Finding the right fit with Foxwood Tax Search

Posted by Eytan Ishai on 20 March 2018

Finding the Right Fit


Finding the right fit is so important, and though all recruiters talk about it, few know how (or take the time) to really assess it.  Though it's not a perfect science, we at Foxwood Tax Search are the only specialized tax search firm that goes as deep as we do with both our clients and our candidates, and it's that depth that takes assessing fit from some "high in the clouds" idea, to something more tangible.

So how does it work? Basically, we take the time (a couple hours over multiple calls) with every candidate to not only assess their technical skill-set (which is incredibly important in tax), but we also assess their personality, the way they like to work, how they see themselves, what their "true" wish list looks like etc. We go just as deep with our clients when doing an intake, not just about the technical, but about the company, the team, the management style, organizational and team culture etc., and only when there is a match that is 80% or better do we even make the introduction.

What does this mean for everyone involved? It means our clients only see a few select candidates, but they can be sure it will be a difficult decision between them as to who they want to move forward with. No more sifting through loads of resumes, or having interviews that are way off. For our candidates it means not being sent on interviews, or going through a process that is not a strong match to your wish list. It also means not getting calls about roles that make no sense for you, this leads to less interviews, but the ones you do go on will be exciting.

Our success can only come from the success of our clients and candidates finding the right fit, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

We've refined the process to ensure happy placements and happy clients. Don't believe us? Give us a call and ask us about how we can find you the perfect fit.

Posted in: Foxwood News  

Developing a Strong Tax Team

Posted by Eytan Ishai on 1 February 2018
Developing a Strong Tax Team

When you think of a strong, consummate, resourceful team, some of the best examples reside in sports.

Successful teams aren't led by one superstar, followed by clueless spare parts. Without the variety of skillsets, personalities, resources, and balance that each member of a cohesive team brings, the group would lean towards ordinary rather than extraordinary.

As the saying goes, a strong tax team is a lot like a complete, championship-caliber sports team (and if it isn't a saying, it is now). We'll identify a few key areas to be mindful of when building your comprehensive tax department.

Focus On & Value Each Role.

A strong tax team embodies a team structure, where leveraging each person's unique skillsets whether they specialize in compliance, international tax, or are strong on the planning side means that everyone not only feels important, but are all maximizing the value they bring to the company. This can come in the form of tax savings, either through strong planning, or accurate and timely compliance, ultimately minimizing the company's cash tax or effective tax rate.

To build a team from scratch, a thorough selection process is ideal for choosing your team members. This may extend recruitment times, but finding that perfect, hand-picked candidate for a particular role vs. what you may get from a general Indeed-like posting, is a wise investment in the long run.

Valuing each person's role is just as crucial. Each member and their role should feel like an essential part of the team's operations. No one should be asking themselves, 'what's my role here?'; a sense of purpose for both the group and the company at large enhances productivity.

One way to ensure every team member feels valued is by providing everyone with the opportunity to get an idea of the 'bigger picture'. Understanding how their work translates to the bottom line of the organization, encouraging everyone on the team that their role is as important as anyone else's.

A strong, cohesive tax team is seen as a profit center vs. a cost center; focusing on & valuing each role will have a positive effect on the bottom line.

Pursue Diversity.

A Monday morning meeting amongst a solid tax team should be like a pot luck, with each member bringing a variety of skills to share: maybe it's ideas on process improvement projects, possible areas for tax saving through finding unused deductions, or seeking areas where there are lucrative tax planning opportunities.

Different team members from different backgrounds can offer alternative perspectives and insights; diversity can lead to better decision making and more opportunities to truly show the value of the tax department for the company.

Your tax team should be a Swiss-Army knife of abilities, a hodge-podge of expertise & experience. Bringing people in house with compliance skills, SR&ED (Scientific Research & Experimental Development) skills, tax planning, or who possess IT knowledge (i.e., building templates) are excellent examples of varying your team's strengths.

Plus, having all that talent in-house can drastically reduce external fees, again improving the company's overall cash situation through decreased costs. These decreased costs will be driven from professionals engrained in the business, helping them better understand the business, driving value in the organization.

Build a Learning Atmosphere.

