With three decades experience in executive tax search, it is important to teach you what happens behind the scenes as tax professionals reach out to find full-time, part-time, remote and gig tax jobs. The truth is the current system of finding a tax job in the tax profession is filled with multiple obstacles that impede success. This article is intended to enlighten you about the perception and the reality of finding a tax job today.
You will learn from the perspective of tax professionals searching for a tax job; and you will learn from the perspective of companies searching for tax professionals. You likely have heard the phrase “perception is reality” but the actual truth is that perception and reality are very different.
The Oxford Dictionary states “Perception is the way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted” while “Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to the idealistic or notional idea of them. Reality is the way actual events actually unfold in the real world.” There is the perception and there is the reality involved in finding a tax job and knowing the difference will give you a significant competitive advantage.
How Tax Professionals Find A Tax Job
When a tax professional goes online or views media they will often see ads that give them the perception that the answer is to submit a resume online to find a job. The reality is the majority of these sites are using bots to scrape jobs and deliver them to you long after many are even active. It surprises to me to discover they scrape all our retained tax searches and list them on their own sites even though we have never paid these companies for advertising. There is so much competition for the job listings we see many companies are now offering to list jobs for free. For the unknowing tax professional searching for the next tax job, it is all too often turns into a lot of effort submitting a resume with little return.
Perception is reality, so you think, and you believe in good faith for submitting your resume that a representative from the company will respond. However, you finally come to the realization no one ever calls you back. Many of these sites are collecting your resume in their resume banks that is researched by a person who has no understanding how to match a tax professionals’ knowledge and skills with the tax job. When a tax professional submits their resume to a portal they may receive the automated obligatory response email, and rarely do they hear from anyone about their qualifications again. Tax professionals have become smartly cautious of this resume collecting reality so the majority of them do not even send their resumes this way anymore.
Savvy tax professionals are connecting through trusted referral networks and tax recruiters who are knowledgeable about their highly specialized technical tax skills and expertise. What many people do not realize is tax professionals are an educated group who have invested years in acquiring their highly specialized tax technical skills. Tax professionals can have any combination of one of more degrees including BS, BA, JD, LL.M. MST, MBA, PhD and/or credentials CPA, CA or EA. Tax professionals deserve a great deal of respect for their educational training as they also have annual requirements to keep their licenses updated. On top of that, the governments around the world are changing tax laws across multiple tax jurisdictions which makes it complicated for tax professionals and the taxpayers they serve.
The Reality is a new way for tax professionals to find a tax job is now being developed to fix the current fractured process. We are rebuilding the process to find a tax job by developing the solution that works and gives the tax professional a much more rewarding experience. When anyone is searching for a job it is often an emotional rollercoaster experience filled with highs of excitement to the lows with no response or outright rejection. We are developing a way to alleviate the time-consuming research involved in bringing real tax jobs available to you. The process is about to change for the better with new technology we are developing. For those of you who are members of the www.taxconnections.com site, you benefit from the private virtual office with your membership subscription. At the moment, your virtual office enables you to upload and organize all your important links so you can access them through your cell phone. Wherever you go, your office now goes with you in your virtual office.
Our next step is customizing all the open tax jobs that fit our members’ professional profiles and delivering them privately to each TaxConnections members’ virtual office. We will match up real jobs (not bot jobs) for our TaxConnections Member to peruse throughout the year. We will take care of our supportive tax professional members and the companies who support our search services. You will see this evolve in the months ahead and it is exciting.
How Employers Find Tax Professionals
Companies currently relying on resumes coming through a resume portal will never experience the full range of tax executive talent available to them. The majority of tax professionals we work with would never send their resume in response to an online ad because they want to protect their privacy. Many tax professionals have had a bad experience including being contacted one to three years later after sending in their resume; or being called by some stranger when they have no idea how they acquired their information. In worst case scenarios, I have heard from a tax professional who stated their resume was floated to their employer as someone looking and it was three years ago. Try changing that perception!
