Benchmark Search Hiring Insights – February 2024

Recruiting is not actually the same as matchmaking. A romantic matchmaker is only interested in finding the right spark between two compatible people. If they are successful, matchmakers move on. Ideally, the couple stays together forever!

But it’s different in recruiting and the professional world in general. As a recruiter for 18+ years, I have seen the same person land an excellent job they loved, perform well in it for years, meet all the company’s expectations and still eventually move on.

The career path is linear like that. And it’s why, as a recruiter, I work on long-term relationships with everyone I interface with in my role. Candidates may come back around. Hiring managers often need subsequent hires. The stronger the relationships I build, the more successful I am as a recruiter. 

In this month’s newsletter, take a critical eye on the way you write job descriptions, who you’re considering hiring, and what trends you should be paying attention to in 2024.

January Jobs Report Highlights

 The latest January jobs report shows a thriving economic landscape, maintaining a national unemployment rate of 3.7%, consistent with the previous month. The unemployment rate for recent college graduates also held steady at 2.1%.
In January, the job market added an impressive 353,000 new positions, driven by key sectors such as Professional and Business Services (+74,000), Healthcare (+70,000), Manufacturing (+23,000), and Information (+15,000). This substantial growth reflects the resilience and adaptability of the U.S. workforce.
The steady national unemployment rate indicates the successful integration of newcomers into the workforce, preserving the overall stability of employment. The report from January reflects a vibrant job market, consistent with the continuous trend of favorable economic signs.

Hot Candidates

  • Bachelor & Master of Science, Accounting & Information Systems
  • CPA, Public Combo ( PWC and EY)
  • 5+ years leadership
  • Lower Middle Market Leader with 20+ years experience
  • CPA
  • Recurring revenue experience
Assistant Controller
  • CPA, Public Combo
  • 5 years of combined experience
  • Full cycle GL and reporting experience. Was quickly promoted after joining Integrity due to his performance
Senior Accountant
  • M.S. in Accounting
  • Big 4 Audit Senior
  • CPA Candidate
Senior Accountant
  • BBA in Accounting and Finance
  • Accounting Professional with over 10 years of experience
  • Worked in the transportation logistics industry at Sunoco ( fuel distributor)
  • Took some time off to stay home with her son and now she is ready to get back in the workforce
Tax Associate
  • Master of Science in Taxation and Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • Big 4 combo
  • Sales & Use Tax Professional
  • Big 4 combo, CPA
  • 10+ years experience
  • SEC and Technical Accounting

Let’s Take a Look at Your Job Descriptions

Truly talented people who could be making a big difference at your company are not applying for jobs, because you’re being too specific about the qualifications. A new report co-released by SHRM and Handshake showed that 30% of people would not apply to a job they were interested in if they did not have the right degree or major. Another 26% said they wouldn’t bother if they didn’t have all the skills listed in the ad.

This is a problem for hiring managers. People can be taught skills, and they don’t always have to have a specific degree to learn them. You could be missing out on incredible candidates because you’re being, well, too particular. Obviously, you want to narrow active candidates to those who are the best of the best. But that tactic backfires when you accidentally rule out a great candidate just because they don’t have public accounting or experience with a particular ERP.

My advice? Open up your requirements and work with a recruiter to narrow down your candidate list from there. 

5 of the Biggest Trends in Hiring Right Now

More importantly, what do you need to know to conduct smart hiring this year? 

1 – Skills-based hiring is becoming more important than hiring for experience and education.

2 – Holistic health and well-being is now a major, mainstream focus of employee investment.

3 – And yes, AI tools are taking over.

Per that last point, AI has a solid place in recruiting, where it can streamline workflows that used to be time-intensive for recruiters and hiring managers — sorting through hundreds of resumes for an open role,  improving the candidate experience with smart chatbots, helping facilitate legal paperwork.

Current Labor Shortages Are Making It Hard to Hire

77% of companies are having trouble hiring right now, according to SHL’s 2024 Talent Outlook. This really isn’t anything new, and in a sense, I’m surprised the percentage is not even higher. Hiring has always been hard, but it has gotten harder. 

In addition to working with an outside recruiter to close this gap, plenty of companies are shifting traditional attitudes toward hiring and expanding the pool of talent they are willing to consider. They are thinking about older workers and gig workers, and really making a consolidated effort to increase diversity in all kinds of ways, including considering neurodiverse talent for certain kinds of jobs.

There are nearly 340 million people in the U.S., so there is definitely someone out there who is perfect for your open role. You may need to expand your concept of what “perfect” looks like, though.

If you’re ready to start having those conversations, give us a call today.

Thrilled and honored to announce that Benchmark Search has been recognized as the Best Place for Working Parents for the 4th consecutive year!  We believe in the power of family, and it’s woven into our culture. Here’s to another year of supporting our incredible team and fostering a workplace where family always comes first.