A lot has changed in the world of recruiting over the last ten years.
However, one fundamental fact remains unchanged: there is no shortage of third party recruiters eager to take a fee for placing a candidate at your company. It seems like there are a zillion recruiters out there and it’s become impossible to determine which ones to engage with and which to ignore. We created this list to help you figure it out.
We believe in transparency and efficiency in recruiting which is why we created Vested. We think technology has created opportunities to stand apart and improve relationships with employers — including more clarity, a better candidate experience and lower pricing.
With that in mind, let’s get started!
1) Relationships: Recruiters Oversell the Value of Their Relationships
How many times have you heard this from recruiters?
“We have deep relationships with the most-sought after candidates and insights into their career goals…”
Sounds impressive. But what they won’t tell you is that relationships aren’t sufficient to make a candidate take your job — especially when factors like location, salary, and overall company mission mattering more than who the message is coming from. Our experience shows that 8 of 10 candidate searches start from scratch due to specific requirements of the role.
Instead of focusing on a recruiting firm’s “relationships”, ask about their process. Good recruiters have the right tools and a systematic process in place to help them recruit candidates. Ask for a recruiter’s onboarding and company diligence process.
The best recruiters aren’t salespeople, they’re consultants. If you don’t receive a detailed process, then we’d suggest finding someone else to work with.
2) In-Person Vetting: Recruiters Are Just Meeting KPIs
“We meet all candidates” is another common selling point for recruiting firms. But here’s the real story — hard-to-find, in-demand candidates have several opportunities. They don’t have the time or patience to go to a recruiting office and get screened before they hear about open roles.
This is truly a holdover performance metric from the pre-LinkedIn days that most large firms still stick to (just call Randstad to hear the pitch). These days, in-person vetting is far less important than a recruiters’ ability to sell your talent brand and attract candidates with the right skills.
3) Bait and Switch: Never Trust a Recruiter That Sends Anonymous Resumes
Has a recruiter ever sent you an anonymous resume with the perfect skills that match your role? After you agree to meet, the candidate has suddenly “taken another job?” WTF?
There’s a reason recruiters are lumped in with used-car salesmen. It’s happened to us in the past —and left a terrible impression. Completely unacceptable behavior — if this happens to you, we’d recommend blacklisting the recruiter.
4) Fees: 25% is Absolutely Archaic!
Ever wonder why recruiters charge 25-35% fees for finding candidates?
There’s no reason to pay those kinds of fees— especially if you need help with one specific area of your candidate funnel. For example, there are times when you need extra help sourcing and times when you need the entire funnel taken over by an expert. Why then are you locked into 25% fees?
What if there was a better solution? Fortunately, with Vested, there is.
5) Representing Your Company: Agencies Are Notoriously Bad at Candidate Experience
It’s no secret recruiters are working more roles than yours. Let’s say, for example, a recruiter is working 10 roles for 10 different companies (a small number vs. what they actually work). The recruiter will need to continuously have at least 200 candidates sourced, engaged, updated and happy. This is nearly impossible given how quickly roles open and close which naturally leads to a terrible candidate experience.
Guess what? If the candidate knows the name of your company, that bad experience is inherently linked to YOU.
Why does this matter? Because candidates talk with each other and a bad experience makes it harder for you to engage similar top talent in the future.
With 2018 upon us, it’s a good time to review 3 trends shaping the future of hiring solutions. It’s a constant battle to attract and retain finance and accounting talent. After surveying our base of clients, we found these common themes in their HR strategy that you should consider in the upcoming year.
Shared Economy Model for Temp Staffing
Or shall we say the Uberisation of temporary workers. This is a trend that we’re going to see over the next few years, in particular temp staffing for finance and accounting roles.
We’ve seen this disintermediation in other industries, like Uber has dramatically changed the transportion industry. We’re seeing this already in recruitment with tools like Task Rabbit and Thumbtack, where you can literally use an app to just find somebody available to do handyman work.
With a simple swipe on your smartphone, you pay by credit card to hire a professional to complete your job. The final step is a feedback mechanism where both the pro and you rate each other.
App based automation has completely transformed a number of different sectors and industries:
This trend will penetrate further, and we are going to see it more in temp volume staffing. At a recent HR Tech conference, a speaker described recruiting and building a team as parts of a computer. You can go to a computer store and buy parts and pieces which provides you the flexibility to add various parts to your setup. Temp staffing works the same way. As long as somebody has the right skill set, companies are becoming more accepting of part-time and temporary assignments.
Going back to the example of Uber – the driver doesn’t matter. The car type doesn’t matter. As long as the app helps you get from Point A to Point B, then it’s as good as taking the subway or a yellow taxi (if you’re in New York).
