5 Tips for Interviewing Top Houston Accounting Professionals

March 26th, 2013

Attracting qualified Houston accounting talent has become increasingly difficult in recent years, as demand for CFO’s, controllers, accountants, AP managers, payroll managers, and bookkeepers continues to grow. If your company has open accounting positions, you may only have a short window in which to evaluate candidates and make a decision. Take too long and you risk losing top talent to other opportunities.

So how can ensure you’re not only attracting qualifying accounting candidates, but that you’re also getting them interested in your company? One commonly overlooked way is to use your interviewing time for both evaluating the candidate and selling the opportunity. You may only have one shot in front of a talented accounting candidate – be sure to make the most of it.

Below, Murray Resource offers 5 tips for interviewing Houston accounting professionals:

Understand the market & explain job details

As discussed above – with the accounting field being so competitive, talented Houston accounting professionals have options. Rock star candidates are less likely to leave positions than they were during pre-recession times, so those who are on the market are typically looking for very specific attributes in a job. Make sure you have a well-prepared job description that is clear, concise, and demonstrates that the company knows what  it’s looking for in the position. Appearing unorganized is a clear ‘turn off’ to most candidates, particularly more structured accounting professionals.

Talk up your corporate culture

As with most candidates, accountants are interested in companies where they are likely to fit in. During the interview, discuss the specifics of your company’s culture and why you think they could be easily integrated. You want to get the candidate excited about working for your company, so give examples of employees with extensive tenure and why they’ve decided to stay over the years.

Discuss a candidate’s career path

Stereotypically, accountants are very process-oriented, but don’t underestimate the aggressive growth plans of many Houston accounting professionals. It is important to explain future opportunities to grow within your firm, if granted the position. Point to employees who were able to move up quickly as a result of their hard work.

Stay away from negative commentary

While there are certainly exceptions, accountants as a group tend to more risk averse than other candidates. Be honest about your company’s situation, but don’t dwell on negative attributes of previous employees or disappointing turnover statistics. Instead, share positive information and growth trends, with an eye towards future growth plans.

Express your interest

Accountants tend to be straightforward and, like most candidates, they want to know where they stand. If you’re interested in pursuing the candidate, before the interview is over express your interest. Outline the process going forward and let them know when they should hear back – and then make sure you follow the timeline, or at least communicate when if’s there’s a deviation.

Murray Resources

Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston staffing agency. The company serves a base of over 800 client companies, including numerous Fortune™ 1000 companies and high-growth small and medium-sized organizations.

Murray Resources has been named a “Best Places to Work” by the Houston Business Journal and the #1 Fastest Growing Woman Owned Business in the Personnel Category by the Houston Business Journal. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009.

Posted in: & Advice Columns

What Happens To My Resume Once I Submit It To A Recruiter?

March 25th, 2013

Have you ever sent your resume to a recruiter and then waited – sometimes for several weeks – before hearing back? Fear not, your resume hasn’t fallen into a black hole. Here’s some insight from Houston staffing agency, Murray Resources, on what happens to your resume after you click ‘send’ or ‘submit.’

Step #1: The Six-Second Once-Over

It’s not uncommon for recruiters to receive hundreds, even thousands, of resumes for a single job posting. While ATS’s (applicant tracking systems) are commonly used by larger companies to sort through resumes, most external recruiters still view each resume manually (some recruiting firms employ junior recruiters or researchers to help screen and sort the influx of resumes).

So how do recruiters possibly review that many resumes? According to a recent study performed by TheLadders.com, recruiters spend an average of six seconds scanning resumes for fit. But don’t let that short amount of time fool you – most recruiters are highly-experienced professional resume screeners and know exactly what they’re looking for. According to the study, 80% of those six seconds are spent on the following information:

  • Name
  • Current Title / Company
  • Previous Title Company
  • Current position start and end dates
  • Previous position start and end dates
  • Education

Tip: Increase your chances of getting through this step by making sure your resume is clear, concise, and easy to follow – and that you are applying for a job that fits your qualifications. If a recruiter is unable to easily find the information they’re looking for, they’ll move on.

What if I haven’t heard back at this point?

Don’t panic if you don’t hear right away. For some jobs the process of sorting through resumes and setting up interviews can take a few weeks. It’s also not uncommon for employers to make changes to a job’s requirements, which can delay the process. If you haven’t heard from a recruiter in 2-3 weeks, feel free to call or email the firm to follow-up.

Step #2: The Short Phone Call

If the recruiter is optimistic about your chances of being a good fit for the particular job for which you applied – and/or they believe you may be a good candidate for other jobs for which they recruit – the second step is typically a phone call with the recruiter. Treat this like a formal phone interview and make sure to be prepared with questions about the job and reasons that you’d make the perfect candidate. The call is usually short, but may last as long as 15 or 20 minutes.

