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  • Writer's pictureMeghan Allsopp

Q & A with PGAA tax's managing partner: Phil Guillen



Hey Phil. You’ve been in the field of recruiting for over 17 years now, why do you think recruiters get a bad rap?

Inconsistent or lack of follow-through. I’ve talked with candidates who have gotten really excited with the prospect of a career move presented by a recruiter. They had an initial conversation, some even had an interview, and then they just got radio silence. That stinks! Maybe the recruiter moved forward with a different candidate or client and didn’t want to deliver bad news. Be it good or bad news, no one likes being left in the dark, right? So I do it differently; I make sure I am completely transparent start to finish. Plus, I believe conversations with candidates and clients are a chance to build long term relationships. Maybe the moment to make moves isn’t now but it doesn’t mean we won’t have amazing opportunities down the road. Connecting with people is so critical to every element of our lives, so I try to make every interaction count.


Walk us through how you differentiate the good candidates from the great ones?

I interview their moms. Just joking, but that could provide some good beta! I am lucky enough to get detailed insight from leaders in the client’s tax department which provides valuable info for what kind of person, personality, career experience, and work ethic will be the perfect fit for the team. That’s a good blueprint with which to start. When it comes to finding that perfect person, I’ve seen a lot of unique career paths and that makes me able to help candidates pivot, climb, and achieve the work and life they want for themselves and their loved ones.

Most recruiters don’t last more than 5 years in this line of work. Does anyone gain mastery at anything after 5 years? After 17 years of recruiting tax professionals, I have a lot of tools and experiences to pick out key traits for a successful move. I spend time getting to know folks and listening to their goals in life and in their career. We spend most of our waking life working, so I want to make sure my candidates and clients are happy.


You spoke to work and life goals of your clients. How exactly does your philosophy and relationship with clients and candidates help them achieve their goals?

I believe in and practice work/life balance. I think burnout is a bad thing. Work burnout impacts the production of a company which in turn affects anyone involved in the company from the tax department teams, to product consumers, to shareholders. So I make sure that I am helping clients improve their tax team by finding a candidate that will truly contribute to their productivity and work culture. I know how costly onboarding can be, so I want to make sure my placements land for the long term too.


When it comes to candidates, I am especially interested in providing them an opportunity to love what they do. Work should be stimulating not overwhelming. The office culture should be inspiring, not a drag. It is a great feeling to hear from a candidate down the road that their family has loved their relocation, how they aren’t working crazy hours, how they’ve advanced into new positions as a result of making a career move with me. That makes my job meaningful work.

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