Recruiting for Finance and Accounting–5 Tips for Finding the Right Candidate

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Recruiting for finance and accounting jobs comes with its own unique set of challenges. In accounting, there is always a deadline looming. Whether it’s month-end, the time when quarterly taxes are due, or year-end, it’s always a busy time. If your department is understaffed, it can really set everyone back. That’s why it’s important to recruit the right individual as quickly as possible. Here are some tips for finding the right person for your finance or accounting job opening quickly.

Look for Hard Skills, as Well as Soft Skills.

Hard skills are those skills that are learned on the job or at school, such as knowing certain accounting software or having accounts receivable experience. It’s what most companies list in their job ads. Soft skills, on the other hand, are related to personal traits such as being a team player or showing dependability. Soft skills can be equally important when looking for that ideal candidate. For example, you can have a person with all of the right experience, but if they can’t get along with people, then it’s not worth much. While hard skills can generally be clarified on the resume or with a few simple interview questions, soft skills can be harder to decipher in a potential candidate.

One way to find out whether the applicant has the particular soft skills needed to fit within your organization is to let them tell a story. For example, if one of your top three soft skills is dependability, you can ask them to describe a situation where they showed dependability on the job. Their answer will give you a glimpse into whether or not they are a fit for the job.

Make a Checklist.

It’s really important to take the time to list all skills that are non-negotiable for the particular job and organization. It would be advisable to have this list ready for all those involved in the interviewing process so that proper notes can be taken. During the resume review and interview process, comparing the must-have qualities on the checklist is essential to finding the best candidate. Although it’s definitely easier to just list the job title and wing it, preparing a detailed checklist can save you headaches in the long run.

Give the Applicant an On-the-Job Scenario.

Each job comes with its own challenges. Presenting the interviewee with a possible on-the-job scenario can give you insight as to how they may handle the situation when the time actually comes. For example, ask them how they may respond to a call from an angry customer over a billing error. You will see whether their response fits in with the expectations of your department and overall company culture.

Let the Applicant Ask Questions.

Giving the applicant the time to ask detailed questions can tell you a lot about them. For example, if they ask about sick days immediately, this could be a red flag. On the other hand, if they want to know about the number of employees in your department and what each person does, this signals interest in the team and overall job. Instead of asking whether the applicant has any questions, tell them that this is the portion of the interview you allotted for them to ask you questions about the job or the company. They may still respond that they don’t have any questions, but by leaving it open-ended, you have a better shot at seeing where their focus is.

Get a Second Opinion.

Although your strong suit may be in deciphering whether or not a candidate has the right skill set for your accounting or finance position, another co-worker may have the ability to figure out if the person has the right soft skills for the job. You can team up on interviews, or better yet, have the other person conduct a second interview. By doing so, you will ensure that you took all the steps possible to find a candidate that will work out for the company.

There is much prep work that goes into finding the right person for your finance or accounting job opening. By taking the time to prepare, you will save yourself a headache from having to replace this person down the road. If you live in the San Diego area and have any questions about staffing or need assistance finding the right applicant for your job opening, please do not hesitate to contact us.