To date in 2015, AccountingDepartment.com received 2,238 applications for its bookkeeping, accounting manager and controller positions. For a small company (approximately 70 professionals—and growing!), those are not small numbers. In fact, sourcing the sheer volume of talented applications we receive takes considerable effort to produce valuable results—valuable results that we rely on to scale our services and ensure a continued adherence to excellence in procedures and execution. Why does this matter? Well, as part of a “behind the scenes” take on AccountingDepartment.com this week, today we are inviting you to explore how we hire and vet our prospective new employees, a fundamental part of how we grow our business and continue to provide superior bookkeeping services to support our clients.
Where Do Our Virtual Employees Come From?
Prospective employees find us through many different channels. We spent a great deal of time developing a company culture that appreciates and encourages sharing company progress and developments. Therefore, a great deal of highly qualified applicants are often at least loosely connected to a current employee socially. Through fostering a company culture of support, achievement and personal development, our employees can often be found chatting ad nauseum about how great it is to work here! And after all, if you’re looking for a new career and great employer, there is no better recommendation than from a happy current employee.
In addition to employee referrals, we exhaust all virtual hiring channels, from traditional LinkedIn and CareerBuilder postings to more advanced virtual settings, such as virtual career fairs and expos. As recently as last week we setup shop in our company booth at the virtual accounting career fair – ADVANCE ’15 – sponsored by AccountingFly and AccountingTODAY. We had some great potential applicants pop in, enjoyed “face time” with several terrific candidates and walked away with quite a few quality prospective new hires.
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff - Our Interview Process
Once we vet an initial application for a position, our interview process formally begins. The interview process at any company can be a lengthy endeavor but for a virtual company, the requirements must be even more stringent. Our interview process is long and tests many of our applicants but our results in hiring only the best in our industry depend on it.
The first formal step is to complete a 4 hour bookkeeping test. This test isn’t like anything you’ve ever seen—we created it ourselves to ensure the highest quality standards. Many certified, professional applicants with experience won’t pass it but no one moves on in the interview process without successfully passing the test first. In fact, of the 48 people we extended an offer to test so far in 2015, only 15 have passed the test. And yes, you read that correctly—of 2,238 applicants, only 48 were offered the opportunity to test after being vetted by our initial requirements.
After passing the test, prospective applicants go through a series of interviews, meeting with everyone from people who will be colleagues and managers all the way through to our Director team. Each interview has its own goals but a unique aspect of hiring virtually is being able to ascertain whether a prospective employee will be a good culture fit for an online company through limited interactions via Skype and GoToMeeting. However, for AccountingDepartment.com, company culture is critical to our success. With a team of 70+ accounting professionals throughout the county, we pride ourselves on supporting and nurturing a culture where employees are friends, colleagues and cheerleaders. From a company fitness group to recipe clubs and fantasy football teams, AccountingDepartment.com offers many opportunities for virtual employees to develop strong personal relationships with co-workers.
A Virtual Job Offer Is the Beginning, Not the End
With a nearly 100% acceptance rate, our offers of employment are an exciting step in bringing a new employee into our family—but they are by no means the last step. In fact, an offer to join AccountingDepartment.com is only the beginning.
We begin all new employees on a thirty day training and introductory program. They learn all the basics, from where to find company social groups to how to request time off (just the same as a brick & mortar employee would learn where the coffee machine is on the first day). They also practice company processes and procedures on a training file, basically a mock client account to help introduce them to the ways of our company. They attend meetings, get to know fellow employees and managers, and are formally introduced on video-based company-wide staff meetings. We strive to replicate as personal an introduction to our company as a traditional physical office location would. In some ways, primarily because it is the focal point of our efforts, we likely “welcome” new employees better than a brick & mortar office because we are so sensitive to it.
After thirty days, new employees are transitioned to starting on their own account, under the supervision of tenured employees and managers. This support structure is not just for new employees—every employee of AccountingDepartment.com benefits from a highly structured internal system that provides back-up measures, protocols and training procedures to ensure seamless service delivery regardless of circumstances. From the first day of training to the 10 year celebration and all the kudos in between, how we hire our employees is just as important to AccountingDepartment.com as how to deliver our services.