume with irrelevant information that doesn’t pertain to the job you’re applying to, may only hurt your chances. For example, listing current activities and hobbies you’re interested in, providing honors and awards you received over 5 years ago, or including courses that have nothing to with the job, will only distract the hiring manger from your most relevant qualifications. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend saving certain personal and professional antidotes for a face-to-face interview. Along similar lines, it’s best to be strategic about the experience you list if you have less than 10 years of experience. While a two-page resume is not a deal breaker, hiring managers should be able to get a snapshot of your experience quickly. If your resume is too long, this will be difficult to do. Don’t rely on a “one resume fits all” approach Too often, job seekers make the mistake of relying on one resume to speak to every position they will eventually apply to. One of the most important resume writing tips to keep in mind is to focus on tailoring your resume to the position you’re applying to. Taking this approach illustrates to hiring managers how your professional experience aligns directly with the needs of the role you’re applying to, which may increase your odds of getting an invite for an interview.
21 September 2017
As an administrative assistant, you know just how important first impressions are. Since these roles typically require interaction with staff and clients at all levels, employers will be assessing your professional communication skills during in-person and phone interviews. After all, communication is a skill that can determine success in a potential role, so it holds a lot of weight in the decision making process. “Hiring managers will be paying close attention to how you communicate during the interview, so you’ll want to ensure you’re sharp and engaged throughout the entire process,” notes Tessa Ganassi, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support & Human Resources divisions. If you’re looking to display strong professional communication skills in an interview, here are several steps you should take for success: Hold eye contact For a hiring manager, maintaining eye contact during an interview is an indicator of how engaged you are. If you struggle to maintain eye contact when you are nervous, make a conscious effort to hold eye contact with friends and family as you talk with them throughout the week. Practicing in a casual setting will ultimately make you feel more comfortable during the interview. Be concise “A great way to make a positive impression on a hiring manager is conveying your professional communication skills through storytelling,” says Tessa. “However, you want to make sure you don’t start rambling to the point where you fail to answer the original question.” Before you go into your next interview, take a look over your resume and, for each skill and ability you have listed, assign a particular story to that item. For example, if you have strong interpersonal skills, tell the hiring manager a story about a time where you had to work on a project with multiple people and how you handled it. Be aware of your tone For a hiring manager, the way you speak can be what sets you apart from the other candidates they are considering. “When you go into an interview, it’s crucial to articulate yourself well,” emphasizes Tessa. “Interviewers are particularly sensitive to poor speaking habits such as upspeak and vocal fry, so you’ll want to really assess if you do these things.” To determine whether or not you need to make an improvement, use your phone to record your voice when practicing your responses to common interview questions. Hearing your own voice may make you feel uncomfortable, but taking the time to work on improving it can be what ultimately lands you the job! Take cues from your interviewer A successful interviewee is an individual who can quickly adjust on the fly. As you make your way through the interview, you may find that you’re losing the interviewer along the way. If this is the predicament that you find yourself in, focus on their body language and communication style as they are talking to you and try to mimic those patterns going forward. By doing so, a hiring manager will be able to assess your ability to read other people and respond accordingly — a key administrative trait!
20 September 2017
Last week, members of The Execu|Search Group’s Legal/Compliance team hosted a roundtable for a variety of compliance professionals. The event focused on discussing general trends and observations about the SEC and industry as a whole. Led by Melanie Marshak, a Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Legal/Compliance specialty area, approximately 15 attendees (including Chief Compliance Officers and General Counsels) discussed 2017 SEC exam priorities, tips for preparing for an SEC inspection, and the impact new Pay Equity legislation will have throughout the industry. Attendees also got the opportunity to hear from special guest speaker Christopher Ray, a Senior Principal Consultant, who has over 15 years of industry experience and specializes in SEC compliance. “These forums serve as a great platform for having an open dialogue about key issues impacting compliance programs,” says Melanie. “Compliance professionals typically attend several conferences and roundtables throughout the year as they provide opportunities to network and share information with like-minded professionals.”
20 September 2017
No matter the context, if you’re asked to write a professional bio, it can be a daunting request. Even if you’re comfortable in a writing capacity, the idea of writing about yourself is often met with more unease. Whether you’re more modest or confident in your profession, it’s important to be sure that you can communicate your professional strengths without unnecessarily boasting about your accomplishments—and you don’t want it to sound boring either. As a result, striking the right tone with the right information can be challenging. While a professional bio may seem overwhelming at first, there is one simple solution that can not only intrigue the reader but ensure that you don’t sound too pompous: don’t make it about yourself. Now, you may ask, “How do I write about myself without making it about me?” The answer is that your professional bio should mostly convey the impacts of your work rather than the actual work itself or your personal accomplishments. When you do so, you shift the focus to the people and businesses that you help. To craft a compelling professional bio, ask yourself the following questions: What is your impact? When you’re looking to describe your impact, that could mean many different things. Depending on your job, it could mean how you impact a customer’s life or a business’ results, or perhaps how your work affects people or communities in their daily lives. To answer this, you may also consider what challenges others face that you solve through your work. For example: “John Smith is a professor who helps students realize their full potential as they enter the medical profession.” “Susan Sommers is an Account Executive who helps her clients reduce production costs on average by 20%.” What do you believe in? When it comes to the impact you’re making in your field, the way you approach your work comes accompanied with your values and what you believe is the purpose of your job. As a result, communicating to the readers why you do what you do is fundamental to them understanding how you conduct yourself and your business. When they identify with your motivations and passions, they’re more likely to take interest in you. As a result, emphasize your core values that drive you to do your best work every day. For example: “Susan believes that people are a company’s biggest asset.” “John knows that students respond to honest communication and collaboration in the classroom, which is why they are the cornerstones of his teaching philosophy.” How can you prove the impact that you make? Next, come in with the proof that your work has made the impact you describe. This kind of evidence could come in many forms, as long as it conveys that you are effective in your role. Ideally, your proof is something that can be measured. However, be sure that you don’t convey the idea that personal profits are more important than the people or businesses that you help. For example: “While Susan takes an individualized approach to each of her clients, she has also increased sales by 25% over the last 5 years.” “John is proud to say that his students entering the field have a 95% job placement rate.” What about you? Now that you’ve addressed the impacts of your job and what makes you passionate about your role, you can add the final details about yourself that may be of interest to readers. For example: Where you’re from Where you received an education What kind of degree you have Other details from your professional background Your areas of expertise Other trainings, certifications, or awards you’ve received Where you live or work Contact information While not all this information is necessary, depending on where this professional bio is placed, you can use your discretion as to how much personal information is needed.