Regardless of how large or small a tax team is, career advancement is important to almost every team member, whether they'd like to admit it or not. Continuous learning is crucial to advancement, and while it may feel like employee training is simply grooming your staff to take off for greener pastures, it's key to a strong tax team, too.

Creating an atmosphere of learning within your tax department, for one, is a more targeted form of education.

For example, you can give your domestic tax specialist some international exposure, or have your compliance specialist obtain some planning experience, giving them an opportunity to really work with the business. These value-added skills are what keeps the finest, top percentage of tax professionals engaged & committed.

A learning environment encourages a closer team environment, which we've heard is pretty good for productivity. 

Still looking to fill out your championship-caliber tax department with top tax professionals?

Foxwood Tax Search identifies the top tax minds in the continent for our select clientele, comprising the largest tax departments in Canada and the United States. For high-end tax talent of every level Chief Tax Officers, VPs of Tax, Senior Tax Analysts, Tax Directors, and more contact us today!

Posted in: Tax Teams  

You say you're different, but why are you so special? How to differentiate yourself in the tax search market

Posted by Eytan Ishai on 13 December 2017
You say you're different, but why are you so special? How to differentiate yourself in the tax search market

You're an up-and-coming tax professional looking for a new position that meets your lofty standards.

After all, you're an international tax law wiz, are a master of compliance, who drastically reduced your last company's effective tax rate, and possess a wealth of IT knowledge, just because you're so well-rounded.

Tax departments from across the continent should be queueing for your services once they learn you're in the tax job market, right?

Think again. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of qualified, experienced, and hungry tax professionals boast the same credentials you do - never mind the others that surpass you.

To get into the top tax departments, you need to differentiate yourself from the tax directors, senior tax analysts, compliance specialists, and the hundreds of others gunning for the same position. Here's how you can catch the eye of prospective employers.

Strong Soft Skills.

Like we alluded to earlier, no matter how impressive your hard skills in taxation may be, there's another hundred or so tax professionals with similar resumes. That's not to say varied hard skills aren't important - they're fundamental to the job, so you must possess them. Diversity in portfolio, or experience in a niche marketplace - say international taxation, transfer pricing knowledge, or M&A activity, to name a few - can be powerful differentiators, too.

But when a tax department is looking for that ideal fit and are juggling between similar candidates, hard skills usually cancel each other out.

So consider differentiating yourself with strong soft skills. Communication skills, teamwork and collaboration, adaptability, problem solving, critical thinking, conflict resolution - these are all crucial proficiencies needed in any successful tax department. And despite being difficult to quantify, these valuable soft skills will play a part in meeting the department's goals.

It's in the nitty-gritty - like minimizing the company's cash tax or maximizing tax savings - that these differences will be seen, ultimately separating you from your tax peers.

Show & Tell.

Great leaders don't see themselves as leaders - they're difference makers. To a true 'glue guy', the role never comes before the goal.

If there's one trait any tax department covets, it's the ability to lead and manage. A person that knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. Managing people goes hand-in-hand with soft skills; the ability to inspire confidence reflects in the department's work.

Managing skills extend to project management, too. The ability to oversee a project from conception to completion is telling to tax departments; it displays organization, attention to detail, risk management, teamwork, and other qualities that can be gleaned from your leadership.

How It Comes Together.

Now that you've reinforced your valuable soft skills and quality management & leadership talents, the final step is bringing it all together. Or, how you consciously couple your refined hard skills with your flexible soft ones will determine if you're really a tax superstar, or your average, job-board-spamming, steady Eddy.

For example, how has the harmony between your soft & hard skills solved a problem, and how did you go about solving it? How have you created value at your last tax job? What did you create that wasn't there before?

Knowing how your skills complement one another to create value for the tax department is essential in showcasing yourself as a competent, well-rounded, asset to the company. And if you do it right, that'll lift you above all the other prospective tax professionals who are narrow-mindedly fixated on who they are, rather than who they can be.

Foxwood Tax Search is unique from your average search firm - we recognize the value of highly-specialized searches, using our Unique Process and consultative approach to find a perfect match for both client & candidate.

