Is a New Graduate the Right Option for Your Job Opening?

Another crop of new college graduates will be wrapping up celebrations and entering the job market in the coming months with high hopes of landing great careers in the Chicago region. Is your company in the right position to offer a new graduate their first full-time job after college? How can you know that hiring a brand new college graduate vs. a seasoned professional is the right thing to do? If you do hire a new grad, what can you expect?

A survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), revealed that employers are planning to hire almost 10 percent more college grads this year than last year. Recruitment and hiring of new college grads is up for a number of reasons, including:

  • College graduates have learned the most recent skills in technology and business advancement
  • New college graduates are eager to prove themselves to employers, especially millennials and Generation Z
  • Today’s college graduates are better prepared for the workforce due to post-recession changes in the educational system

Hiring college graduates adds an influx of energy and excitement to your workforce. They are excited to start their first “real” job and get their career going in the right direction. Having a balance of college graduates with your seasoned employees can help your business grow.

The traits you should be looking for when offering employment opportunities to new college graduates are:

  • Strong interpersonal communication skills using multiple mediums and technology. College students have grown up with electronic communication. It’s important to evaluate their written and verbal communication since not everything can be done through email (or text messaging!)
  • The ability to work well with other generations in the workforce, especially older employees. Younger employees may think they possess all the answers, but developing a balance of respect for each generation can result in great gains for the company.
  • Above-average work ethic and dedication to long-term success in the company. A lot of employers believe they can teach a number of skills but don’t want to develop a new employee’s work ethic. Getting a long-term commitment would be the best of both worlds, but it’s difficult to expect younger employees to pledge the first 10, 20 or 30 years of their career to the first job.

While new grads will be limited in their work experience, they will be able to show a progression of these traits through their college projects and any practicum. Behavioral interview questions can still be beneficial despite their lack of career experience. The teamwork concepts developed in college provide ample opportunity for experience in a number of situations that can be transferred to the professional sector.

To partner with a three-time recipient of Inavero’s Best of Staffing® awards, contact Casey Accounting & Finance Resources today and find out how a top staffing agency in Chicago can help with all of your accounting and financial employment needs.

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Why Listening Makes You a Better Leader

Today, a leader must be an excellent communicator. They must be able to delegate effortlessly, motivate the team, and must be good at both verbal and written communications. But communication is a two-way street. Leaders also need to be active, patient and responsive listeners. While being outspoken and communicating clearly are two of the many attributes necessary for one to become a leader, it is listening that makes one a better leader.

How listening can make anyone a better leader

In the workplace, a leader is expected to address problems and initiate improvements. Certain problems will be obvious and a leader must be able to identify them. But, many problems are not so obvious. The only way a leader can get to know those issues is if they listen to the team or any particular member of the team. People should be able to come up to a leader with their problems and a leader must not spurn them.

Many leaders fail to actually hear what others have to say. They shrug at what is being shared or reported to them. They pretend to listen and forget what has been said soon after. They don’t even offer an audience and even if they listen. They can discard the issues at their whims and fancies. Such approaches are unbecoming of a leader.

The first step in being a better leader is to take the time to listen to others, and reflect back what is being said to clarify matters. A leader who listens is respected by their team members. Listening to anyone would make that person feel that they are important, what they say or have to say is being heard and that their thoughts, situations or their role in the team are valuable.

Steps to be a better listener include:

  • When listening to another person, imagine that they are the only other person in the room and be fully engaged in what they are saying.
  • Be open minded and put yourself in their shoes.  You might not agree with what the person is saying, but give them a chance to fully articulate their thoughts.  People will appreciate that you are making an effort to understand and hear what they are saying.
  • Repeat back the key points you are hearing and ask for clarification of anything you did not understand or may have missed.
  • Establish what follow up there will be, if any, so the person is clear on what will happen after the conversation is finished.
  • Remember, conversations are just the beginning step to implementing great ideas!

Listening is a skill that comes with time and practice. Leaders need to talk but they don’t need to talk to hear their own voice. A leader can always learn from others, from advice or suggestions from the team members and the act of listening itself can open up a treasure trove of informational and helpful exchanges. Remember, it only takes one person to suggest an idea for significant change to affect the organization.

As a leader, it’s up to you to become a better listener so you can improve your skills and earn the respect of your subordinates.

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources is dedicated to locating top talent for your accounting and finance positions. Contact a leading recruiter for finance careers today to get started!