19 September 2017
This week, as we honor and celebrate the millions of rehab professionals who help those who are disabled live up to their fullest potential, we want to extend a special thank you to each of the therapists we partner with. “On behalf of The Execu|Search Group, I’d like to thank our rehab professionals for their dedication to their patients and their commitment to the organizations they work for,” says Daniela D’Alessandro, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Healthcare division. “As an organization that holds ourselves to the highest industry standards, we can only be as good as the people we partner with. Our therapists are truly the best of the best, and we can’t thank you enough.” Since 1976, National Rehabilitation Awareness Week has been celebrated annually across the United States. This observance, falling on the third week of every September, promotes the value of rehabilitation, highlights the capabilities of people with disabilities, salutes the professionals who provide services to this community, and renews our commitment to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
18 September 2017
As an accounting professional, you know just how hard it can be to maintain a good work-life balance throughout busy season, summer time, and the latter end of the year. While in the past it was considered normal to work 7 days a week during busy season, or 80-90 hours regularly per week, the industry has shifted over time. In today’s economy, employees are becoming more focused on achieving a better work-life balance and as a result, an increasing number of public accounting firms have had to fine tune their benefit offerings to better match the demands of the market. Irv Myones, Senior Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division, has witnessed firsthand the gradual shift in public accounting firms’ stance on offering better work-life balance to prospective candidates. “Over the years, small to mid-size firms have increased their focus on retention and succession planning efforts by taking steps to improve work-life balance for their employees,” says Irv. As a result, the level of flexibility a firm offers should be one of the factors you take into account as you evaluate if a particular firm would be the best move for you.” Big 4 firms like PWC have led the charge through offering a relaxed dress code and ‘year-round flex time,’ leading the way for an increasing number of small to middle market firms to follow suit. For example, certain firms have implemented a ‘4-day work week’ during the summer, in which employees have the flexibility to use up to 40 hours toward time off and extended weekends. “With summer weather on our heels, one of the biggest benefits our candidates have highlighted revolved around the increased flexibility they had to take time off around major holidays,” says Irv. “While select firms closed their offices on Fridays during the summer, many others also offer ‘work-from-home’ policies or other flexible seasonal/year-round scheduling options.” As you consider your next career move, think about how a flexible schedule could positively impact your career overall. Whether you are seeking a flexible schedule to spend more time with family, or trying to find more time to study for your CPA, having greater flexibility can ultimately lead to increased productivity. “While compensation might be at the top of your list of what you want in your next employer, take the time to research firms that give you a glimpse into certain policies that can provide a better work-life balance,” advises Irv. Ultimately, for those in the public accounting sector, now is a great time to reconsider the benefits your current employer offers and take advantage of the shifting benefits that firms are offering candidates.
14 September 2017
As you progress through the work week, you may have periods where your typical productivity levels have slowed. Don’t be afraid to admit it; it happens to everyone! However, there is a difference between occasional bouts of nonproductivity and having a bad habit of procrastinating. If this is something you struggle with, it might be time to assess whether your office rituals are keeping you from efficiently getting your work done. For those looking for tips to overcome procrastination, start by evaluating whether you have any of these habits: Texting and checking your phone In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s easy to get distracted by your phone. However, checking your phone every five minutes can hinder you from not getting your work done as quickly or as effectively you may have hoped. If you find yourself scrolling through your phone on a regular basis, keep your phone away from your desk by storing it in a bag or a drawer. If you can see it, you’re more likely to use it. Not maintaining a schedule Part of overcoming procrastination involves discovering what’s making you procrastinate in the first place. For example, if you find your productivity has stalled, it may be because you aren’t adequately managing your time effectively from the start. If you aren’t already, you should be keeping a thorough schedule of what your day and ensuing week looks like. Whether that is using tools such as Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, or a day planner, having a place to jot down important deadlines and meetings you need to address will help you to better manage all your responsibilities. Always saying yes Many professionals in the workplace will tell you that they have difficulty saying no to projects. However, this can sometimes lead you to feel so overwhelmed that you don’t know where or how to start. If you find yourself in this boat, it’s important to assess how much you can realistically handle. Unsure how? To start, evaluate your top priorities and see whether the extra requests align with them. It also helps to evaluate whether or not someone else is well-suited for the project you’re being asked to help with. Second guessing yourself Let’s say you are asked to complete a project that requires knowledge and skills you may not possess or are uncomfortable with. If you find yourself in this situation, you may feel inclined to put off the work it entails because you question whether you’ll be able to do a good job. These feelings are normal and something we all struggle with, but its consequences do result in a lack of productivity. If you constantly second guess yourself when it comes to work, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help! Bringing someone else into the picture can make you feel more accountable on your end, and it can make you more excited about the task at hand. Stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself might not be easy, but in the long run will be key to landing opportunities for professional development.