We target the top tax minds in the continent for our select clientele, comprising the largest tax departments in Canada and the United States. For high-end tax talent of every level - Chief Tax Officers, VPs of Tax, Senior Tax Analysts, Tax Directors, and more - contact us today!

Posted in: Tax Professionals  

4 Must-Haves of a Quality Search Firm (If You Want the Top 20% of Candidates)

Posted by Eytan Ishai on 15 November 2017
4 Must-Haves of a Quality Search Firm (If You Want the Top 20% of Candidates)

Tax departments in need of a high-end tax professional may turn to a specialized search firm, hoping to tap into a valuable, knowledgeable, and well-connected resource.

The goal is simple: to identify a candidate that not only possesses the skill and experience to add value to the department, but is a cultural fit, and brings other important elements to the table.

We'll highlight four areas clients should be mindful of when choosing to work with an executive or specialized search firm.  

The Cream of the Crop

Top executive search firms won't simply forward you the latest job board applicant, or overwhelm you with hundreds of resumes with the instructions, 'pick'.

Knowledgeable, specialized search firms should prioritize quality over quantity. In the world of tax, 2 or 3 candidates is all it takes to match a client's requirements seamlessly if the search firm has done their due diligence.

For example, a search firm that's been hired by a client looking to add a corporate tax professional to their team isn't concerned with the firm's personal tax or commodity tax candidates they're seeking someone to fit a particular role, a particular niche in the department.

In our experience, your average job postings bring volume, but not quality; it's almost impossible to find an ideal fit amongst the homologous masses.

Instead, pinpoint searches and referral-based headhunting yields quality candidates that, in many cases, are passive, and may not be actively looking for a new opportunity. While this increases quality, it increases risk, too; there'll be counter-offers, turn downs, and other unexpected barriers. But, the executive search firm should keep clients in the loop throughout the recruitment process, ensuring neither side feels slighted by the other. The only way this is mitigated is with honesty on all sides, and a search firm with high integrity who prioritizes its clients first.


Filtering only quality candidates or ideal fits may take time, and most clients respect this - but speed will always be a subconscious factor. Who doesn't want to find that missing piece to their tax department puzzle in a timely fashion?

Some clients put a precedence on speed, and that priority is misguided. The ultimate question clients should ask themselves is, 'will the speed of the search produce the best final results?'

We've found many high-end, specialized Search firms will take the extra time needed to find the correct candidate the first time, rather than having to do it a second, or even a third time. In the long run, this may yield a shorter recruitment period and a higher-quality candidate.

Consultative Approach

Some recruiting firms will take a client's job description, and simply perform a word-matching search in their catalogue of resumes, and present their 'best candidates'.

That won't find the client's perfect fit, and that's especially true in the tax world.

A specialized search firm must dig deeper - and not just into a candidate's qualifications, but the client's needs as well. What is the client ultimately looking for? What is the gap that needs to be filled? Is that possible in the market? Or do requirements need to be adjusted?

These are just a few considerations an executive search firm can vet and consult on prior to investing themselves into a search. This ensures lower volume, but higher quality candidates, meaning less stress for the hiring manager in the long run. Take the time upfront to understand both sides!


Hopefully, a client is realistic with the expectations of their search firm of choice.

With respect to time, quality, honesty, and integrity, there should be plausible expectations as to what's in the market, how long the search will take, and so forth.

Even if a trail's gone cold, clients still appreciate search firms keeping them in the process, even if it's not a candidate presentation. Clients are more at ease - and may be willing to be more patient - if the search firm prove they're exhausting their time and resources for them. Detailing how many people have been reached out to, who they've contacted, who's interested, and who'll be interviewed, will temper expectations and keep clients comfortable with their executive search firm choice.

Foxwood Tax Search is unique from your average search firm we recognize the value of highly-specialized searches, using our Unique Process and consultative approach to find a perfect match for both client & candidate.

Foxwood Tax Search targets the top tax minds in the continent for our select clientele, comprising the largest tax departments in Canada and the United States. For high-end tax talent of every level Chief Tax Officers, VPs of Tax, Senior Tax Analysts, Tax Directors, and more - contact us today!

Want to stay updated with all things tax search? Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn!

Posted in: Search Firms  

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