Recruitment and management

Recruiting Outside Major Urban Centres: How to Attract and Retain Your Talent

Attracting and retaining talented CPAs is a real challenge outside major urban centres, especially due to the shortage of potential candidates within these regions. To find out more about this issue, we spoke to a headhunter and a business executive who have to deal with this challenge on a daily basis. Here is their advice.
“To attract candidates outside major urban centres, employers really have to be quite attractive,” acknowledges Jacques Beaudoin, CPA, CA, headhunter for finance and accounting positions and Senior Partner at Alévo Talents. “This means instituting a competitive pay policy, in line with the market. It also means posting job descriptions that include value-added tasks."
“In the past,” he continues, “we reserved some types of tasks or projects for senior employees. Nowadays, young CPAs need to be involved at all levels of the company."
This management approach is also advocated by Jean-François Dufour, CPA, CMA, President and CEO of Crescendo accounting firm, which had to adjust its recruitment strategy to fill accounting and finance positions at its offices in Quebec City, Rimouski and Rivière-du-Loup.
“Outside major urban centres, it's not easy to set yourself apart from the large employers, which are already known for their decent working conditions,” he says. “That’s why you have to create a distinctive brand and be ready to question yourself. In our case, we have developed a more flexible and less hierarchical organizational structure. For example, CPAs at the beginning of their careers can interact with clients. A few years ago, this responsibility was reserved for partners.”
In this management philosophy, Jean-François Dufour sees himself more as a coach than a boss.
“CPAs are looking for professional challenges,” continues Jacques Beaudoin. “They want to feel that the company is growing. They are interested in quality tasks, the company’s long-term vision, and the projects underway. You have to position yourself accordingly.”

A life outside of work

Like most professionals, CPAs also really value their quality of life. That is why Jean-François Dufour created an employee work-life balance policy that resonates with young professionals.
“This is part of our distinctive approach,” he explains. “There was a time when we had to sacrifice ourselves for work. It’s different today. We try to strike a balance between life and work."
In that regard, can the quality of life outside a major urban centre become a competitive edge? “More and more people want to work close to home,” admits Jacques Beaudoin. So, yes, it is an advantage that you can use when you are a regional company . 

Be ready to take action

In conclusion, Jacques Beaudoin offers this precious recruiting advice: “When a company launches its recruitment process, it must be prepared to react quickly when a candidate shows interest. You need to remember that talented employees are a rare find, and that candidates may already have another offer on the table."