Meet Patti Gower, Directer of Recruiting
I fell into the role of recruiting after several different roles in marketing. So I ended up taking different roles out of college to prepare myself to work in a professional environment and I studied agribusiness. Wasn’t necessarily drawn to the agriculture field but definitely had a great experience learning about economics, finance, marketing, all aspects of business. But it was a pretty all-encompassing education. And after that I honestly didn’t know what type of career path I wanted to go into. I didn’t study a specific professional path.
My first job out of college was a marketing coordinator position in an investment company. A very small investment company. So I wore many hats, I did many different things. No job was too small and then worked up from there. Obviously it wasn’t my end goal to be in an accounting firm but I always knew that I wanted to work for sort of a larger, growing company. So when I started out in a marketing coordinator position in a very small office I knew that, okay, this is a small opportunity and I’m learning some great skills right now, that I’m basically training myself for another opportunity.
And then after that I just kept meeting people and became more adept at my skills. Computers, technology, working with people. And then that led me to a different position combining my marketing background into another role of recruiting. And that was new to me. They needed some more support in that area. And my marketing duties, they were full-time but not full-time for an entire year. So there were parts of the year where I could help out other departments. And again, my mentality being no job is too small, I’ll help out anybody, I started helping out the recruiting area and I just really got hooked with it. It involved talking to students, learning interview techniques, learning ways to scan resumes and just again being a sponge of absorbing a whole new field.
So if you’re looking to get into recruiting for an accounting firm specifically, it is a very specific area of HR that you’re going to be involved in. You’re going to have responsibilities for prescreening, selecting, possibly interviewing people for a wide variety of different jobs within that accounting firm.
So first and foremost, if you’re targeting accounting firms you need to understand the accounting world inside and out. And not from necessarily the bits and pieces of accounting. Tax, audit, advisory services. Familiarize yourself with what those people do. You don’t have to be an expert in the field but it’s very helpful for you to go around within that firm and interview people about what they do. So you have a very good idea of what you could contribute in terms of a hire for those departments.
The second thing is that you need to be approachable, friendly, not afraid to ask any question. You need to know your hiring laws, what’s ethical, what isn’t, especially depending on the state that you’re in. And you also need to have a clear direction within your firm of what they expect from you. And then you go out and look at the talent pool in those areas and select people to be brought in.
And a lot of it is trial and error. Sometimes you won’t hit the mark right away. But that’s part of the experience of narrowing down the perfect candidate and making a hiring decision is that you have to go through a lot of different people to narrow it down.