HR Insider Dec 07 2009

RSM McGladrey's Kimpa Moss: A Nonstop Talent Hunt

By kyle stock

RSM McGladrey, the fifth-largest U.S. accounting firm when counting partner-firm McGladrey & Pullen LLP, has been hiring through the downturn. The Minneapolis-based firm has 7,000 employees in 100 offices and just brought in a fall class of 400 new campus recruits. An accounting and consulting firm serving mostly midsize companies, RSM is a subsidiary of H&R Block and part of the RSM International network of professional services firms.

RSM human-resources chief Kimpa Moss joined the company as a tax specialist nearly 23 years ago. She recently spoke with FINS reporter Kyle Stock about the power of social networks, putting employees in the spotlight and what RSM has in common with the Chicago Cubs.

Kyle Stock: Bring us up to date on recent hiring.
Moss: We just brought on our new class of campus hires. In the experienced recruits area, anybody who has a deep specialization is always very attractive to us -- deep knowledge of a particular industry or expertise of a technical area, whether its SEC auditors or tax consultants.

Stock: How big is the recent group of campus hires?
Moss: It's 400, plus or minus a few, in the fall class. Those are full-time jobs across all of our service lines. Many of them have participated with us either as interns or as externs pretty early on.

Stock: Any particular sectors where RSM is staffing up?
Moss: It runs with cycles of the economy. You hit parts where a certain consulting service might be high demand, other times it's regulatory requirements. We have relationships with our clients that run across all of those services. We are just always in the market for people who have valuable skills. They either have deep industry expertise or deep technical expertise or a combination of the two. We're always looking at our talent pipeline, and, at any given time, we have hundreds of openings across the company.

Stock: Did RSM see the global financial crisis as an opportunity to grab market share?
Moss: We track closely with our clients, so as they feel the impact, we feel the impact. But it does open up the question: 'Are there more sectors we should be focusing on?' And on the talent side, due to circumstances at other firms, there are a lot of people who we were able to approach. We've definitely done a lot of experienced hiring in the past year.

Stock: What's the No. 1 piece of advice for someone breaking into the business?
Moss: The most important thing is really building your business network and not be shy about that, whether you're currently in a job search or not. One of the things that I think is interesting right now for people out in the job market, they actually have this opportunity to really look at employers and for those attributes that really match their qualifications and values.

Stock: How do you find talent?
Moss: Campus focus is very heavy because that's where we bring new talent into the pipeline. Something over the past three to four years that's really become important to us on the experienced side has been employee referrals. It's almost like having people come in who are prequalified and prescreened. Five to seven years ago, we didn't have a very structured program on that and hadn't done enough.

Stock: Do you use outside recruiters?
Moss: On a pretty limited basis.

Stock: How about social media?
Moss: We have a pretty heavy focus on social media, which is everything from Facebook to Twitter to recruiting blogs. We're out there on a very active basis.

Stock: Do you hire a lot of people from your competitors?
Moss: I don't think it's outside the norm for what we've seen over the past couple of years. As we hire experienced people, they might come from other firms. We really find that we're pulling from every possible source where there might be a fit.

Stock: Has RSM changed its compensation structure recently?
Moss: We really tie it to market rates, and we are constantly monitoring to make sure we're at those rates.

Stock: What's the No. 1 way for someone to move up in your firm?
Moss: We have kind of unlimited opportunities for our employees to be involved in projects that really benefit the firm on a broader basis. There's also great opportunity for people to build their expertise and become thought leaders externally in the industry -- doing interviews, writing articles, et cetera.

Stock: Did RSM downsize during the crisis?
Moss: We really match our client service work force to the demand in the marketplace, but we don't really comment in specifics on the changes in our work force from year to year.

Stock: RSM has an affiliation with the PGA. How did that come about?
Moss: That's really a brainchild of about four years ago. A lot of people didn't know who we were in many pockets of the company, so we really pulled behind the sponsorship for brand-awareness.

Stock: Would you say RSM is more like an iPhone or Blackberry?
Moss: I would have to say iPhone. Part of that is because it seems like the iPhone is all about ease of use and connections, and that is really how we feel about our relationship with clients.

Stock: Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus?
Moss: I would say Tiger. You think of all the hard work, attention to detail and being best in class.

Stock: White Sox or Cubs?
Moss: Cubs, but I can't use any of those words like best in class. They are just a long-time brand that so many people are just committed to.

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