Finding senior-level project engagements can be a challenge, and accounting and finance consultants are increasingly relying on employment agencies to locate the best opportunities.
Whether you call them employment agencies, staffing agencies, recruiters or search firms, they all fulfil the same basic function: They find candidates for jobs at client firms for a fee. And the client pays the fee, not the candidate. Read on to find out how to make the most out of working with an employment agency.
Types of projects
Your chances of success at finding a new consulting position are greater if you work with an employment agency that specializes in accounting and finance positions. Some agencies might have more experience with placing consultants on tax-related projects, while others focus on business systems and analysis, for example. Do a little digging to find out what specific types of projects and positions a firm offers.
If you're a senior-level professional, be sure to find an agency that regularly works with consultants who have extensive experience in the field, as the agency will have a solid reputation among employers for providing seasoned workers. In addition to searching on the agency's website, use your social media connections and networks like LinkedIn to get the inside scoop on how the agency does business from those who have worked directly with them.
Positions and client companies
A successful employment agency should provide consultant testimonials so you can gain a sense of the types of opportunities available to professionals who register with them. Also request information about the calibre of organizations they typically place consultants with. Consider whether the agency focuses more on placing full-time candidates or specializes in interim staffing and management or project consulting.
Look for an employment agency that has alliances with leading professional associations and a broad client network. A firm that has deep relationships within accounting and finance will be able to provide you with greater access to rewarding project opportunities.
This is another opportunity to take advantage of your social networks and get firsthand information from colleagues who have experience with the agency.
Seek out agencies that provide career and industry resources, such as insight into current salary and hiring trends. An agency might share this information and offer tailored advice to job seekers through a blog or newsletters. Without up-to-date data and a deep understanding of the industry, no agency can be an effective matchmaker between consultants and employers.
Sometimes the extras make all the difference. You might look specifically for an employment agency that provides access to training options. These may include free online courses that hone specific skills, provide insight into regulatory changes, or help you prepare for certification or designation exams.