Recently, I spoke with an in-house Human Resource Manager of a large company and asked them if they were posting their numerous tax jobs on the job boards while retaining us. Her response was swift “We would never post on job boards as it is a total waste of time for us reviewing these resumes. We have never found the qualified tax candidates we need through advertising so we no longer advertise.” What is remarkable about this statement is that there are more jobs and fewer advertisements in the tax area today because the companies know they need recruiters who can make direct contact with the tax professionals at the companies. The perception is companies will advertise tax jobs but the reality is many companies are no longer wasting time and money placing ads that do not bring forth the greater field of tax talent they are searching for in their open tax roles. How do I know this to be true? Experienced human resource professionals retaining our tax search services are telling us they no longer post tax roles online because it does not work for them. They are having a better experience communicating directly with our tax professional community. A Fortune 100 Tax Director told me recently “All we ever see is one qualified tax candidate from HR and we want to see more technically qualified tax professionals.” The reality is that corporate tax departments utilizing only in-house resources are hiring the only candidate they see when they could have sourced more talent by retaining an expert in tax search to recruit for their tax organization.
These companies have learned the hard way as they have experienced tax positions open for 6-12 months. This has placed an enormous strain on tax executives of multinationals who have been tasked with addressing the many tax code changes brought on by the Tax Cuts And Jobs Act while they also find themselves in the middle of significant tax software implementations and updates.
Tax executives are facing enormous challenges and how the tax function is perceived by management makes all the difference. When tax management has a supportive CFO working closely with them, we find these companies are building the very best tax departments in the world. CFOs working with their tax executives to budget appropriately to hire more in-house expertise are savings millions of tax dollars annually. This is the reality!
Perception And Reality With Tax Recruiters
The perception is a recruiter will be able to get you in front of any company; the reality is this is not always the case. Companies must be open to work with a recruiter who can introduce tax candidates. You may recall seeing the phrase “we do not accept unsolicited resumes from recruiters or third parties” and this is important to note that these companies block recruiters. They think they can do the search themselves until they waste six months to a year and qualified tax candidates do not respond.
There are two types of recruiters: contingency recruiters and retained recruiters. Contingency recruiters get paid if they work for free and find a candidate the company hires. Contingency recruiters have a tough business life because they can work for months for free on a tax opening and never get paid. They are constantly in competition with the company in-house human resource representative working on the same position who wants to beat the outside recruiter and fill the role themselves. They get burned a lot by companies and the turnover rate is high in the profession. On the other hand, do not count on the contingency recruiter to make your search a priority when they come into the office each day because you are asking them to work for free. Contingency tax recruiters out there today are getting squashed by corporate recruiters who can easily bankrupt a hard working contingency recruiter who has worked for months on their tax openings and never get paid.
The next type of recruiter is retained which is means you pay a tax recruiter to thoroughly research the market and go after candidates for you. You can count on a retained recruiter to spend their days devoted to delve deeply into the market and canvass it for the very best talent for an organization. A retained recruiter is very good at drawing tax candidates out to consider opportunities they may have not done so otherwise because you protect their privacy. As a retained search consultant placing tax professionals, the reality is we are fierce about protecting the privacy of the tax professionals we counsel. We have no room for error as our relationships are based on trust that we protect a tax professionals’ privacy. Any tax professional working with a recruiter should ask them if they are a retained search firm or a contingency one. The retainer firms are paid a retainer fee upfront to ensure they are on the clock seven days a week on the open tax positions. TaxConnections Executive Search Division is a retained service for tax organizations requiring highly technical tax expertise.
Something important to mention is tax professionals generally do not realize LinkedIn costs recruiters more than $825 per month or $10,000 per year for a Recruiter Account to search their database. This cost impacts the search process as it prevents recruiters from finding tax professionals unless they pay expensive annual fees. Corporate recruiters can access expensive LinkedIn database but the corporate recruiter lacks the knowledge required to recruit highly specialized tax candidates. Many of the corporate recruiters tell us they do not understand tax and do not know how to match them with tax roles. What is happening with boutique tax recruiters is they do not pay the $10,000 per year licensing fee so they are unable to reach many tax professionals that may be available for their client assignments.
The way to position your tax expertise for full-time, part-time, remote and gig tax jobs today is as a TaxConnections Member . Making it easy for recruiters to find you is the first step you take to create more opportunity throughout your tax career.
Within the year, we will be delivering privately to our members private virtual offices all the tax jobs available within our network. This service will ensure the highest level of privacy and introductions to hiring authorities. The hiring authority will make the call as to who they want to interview and can forward your profile on to HR. We are building an entirely different process to hiring tax professionals in order to create a customer experience that is an enjoyable and reliable.
Your comments are most welcome. Kat Jennings