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Make Small Talk Your Strength by Shifting the Conversation Here

In the ‘information age,’ communication is the key to a successful office career. While lucid communication has always been a desirable attribute in a professional, especially for those in delegating and leadership or management roles, it has become much more quintessential today. Why? Companies are seeking professionals who are adept and comfortable in all forms of communication, including making small talk that leads to better working relationships.

How to improve the conversation by shifting the focus to small talk

When developing communication skills, it’s important to first focus on mutual interests demonstrated in initial small talk. Take the attention off “me” and put it on “we,” so that you can discuss a topic that you and your colleagues enjoy. It’s effective when relating to co-workers, talking with subordinates or managers, and building rapport with clients.

To be viewed as a true office professional, it’s important to establish or showcase your prowess in communication. That can be achieved by speaking decisively, confidently and in a manner that is understandable, convincing and engaging. Since communication is a two-way process and both or all parties must feel engaged, it is quite possible that what you talk about might not entice the other person enough. That is where small talk becomes your strength. Whether it is your interview or your first interactions with your fellow colleagues, small talk can give you the impetus you need.

What does small talk have to do with things?

In many ways, small talk is considered a normal part of any job. Unfortunately, there are some people who don’t like such conversations. When you speak about topics that matter to you and the other person, you can easily guide the conversation. At a more basic level, you get to establish a connection that will work in your favor. Small talk is also necessary if you wish to switch the topic of a conversation or you simply wish to steer the whole correspondence in a certain manner.   Use open-ended questions to get the conversation going and invite people to tell stories instead of one word responses.  Here are some conversation starters at the office:

  • What do you enjoy most about your weekend?
  • What is the most interesting thing that happened at work today?
  • If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?
  • What is the best way to accomplish our target for the week?

As Dale Carnegie stated, “Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.”

Using small talk during an interview to improve your career

Communicating better and more lucidly will become easy when you master the strength of small talk, especially on topics of mutual interest. For example, while being interviewed for a job, a candidate can use small talk to build a common ground with interviewers and appear to have the right personality for the job.  This will present a candidate as having a confident, interesting and asserting personality. Use these tips during an interview:

  • Don’t ramble on.  Keep small talk interesting and brief
  • Realize the interviewer is asking questions initially to see how easily you can engage in conversation
  • Answer the questions you are asked
  • Look at the interviewer and look interested in the conversation
  • Listen more than you talk

These are attributes that any company in any industry would want to have in its employees.

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources, a winner of Inavero’s Best of Staffing® Client Award for the second consecutive year, focuses directly on your area of expertise. Contact us today to work with a leader in finance recruitment.

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10 Items to Evaluate on LinkedIn Recommendations for Financial Candidates

LinkedIn recommendations are a nice way to learn more about financial candidates before you bring them in for an interview. On top of the resume and cover letter, a LinkedIn profile is increasing in importance during the job selection process. More quality feedback that you can acquire will provide you with a better chance of hiring the best fit for your company.

However, they can also be a little misleading because they are generated by individuals who may not have a lot of direct interaction with these candidates. How can you evaluate LinkedIn recommendations left by people on a financial candidate’s profile? Here are the top 10 items to critique.

  1. What is the top-rated recommendation?
  2. Are the LinkedIn recommendations relevant to the industry?
  3. Who submitted the recommendations?
  4. Do the recommendations appear to be real? (This is very important. Be aware of generic recommendations that appear fluffy and have no substance)
  5. Is the candidate writing recommendations for others?
  6. How many recommendations are recent?
  7. Do the recommendations relate to the job itself?
  8. Has the candidate proven the skills stated?
  9. Are there recommendations that the candidate is lacking?
  10. How closely do the LinkedIn recommendations match the candidate’s achievements? (Seeing actual numbers in the recommendation that show the impact made by the candidate are a great sign.)

When evaluating a candidate for a financial position within your company, it’s important that the recommendations are relevant for the job itself. For example, does the candidate have recommendations that indicate they have specific financial software skills? Or does the candidate’s recommendations show that there is an understanding of the industry, such as legal and ethical considerations? These are all things you will want to consider.

A good financial candidate will have strong recommendations, both in their skills section and the written testimonials left by others. Look for past employers who have taken the time to write positive reviews of a candidate’s performance. Also learn what you can about the candidate’s career direction, which should be evident from any work history provided. See a progression of added responsibilities and projects? These are good signs.

