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Jun 18, 2024 7 min read

How to Win the Talent War through Inbound Recruitment

Improve your inbound recruitment strategy with the 4-C Method! Learn how to create engaging content that showcases your unique work culture and attracts top talent.

How to Win the Talent War through Inbound Recruitment

Accounting is facing a major issue: a shortage of 340,000 accountants. It’s not just public accounting firms experiencing the talent crunch, even Fortune 500 companies are, as errors in earnings reports have shaken investor confidence. Electric truck maker Rivian mistakenly reported a 147% increase in deliveries in Q4, when this figure actually pertained to the annual increase, not just the quarter.

Accounting firms, small businesses, and enterprises are in an accounting talent war as the accounting profession is in the perfect storm of people:

  • Retiring
  • Leaving the industry
  • Pursuing other careers in college

What does that mean for you? 

It’s time to refine your processes to attract talent, those who are ideal candidates and can grow alongside your firm. If traditional recruiting has proved to be a challenge, you’re not alone. Not only is there a talent shortage, but traditional recruiting just isn’t working as well as it once did.


Traditional Recruiting Isn’t Enough

Recruiting is facing many challenges, especially if you’re focusing on using recruiters and headhunters, career fairs and job boards. It’s not that these methods can’t work, but they come with a host of challenges such as: 


  • Recruiters and headhunters: You can recruit talent through this strategy, but you’ll pay fees that are sometimes as high as 30% of the employee’s yearly salary. Then, every time you need to hire a new employee, you’ll be at the mercy of the recruiter or headhunter who will demand the same fee again and again.
  • Career fairs: I remember when career fairs were exciting as a student looking for my first job out of college, but from a professional standpoint, you’re often a little fish in a big pond. You need to dedicate a lot of time and resources to the fair, such as having people physically attend the event and often paying a fee. And while we may disagree, the truth is, many universities are pushing for students to join large firms, such as the Big Four. This makes it hard for small firms to compete.
  • Job boards: Hiring off job boards is much less efficient than in the past. Expenses can be quite high, especially when you account for the internal resources your team will need to use to sift through all of the unqualified applicants who apply.

You can use traditional forms of recruitment, and you may have success for some positions and not for others. But there is a better way to attract candidates to your doorstep and ensure that you have access to the talent that your firm needs. That is through creating an inbound recruitment system.


The Better Way → Creating An Inbound Recruitment System

Inbound recruitment eliminates the expensive third-party methods of recruiting new talent by attracting the right professionals to your firm. At Leaders Online, we’ve created what we call the 4-C Method.

Who is this method for? Every firm. This process works whether you’re a Top 100 firm or you're a solopreneur running your firm. 

And the best part? You can attract talent of all levels using this one method: staff members to partners. Yes, that even includes the tax senior that everyone seems to be looking for!

Once you see the 4-C method in action, you will understand why this strategy works for firms of all sizes and how you can apply it to your firm.

The 4-C Method in Action

So, what are the 4-Cs, exactly? Choose, Connect, Converse, and Create. Let’s look at this method in action.



The talent you want to attract is on social media. You need to be there, too. Does this mean that you should be active on every social platform? Not necessarily and definitely not to start. With the 4-C Method, you begin by choosing one social media platform to focus on.

Which one should you choose? Consider the following questions:


  • Where are your ideal candidates hanging out? Are they spending most of their time on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok or somewhere else? 
  • Which platform plays to your strengths? Let’s say that you want to attract younger talent, so you narrow your choices down to LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok. You enjoy writing content, but you’re not a fan of posting videos or photos. In this case, LinkedIn would likely be a better fit than Instagram or TikTok.

Make your decision carefully. The goal is to choose a single platform and stick to the process outlined below, so make sure it’s a good fit for both the talent you want to attract and your content creation preferences. 



You’ve chosen your platform. What’s the next step? Connect.

Having a profile isn’t enough. You need to connect with your ideal candidates actively. But how can you reach them?

There are many ways to do so. Here are just a few:

  1. If you’re using LinkedIn, leverage features like Sales Navigator or LinkedIn Recruiter 
  2. Join relevant groups
  3. Search keywords and hashtags your ideal candidates would use in their content (e.g., “CPA looking for job”)

Choose your connections carefully because the next step is all about building relationships with these ideal candidates.



You’ve chosen your platform and started making connections. Now, it’s time to start solidifying these connections and building relationships. 

Don’t overthink this step. Starting conversations with people online doesn’t have to be complicated or awkward. I’ve found that the best approach is to ask questions. Why? Because questions make it easy for people to reply.

For example, you could say:

  • Hi Sally, it’s great to connect with you. How are things going at PWC?
  • Hi Terrell, I saw your post that you’re looking for a new job. Can you tell me more about what exactly you’re looking for in a new role?

Initiating the conversation with a simple question will get the ball rolling and start laying the foundation for building relationships with these potential candidates.

You can also engage on your ideal candidate's content. Leave comments by leading with curiosity and asking questions.



Once you reach the final step of the 4-C Method, you’ll begin creating. Great talent wants to work at great firms, and that’s what you want to share when you create. You can view content as your gas to the fire.

But just like pouring gas on sticks doesn’t start a fire on its own, your content won’t provide results unless you’re:

  • Choosing
  • Connecting
  • Conversing

When creating your content, I want you to think about a few things:

  1. How can you lead with your unique point of view? Bust the myths your ideal talent currently has. For example, maybe most accountants think that to become a partner at a firm, they have to work full-time. We work with a top 100 firm, and they recently promoted two people to partners who work part-time. Creating content about this was a huge unlock for other accountants and created interest in the firm. 
  2. What is fundamentally different when working at your firm versus others? What benefits does a position with your firm lead to? For example, maybe your firm is small enough that talent gets a lot of one-on-one interaction with clients and learns more about various parts of accounting and tax than if they worked in a bigger firm. 
  3. How can you show others that they can have a great career when working at your firm? For example, maybe you highlight a staff member who works flexible hours during the day to accommodate her children and takes four weeks of vacation throughout the year. 

Your content can show your unique work culture and the perks of being part of your workforce. Once these elements are in place, it’s time to learn how to get results with this unique method of inbound recruitment


Getting Results from the 4-C Method

The 4-C method is an effective inbound recruiting method, but it’s important to remember everyone’s plan will look different. To make this strategy work for you, consider your end goals and reverse-engineer a plan to achieve them.


Ask yourself:

  • How much talent do you really need to have in your pipeline?
  • What will it take to reach that goal?

If you’re just starting to build your brand, it may be more than you think. But keep in mind that this investment in what I like to call “brand equity” compounds over time as you post more often and start more conversations.


Here’s a solid strategy to try:

  • Reach out to 20 people every day to start real, genuine conversations
  • Post helpful content for your target audience three times per week
  • Engage with 10 posts every other day


Do you personally have to do this? No! These are tasks that you can easily delegate to someone on your team or outsource to an agency while still maintaining your voice and messaging.

If you’re ready to win the talent war and never have to wonder where your next new hire is coming from, implement the 4-Cs and make your firm the go-to choice for top-tier accountants during this unprecedented talent crunch.


Katie Thomas, CPA is a 40 under 40 CPA Practice Advisor recipient, Top 50 Women in Accounting recipient, and the owner of Leaders Online, where they help accounting and B2A (business to accounting) professionals increase their impact, influence, and income through thought leadership and digital marketing. To get in touch with Katie, schedule a time at:


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