September/October 2019

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FIRM & PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

Finding and Leveraging Today’s Interns for Tomorrow’s Success BY ROBERT TRAPHAGEN, CPA, CGMA, TRAPHAGEN FINANCIAL GROUP

While hiring recent graduates has always been an important part of accounting firms’ recruitment strategies, it has now become a critical component of many firms’ success. Developing a successful internship program requires careful planning, time and dedication. Today’s top accounting students are seeking meaningful connections and tailored career plans. A recent Rider University study confirmed that students’ internships were valuable learning experiences which enhanced both their personal and professional maturity, providing a transitional bridge from school to the workplace. To identify and attract the best interns, firms should develop a strong recruitment strategy that consists of the following three steps: 1. Promote the firm’s brand 2. Build relationships 3. Connect

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PROMOTE THE FIRM’S BRAND Accounting firms must promote their brand online through their website and social media networks. And engaging students with free swag and attending campus events helps too. A firm’s website is often the first place that a potential candidate will visit to learn about the firm, its culture and its opportunities. Connect with students using LinkedIn and other social media professional networks and engage with them online. The firm can also leverage the skills and interests of existing interns in its recruitment efforts. For example, Nicole-Lynn Garcia, an accounting intern at our firm and a recently appointed college ambassador, demonstrated an interest in social media. This interest allowed her to create an “intern take over” video. Our interns were able to share their experiences via social media,

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | NEW JERSEY CPA

which allowed us to promote our firm. The video was a huge success! BUILD RELATIONSHIPS Building strong relationships with local colleges and universities — and the NJCPA — is vital to reaching students early in the recruiting process. Our firm believes in giving back to our community and in the personal development of our associates. Both of these were achieved by partnering with the NJCPA scholarship program. As members of the NJCPA Student Programs & Scholarships Committee, our associates and our interns are directly involved in reviewing resumes and applications for potential college scholarships and mentoring scholarship recipients. The scholarship program provides us with the opportunity to network with the best and the brightest