What really takes a LinkedIn recommendation to the next level is confirmation of accomplishments by the job candidates – the more details the recommendations provide, the better. If it’s a generic assessment, then it provides no real context. A job candidate that has a number of recommendations from different employers or varying perspectives is another great sign.

If you need support with finding a strong financial candidate to hire for your company, Casey Accounting and Finance Resources has the recruitment solutions for your organization. We have access to the best financial candidates in the greater Chicago area. Contact us today!

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Job Interview Blues? What to Do When the Interviews Don’t Go Well

You’ve brushed up your resume, practiced your interview answering skills, and put on your best power suit. The big day of your job interview is finally here and you are pumped up and ready to impress. But then, something doesn’t feel right, you start to falter, and gradually the interview starts to go very wrong. You walk out almost in tears, wondering what just happened and how you can redeem yourself in the eyes of the hiring manager.

It’s happened to just about everyone who’s ever interviewed for a job. Interviews don’t always go as planned because they are about people. And people are prone to making mistakes, saying the wrong things, and yes, sometimes looking ridiculous. Before you beat yourself up too much, turn things around.

Think about what happened from both sides.

Were you late to the interview or got lost trying to find the office? Did you stumble to come up with an answer to a tough interview question? Try to see things from both sides. It may not be as bad as you think. The hiring manager may have mentioned that the office is hard to find, and they may know that the interview question always stumps people. In other words, the whole scenario may not be as bad as you think.

Be prepared.

Are you ready to give examples demonstrating your accomplishments?  Can you give examples of various situations in your previous work experience, show examples of how you responded to these situations with the actions involved and what the results were that you were able to accomplish?  Remember SAR:  Situation, Action and Results when talking about your accomplishments.

Take the pressure off trying to be perfect.

You are a human being and this means you are not perfect, not even close. You can do your best to look perfect, behave perfect, and show off your perfect resume, but it’s not going to land you that dream job right away. Instead, you need to be a genuine person and let your personality shine so that others can see your value. The next time around, just be yourself.

The recruiter may have been challenging you on purpose.  

You may not have had a stellar interview, but then not many people do. In fact, a trick that recruiters will use to make you think you are not a good fit for the organization is to act like they aren’t interested in you at all. They may appear emotionless in an interview. They may even cut you off while you speak. They may challenge you. This is an attempt to see if you will fight for the opportunity or walk out.

Find a support and job networking group.

If you are having the blues after a poor interview, be kind to yourself and reach out to others for support. Don’t go it alone. A job search is a long and frustrating process, so find a support network as you go through this experience. Share your story and listen to others talk about their bad interviews. Learn from it and move on to the next one!

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources is a dedicated team of professionals that provides superior value. Contact our great team of recruiters today to help you in your career search for
finance careers in Chicago.

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Learn About Financial Technology to Make Yourself an Attractive Job Candidate

Keeping up with technology should be the top priority of all those in the workforce today, especially those who work in the financial industry. By keeping up with the times and learning technology as it continues to change, you will turn yourself into a desirable candidate for plenty of financial companies looking to hire the right person. Here’s how to boost your ability to land a great finance job in Chicago by using financial technology.

Understand that Technology Relies on People

Believe it or not, technology relies on the people who use it. For this reason, it is important for companies to find candidates who excel in financial technology if they want to succeed within the industry. If employees are hired, but they are not efficient in the technology being used by the company, then the company will suffer in the end. Develop your “people skills” and your financial technology skills in tandem.

Companies Need Employees Efficient in ERP Systems

When financial companies look to hire new employees, they want candidates who are efficient in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. They automate a lot of the financial processes these days, but the employees working on them must be proficient in order to help the company succeed. Employees must be able to mine business data and turn that data into guidance. Even though data is incredibly powerful today, companies need to have employees on their payroll who know how to harness that data.

Examples of ERP Systems

There are a number of options for companies using ERP systems. Some of the examples include:

Each of those systems features different benefits and characteristics. Taking time to evaluate the ERP systems and see how they match the goals of your company will lead to selecting the best fit for your organization.

Become an Attractive Financial Candidate

To become an attractive financial candidate in today’s highly competitive job market, you must not only learn technology being used, but also do each of the following things:

  • Determine what areas of your career need to be developed better. Talk with your manager about any training programs available to you from external providers.
  • Show curiosity for the technology that affects the financial industry and the company for which you work.
  • Jump aboard projects at work where new technology is being implemented, even if you have never used the technology. By volunteering yourself and your time, you show the company how dedicated you are to learning new things.

