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Hiring Contractors for Busy Season? A Step-by-Step Guide

For hiring managers at public accounting firms, there’s no challenge quite like managing busy season. Determining the workload, identifying shortfalls, scrambling to adequately staff engagements and adjusting in real time – it’s all part of the annual dance. But with a rock-solid plan and a few key resources (might we humbly suggest employing the services of a talent cloud that specializes in public accounting?), you won’t have to white-knuckle through the industry’s most stressful time of year. PeopleCaddie can facilitate hiring contractors who are a fit for your business while helping you prepare with a step-by-step guide to hiring contract resources for busy season:

  1. Complete demand forecasting and resource planning. Assess your upcoming client needs then take inventory of your existing workforce to identify resource gaps. Before hiring contractors to fill the gaps, are there any existing team members who can be redeployed? 
  1. Determine which partners, groups or teams will need contract resources. Consult with partners and team leaders to learn where your workforce falls short. Are the needs for full-time or part-time resources? How many hours will be required? You’ll ultimately have to determine the best allocation of contract resources, but be sure to take advantage of your leaders’ knowledge of their corner of your business.
  1. Can these resources be sourced by your existing TA team? Do they have experience sourcing contractors? Often, internal HR teams are focused on filling open permanent reqs and don’t have the bandwidth to also focus on filling busy season contract needs. Additionally, recruiting for contractors is a different skill set than recruiting for permanent hires. If you are desirous of having your internal team take on the added responsibility of filling contract needs, make sure that they have both the bandwidth and experience to do so effectively. Busy season is riding on their success.
  1. Will contractors be on-site or remote? This will determine where potential contractors can reside – it may be easier to find a resource when not limited to a small geographic area. It may also influence which contractors are interested in your roles, as some contractors are only interested in remote opportunities. The worksite will also be a factor in terms of employee interactions, work models and even logistics around current COVID regulations.
  1. Determine acceptable bill rates by business unit, practice area or group and seniority level. Even if there’s some leeway in your budget, you’ll want to set certain guidelines. Understanding bill rate ranges is incredibly important, as it will allow your recruiters and/or selected vendor(s) to determine the compensation rates that can be offered to candidates at each seniority level. In a hyper-competitive market for top talent, compensation is critically important to being able to secure desirable resources.
  1. Determine how available contract talent will be shared across the organization and how hiring decisions will be made quickly, as highly desirable talent doesn’t stay on the market for long. Have a plan in place to execute hiring and staffing efficiently. Don’t miss out on the best talent or risk staffing lags that adversely affect productivity.
  1. Engage a partner (talent cloud or agency) to assist you as needed. If you haven’t previously engaged in hiring contractors, make sure you choose a partner with a proven ability to deliver, including assisting with all aspects of the contracting process – from onboarding to offboarding.
  1. Prepare workspace, equipment, security access, IT platform access, time management process, communications, etc., as required to be able to support contractors. If you aren’t proactive and deliberate about these logistics, you’ll wind up with new contractors twiddling their thumbs, uncertain who reports to whom, work getting backlogged and regret over the waste of time and resources.
  1. Move quickly before all of the good talent gets locked up by other firms. Top contractors can take their pick of available roles. Be sure you’ve done everything in your power to position your firm to win the war for this coveted talent. If managed correctly, you can avoid having to settle for second-tier players, burning out your team because of staffing shortages, or opening the door to competitors because you have to decline engagements during busy season.

Looking to hire contractors for busy season? Click here to learn more about how PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud can help.

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