Tip: Stay positive when talking about past employers and experience. This call serves as your first real contact with the recruiter and is a chance for them to get to know you. Make sure to put your best foot forward. Murray Resources’ Phone Interview Preparation document can help you get ready.

Step #3: The In-Person Meeting

For many recruiting firms, including leading Houston staffing agency Murray Resources, the next step is to meet the candidate in person. This allows both the recruiter and the candidate to learn more about the candidate’s potential fit for the position. Arrive for this meeting in professional dress and with extra copies of your resume, as you would for an interview with a potential employer. Be prepared to walk the recruiter through your background, your current work situation, and discuss why you are the perfect person for the job.

Step #4: Recruiter Presents Candidate’s Resume

If after the in-person meeting, the recruiter and candidate both feel there is a strong fit with the position, the recruiter will then present the candidate’s resume to the client as someone they would recommend for the position. If, however, either party thought there wasn’t a strong match for the particular job, recruiters will keep the resume on file for when a better fit comes along.

How often to check in? Unless a recruiter has specifically asked that you call to check in about job openings or to inquire about a position, try to resist the temptation to consistently call recruiters. Murray Resources, a leading Houston staffing agency recommends that if you are looking for a temporary position, to call no more than once per week. For permanent or direct hire positions, the firm recommends calling to check in every few weeks. Another approach is, instead of calling, periodically email the recruiter to let them know you are still in the job market. Outline steps you have taken to build your resume or to otherwise improve your marketability. For more tips, view our tips for working with recruiters.

Murray Resources

Founded in 1988, Murray Resources is a leading Houston staffing agency. The company serves a base of over 800 client companies, including numerous Fortune™ 1000 companies and high-growth small and medium-sized organizations.

Murray Resources has been named a “Best Places to Work” by the Houston Business Journal and the #1 Fastest Growing Woman Owned Business in the Personnel Category by the Houston Business Journal. For more information, contact Murray Resources at 713.935.0009.

Posted in: & Advice Columns

Four Reasons Why You Should Consider a Temporary Job

December 27th, 2012

As one of the leading temp agencies Houston employers and job-seekers engage for their job search, Murray Resources has noticed a substantial shift in the temporary job market in recent years. While temp jobs were once associated with making copies, filing papers, and stuffing envelopes, today’s temporary employment opportunities can be as challenging and fulfilling as any direct hire or permanent position. In fact, there are solid reasons why professionals might want to strongly consider a temporary position – below are four such reasons:

Freedom to Explore
If you’ve been locked into the same position or at the same company for an extended amount of time, a temporary position can provide a relatively risk free opportunity to refresh your career path. Temporary or contract jobs can provide an excellent chance to explore your passions, while providing valuable experience before jumping into a new career path.

While more experienced workers may still attach a stigma to temp jobs, no such preconceptions exist for Gen Y workers – they tend to value temp work for the freedom and flexibility these kinds of positions afford. Think like a Gen Y’er.

The Numbers Don’t Lie
As one of the premier temp agencies Houston employers turn to for qualified professionals, Murray Resources’ experience supports the recent reports of strong growth in temporary and contract positions across the U.S. Some studies even predict that our post-recession job market will be primarily comprised of temporary and contract work. Some statistics worth considering:

  • The number of temporary or contract jobs was up 6% over last year’s numbers in the first quarter of 2012 according to the American Staffing Association
  • The number of temporary or contract jobs added to the economy has been increasing for nine consecutive quarters since the recession officially ended
  • Over 40% more people hold temp jobs now than in 2009

Personal Branding Opportunities
Creating and growing your own personal brand is important, but only if you have the right type of exposure. Temporary or contract work exposes you to entirely new office environments, with a new set of colleagues and supervisors to whom you can demonstrate your value. By working diligently with an enthusiastic attitude, you can set yourself apart as a must-have asset for any company, earning respect and connections that may be valuable down the line – whether it’s a future co-worker, supervisor, or recommendation for a job in the future.

Potential Permanent Position
A note of caution to not use this last reason as your sole purpose for applying to a temporary or contract position, as converting a temporary position into a full-time position is generally a rarity. Employers typically hire temporary workers because they desire the flexibility it provides – or they simply don’t have the financial resources or desire to add another employee to their payroll. However, it does happen, and just because it is not a frequent occurrence doesn’t mean you should discount the possibility. If you treat a temporary assignment as you would a full-time job, supervisors will take note of the value you bring to the organization and may be willing to help create opportunities for you either through the company or with other connections they have.

We hope you take these insights into consideration as you embark on your next job search.

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?
As one of the top temp agencies Houston job-seekers turn to, let us help you explore your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.

Posted in: & Advice Columns
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