By Jim Wong, CPA | May 23, 2012

Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great,” has said many companies think a cunning strategy or great performance will attract the right applicants, but he believes that’s backwards. In his words, people must come first. And not just anyone the right people.

We agree.

That’s why the process we use for finding and recruiting the right candidates for our clients is four-pronged: Word-of-mouth, referrals, networking, and direct recruiting.


Word of mouth refers to oral communication and the passing of information from person to person. Storytelling is the oldest form of word-of-mouth communication where one person tells others of something, whether a real event or something made up.

It is the most effective way to spread news about the work you’re doing, which is why we rely on it as our number one approach.

The accounting and finance market, while large, is still a small world. Each of us has accounting and/or finance backgrounds. Many of us have worked either with our client companies, with the candidates we present, or have less than six degrees of separation.

Because of our previous career relationships, our word-of-mouth net is large.


Anyone who is in business knows a referral from someone you trust is better than any other kind of sales or marketing. In fact, more than 80 percent of us trust a recommendation, when it comes in the form of a referral, over anything else.

It’s also been said that 41 percent of businesses rely on referrals to provide 80 percent of their new sales leads…and we’re no different.

Our referrals come from candidates we’ve placed in full- or part-time positions, employees we’ve recruited and placed in jobs, and friends of those we’ve placed.


It used to be that, in order to network, you’d have to show up at every city-wide cocktail reception, golf outing, Chamber event, and trade event in order to stay top-of-mind with potential candidates.

We still do all of those things, but we marry those monthly, quarterly, or annual events with social networking that allows us to stay top-of-mind daily.

Direct Recruiting

Many times our relationships with our referral and networking sources are in a search with us and do not want others to know. Therefore, they will help us identify talented individuals in the market but do not want us to share our “source” for fear their peer/staff will know they are confidentially speaking with us. Thus, we directly recruit these highly sought after individuals.

Because of our integrated approach, we’re able to always find qualified candidates for our clients.


This article originally appeared on Clear Focus Financial Search.

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