If you’re an experienced accountant looking for new career opportunities, a recent graduate looking for your first accounting job or even a current accounting student looking for an internship, we encourage you to send us your resume. We’re always on the lookout for good people. Below is a description of the traits we look for in a candidate. We call it our Hiring Manifesto. If you have the traits discussed below, we really want to hear from you.
The Hiring Manifesto
When we hire an accountant, we’re looking to fill a specific technical position and need to make certain that the candidate has the necessary skills. To this end, we review academic performance and work experience. We tend to rate work experience fairly high, but we believe it should rank no higher than fourth on our list of critical needs, which are:
- Work Habits
- Personal Qualities
- Relevant Work Experience
The top three items are traits that are fundamental to the core of the person, and we have very little chance of changing these in a positive fashion.
Outside of testing, there is no direct way we can measure the I.Q. of a candidate. So, we consider factors that indirectly reflect a person’s basic intelligence. The best example is a college transcript. It shows the candidate’s overall GPA, as well as the major GPA. Someone with an acceptable overall GPA, but a low major GPA, does our clients no good. We give considerably more weight to the performance in classes that are closer to the job function. We don’t worry about the “C” in gym as much as we need to worry about the “C” in finance.
In an interview, we can’t directly judge how hard a candidate works or how organized he or she is. Often a candidate’s prior work history will give us some insight into this area. We also request and check references.
With younger candidates, job history will be understandably sparse and less relevant. This isn’t a problem in trying to glean insight into a person’s work habits. Supervising at a fast food, landscaping or construction job may not seem directly relevant to positions we have, but these are difficult jobs and offer many talking points that will help us discuss the person’s work habits. Most accounting firms look for the standard upper middle class clone and drone types. Our experience has taught us that people who may have taken a less traditional or “programmed” path to an accounting degree are better able to think “on the fly” & “out of the box.” It really means that person may be a more innately gifted problem solver. It is hard for a person to learn the skills to be a CPA, and we don’t want to waste our time with the weak. Also, our clients really look at us as their trusted advisors and problem solvers more than just their accountants.
It does us no good to hire a smart, hard-working person that will alienate all co-workers and clients. So, we’re very mindful of a candidate’s interpersonal skills. While it’s true that the emphasis in an interview is more heavily weighted toward technical skills or attributes that will allow a candidate to acquire those skills, we also keep an eye on the behavior and professionalism of the candidate. We try not to be a mill that just churns through staff accountants. Our staff is encouraged and expected to interact with clients. Each person we hire is viewed as someone with the potential for long-term employment and advancement. As time passes, and technical learning curves are overcome, the emphasis changes toward more interpersonal skills: communication and organizational ability, etc.
So, if you’ve read The Hiring Manifesto and you think Lotito & Lazzara, P.C. would be a cool place to work, send us your resume. If you’re smart enough to work here, you’re also smart enough to look around the website and find an appropriate email address to send your resume to.