LeMaster Daniels is a 100-year-old CPA firm with offices across Washington and Idaho employing more than 300 professionals in the fields of taxes, audits, business valuation, litigation, cost reimbursement, corporate accounting and more. With the acquisition of Prospera Wealth Management, it also offers services in the wealth management field.
A quick check on its career page shows that the company is currently hiring accounting professionals, a senior auditor and tax managers.
I recently interviewed Wanda Todd, head of recruiting at the firm, about its specific hiring practices. Like many firms, LeMaster Daniels hires new graduates and lateral transfers. Let’s start with the student program.
“If I wanted to work for LeMaster Daniels, I would make sure to get an offer long before I graduated,” says Wanda. To do this, the firm encourages students to participate in Beta Alpha Psi (an honorary organization for financial information students and professionals), attend the career events their schools put on and meet the company representatives. The firm has dedicated 10 employees to actively focus on recruiting interns. The internship can last six to eight weeks either in the summer or through the tax season.
For lateral transfers – also known as professionals with experience – the company advertises openings on its website and on major job boards. It has, however, had great success with postings through Craigslist, and most of its hires recently have come through that source. For experienced professionals, recruiters will use niche job boards or publications to advertise openings. For example, they might get the word out to the ACAT (Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation) and the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) for accounting, or for cost reimbursement professionals they might use the HSMA (Health Services Management Association).
When they advertise an opening in the Puget Sound, recruiters get around 300 to 400 applications. In smaller markets, they’ll get far fewer, but on average they receive 80 to 100 resumes. Interestingly enough, if you do your research on the company, show it on your cover letter and look qualified, you’ll probably get a phone call from the recruiting department.
The company refreshingly welcomes phone calls from candidates and, in some cases, this has actually resulted into someone getting hired. A candidate called to follow up on an application she had submitted after she hadn’t heard back. Wanda had put her resume in the “no” pile. Wanda, however, did take the candidate’s call and she sounded so sharp on the phone that Wanda decided to bring her in for the interview. That person got a job with the firm and has been one of their best hires. A student from Eastern Washington University wasn’t selected due to the high competition, but kept in touch professionally. Later the company created an opening for him, and he’s now working at the firm.
Here are some common jobseeker mistakes that will keep you from getting a job with the company:
Contacting everyone. Wanda recalls candidates that apply for the opening, wait two days, then e-mail a couple of folks in HR, the COO and the CEO. In one case, a candidate told the CEO, “You have a bunch of slackers working in the recruiting department. I’m fully qualified for this opening; how come I haven’t heard back yet?” While following up is encouraged, candidates must use good judgment.
Errors on your application. There are so many qualified candidates, however, they miss out on interviews because they have too many typos on their application or resume, Wanda says. In one case, a candidate applied for an opening and wrote “refusals upon request” instead of “references upon request.” The tone and error cost him the opportunity. Another addressed a cover letter to the deceased founders of the company.
Unprofessionalism. Candidates are using unprofessional e-mail addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org, recalls Wanda. Others pick up the phone at weird locations such as clubs or loud places. In one instance, Wanda talked about a candidate who was yelling at his significant other. These all raise red flags with the company. Wanda tells the hiring managers not to wear the rose-colored glasses when interviewing and instead focus on the red-flags because those behaviors will magnify once someone is hired. Another red flag is when candidates talk too much during the interview — it shows they have poor listening skills.
Untimely responses. If the company ask for additional information from you, such as a skills test, don’t wait four days to respond. If you’re serious about working at the company, take 10 minutes and respond right away.
Even if you’ve worked hard to earn your education and certifications, everyone must avoid making these common jobseeker mistakes.
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