Turning yourself into an attractive job candidate in the financial world these days can be difficult, but it can be done if you learn the technology being used by companies today.  Casey Accounting & Finance Resources can support your goals of landing a job in the finance sector. Contact our great team of financial recruiters today!

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Salary Trends: Going Up!

According to multiple sources, the outlook for salaries is good for the remaining part of 2015 and into next year. The Society for Human Resource Management predicted around a 3 percent increase for wages this year, and other economics experts stated that wages would approach or exceed the estimated 15-year highs that last year’s wage increases experienced.

Around the Chicago area, wages are also on the upswing, based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics. The Illinois unemployment rate has dropped from 6.2 percent in Dec 2014 to 6 percent in May 2015, which is good news for the thousands of workers who call this state home. Earnings are up for several industries, including construction, transportation, professional services, education and health services, hospitality, and government-related businesses. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, some of the biggest job gainers were in the following industries:  Healthcare, Retail, Leisure & Hospitality, Finance & Insurance firms and Transportation & Warehousing.

The National Compensation Survey released their data in June 2015, which indicates that wages are steadily increasing in Illinois and other developed states across the U.S. Based on DOL data, “Employer costs for employee compensation averaged $33.49 per hour worked in March 2015.” Additionally, Illinois is one of many states to raise the minimum wage in 2015, with additional increases scheduled until 2019. Currently, the state minimum wage sits at $9 per hour.

As we move into a candidate driven market, being aware of compensation trends helps with creating the best pay policies for recruiting top talent.  Earlier this year, Casey Resources provided a salary survey that showed salary trends along for job descriptions for positions in the Chicago area. Click here for more information or to receive the content.

If you are looking for new work opportunities, especially those that offer great growth opportunities and benefits, your first stop should be with Casey Accounting & Finance Resources in Chicago. There are many full-time, contract and temp-to-hirepositions paying excellent starting wages.

You are also welcome to get in touch with our caring team of recruiters who can match your skills to a job that offers high salary and growth potential in your industry for the best careers in Chicago.

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Hire Fast! Great Accounting & Finance Candidates Land Quickly!

In the job market, finance and accounting candidates are easy to come by, but the really great ones are few and far between. This means the top companies are competing for high-performing finance and accounting candidates, before others can snatch them up. They do this using smart recruitment practices.

How can your company attract and hire great accounting and finance candidates fast before they land at other companies? Start with these tips.

Offer something the other companies don’t.

Do your research to find out what finance and accounting candidates are looking for. First, conduct a salary and compensation survey using the most recent data for your region and type of industry. PayScale is a good place to start, and you can also search at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational data or Find out what the best finance and accounting employees are earning, what benefits they enjoy, and what the market trends point to, in terms of career opportunities. Make this the foundation of your recruitment offering.

Become an employer of choice for finance and accounting pros.

Finance and accounting professionals are very much like other working people – they want to work for a well-respected company in the industry. Therefore, if you want to land the best candidates, your efforts should be about making your workplace the best in the market. Provide excellent compensation packages, highly ethical work practices, and proactive ways of getting people to that place they dream about.

Provide flexible work arrangements and career growth.

Working in the accounting and finance fields can be exhausting. Accounting and finance pros often find themselves working grueling hours on time-sensitive projects that drain them. This is why a company should offer flexible scheduling that allows for generous amounts of time off when needed. On top of that, career growth is a big need for many who work in this area of business. Offering training and advancement opportunities speaks loudly to top candidates.

Don’t forget about passive finance candidates.

When trying to obtain the best finance and accounting candidates possible, think outside of recruiting active job seekers. Look further and start connecting with passive candidates who may be seeking something better in the future. Building relationships with passive finance and accounting candidates gives you a chance to attract those who are highly valued in the market, so when they are ready for a new job, they will consider your company first.

Hire on a temporary basis.

One of the best ways to attract and hire the top accounting professionals in the market is via temporary staffing agencies. Many accounting and finance pros are looking for better opportunities, and they will seek out temp projects going this route. This also works well for seasonal peaks in your business and those that demand specialists in finance and accounting topics.

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources, a winner of Inavero’s Best of Staffing® Client Award for the second consecutive year, can help your company meet all of its financial staffing needs. Contact our award-winning team today to get started!