Firm Growth Isn’t Just About Revenue: Applying a Go-To-Market Approach to On-Campus Recruiting

As a new year unfolds, many firms find themselves planning their on-campus recruiting efforts to bring in new full-time staff for the fall.  We all know that the most important asset of a firm is its people.  With this in mind, firms should use the same disciplined approach of identifying and nurturing relationships to find new staff as they do for finding new clients.  It takes more than an occasional “Meet the Firm” visit to your local campus to attract and eventually hire the right people.  Here are some ideas for applying business development tactics to recruiting.

Create a Prospect List of Schools

With minimal research, you can identify the top accounting schools.  In fact, you probably already recruit at some of those schools.  From that list of top schools, create your prospect list of schools for your recruiting efforts, based on geography, culture, curriculum, and whatever other characteristics are important to your firm.  Just as you would create a focused list of prospects for new business, you will want to keep the number of prospect schools small to be able to effectively support the pursuit process and send the right messages.

Assign a Pursuit Team to Your Top Prospect Schools

Next, you will want to create a pursuit team for each top prospect school.  Partner involvement is as critical to recruiting as it is to developing new business.  Partners can nurture relationships with professors and they can get involved in accounting and business school leadership groups.  Managers and senior staff members, particularly recent alumni of these schools, can also contribute by speaking at “Meet the Firm” events and remaining active with school accounting clubs.  Once you identify your team, create a recruiting plan and action list, just like you would do in a service or industry practice group.  The team should meet regularly to create accountability and to provide updates on progress.

Brand Your Culture to Create Demand from Talented Recruits

Just as branding can create demand for prospects to engage your services, branding can also create demand for talented recruits to work at your firm.  It is important to craft the right message and to use the right media for building brand awareness and demand.  For example, messaging should be related to firm culture, sharing stories of community giving, announcing best-place-to-work awards, and showing fun activities and interesting client projects.  Here are some great examples of this messaging from firms like:

Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co., PC



Katz, Sapper & Miller


Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman CPAs


Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, P.C.


As you can see from these examples, most firms leverage social media to deliver their message.  Since research has shown that recruits are more likely to check out a firm’s Facebook or LinkedIn page than their home page, it’s important to have career and culture branding on social media.

Firm growth is about more than just growing revenue.  By using some of these tips to create a go-to-market approach to your recruiting efforts, you will grow your firm by attracting and hiring the right people.


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