This shared economy is the way of the future in all segments of recruiting and temp volume staffing. Perhaps you need a receptionist to come for a day and you have simple requirements. They arrive and leave at the specified hours and can manage a simple scheduling tool.
The current workflow is that another admin or office manager will call a staffing agency which provides a list of resumes. Then you must take the word of the placement agency (who is paid on a commission) that their temp worker will be the best of the lot.
In the Uber model of temp staffing, you’ll still need a phone – your smartphone. You open the app and then filter through thousands via a matching algorithm filtered on a few different criteria. You get real profile pictures. You get real resumes. You can probably even call these candidates.
Based on several reviews (not just the “expert” opinion of one placement agency), you hire the best person. And one more thing:
Just like Uber, the company also vets the professionals for criminal history and only lists real professionals who can do the job successfully. Hence, you won’t even need to do background checks. And just like Uber, this will be on-demand so your temp receptionist can be at your office the next day.
Because of this trend to Uberizing temp staffing, we’ve developed the app that can help companies with on-demand talent. We’ve seen a larger portion of our placements as temp staffing because companies have found that temp staffing (especially at start-ups) are cost-effective solutions to their finance and accounting needs.
For a full comparison of the pros and cons of full-time versus temp staffing, check out our article.
The industry hasn’t fully shifted into app hiring for full-time employees. Perhaps one day but we’re not there yet. The reason is cost. When was the last time you purchased something via an app that cost you more than a few thousand dollars?
When was the last time you bought a car online? Most people would say never because buyers like to test drive the car, kick the tires, talk to the “experts” at the car dealership and shop around.
It’s the same thing with recruiting full-time employees. Full time workers are a big investment – not just in terms of money but also time. You’ll be sitting next to this person 40 to 80 hours a week. You’ll be going to “war” with this person in various conference calls and client meetings. You want to make sure the fit is right.
Scanning profiles from an app doesn’t provide enough insight on some of these qualities. Technology is great at presenting quantitative data. It still has a long way to go in terms of assessing the human qualities that recruiters look for when evaluating a new hire.
Online Reputation Management
Reputation is really important, and organizations pay top dollar for agencies to manage their online presence. It’s also important in the tourist and travel industry. For example, Trip Advisor was one of the first to do this on mainstream. On Trip Advisor, a user can read thousands of reviews on a particular hotel property or experience.
Yelp is another example, where the success or failure of a local restaurant could depend on user generated reviews of the establishment. Yelp has replaced the need to pick up the New York Times Sunday edition and check out the hottest restaurants. Now, all one needs is to head on over to Yelp and find the best restaurants for any genre or type.
In 2018 and beyond, we see this ratings system extending into the recruiting industry. What if you search for accountants in New York, look up their resumes, and rank them by ratings?
Today, the filtering system is the agency. An agency collates resumes, and they send the resumes to the client. At Vested and other similar apps, we’re seeing clients eager to cut the middleman out. The middleman mind you who’s incentivized to fill the placement, regardless of fit, to get paid. They want direct access to the candidate. They want to see their resumes and a way to score them according to their opening.
With this trend in mind, job seekers would do well to maintain a professional online portfolio. Update LinkedIn and fill out their Vested profiles completely. These steps will help you stand out among the crowd.
Online reputation extends to companies as well. This is why Glassdoor or similar sites are so popular. Candidates want to read reviews and see star ratings on companies.
Candidates don’t want to be stuck in a job with a company with a bad reputation. Hence, companies nowadays spend thousands of dollars for agencies to manage their online reputation. A Glassdoor rating or Vested profile can have a direct impact on your ability to recruit and retain top finance and accounting talent.
Active Management of Candidates (Outreach Model)
Finally, the last big trend is the concept of active management. Currently, most HR strategies are passive in nature. HR departments will only start seeking candidates, when a spot opens up in one of the divisions. When an opening arises, HR departments initiate their flow: call the agency, farm for resumes, screen for resumes and hope one of these resumes come from the ideal candidate.
This reactive approach to recruiting is not the optimal way to manage personnel. In this approach, you’re always at the mercy of active job seekers which may not suit the requirements at that moment in time. Often, these are not the best candidates in the industry.
In the active management model, HR professionals don’t wait for an opening to reach out for candidates. HR professionals are constantly reaching out. They search in LinkedIn for the best profiles. They read blogs or watch videos from authoritative sources. They engage and connect with them and maintain a strong rapport.
In sales and marketing, this is called “pre-selling.” When a salesperson pre-sells a product, they are informing customers about the product or service, and through informative content, the salesperson hopes to create future demand. Marketers often point out that it takes seven contacts before a salesperson can make a sale. Hence, there is a lot of pre-selling before a consumer actually purchases a product.
This concept of pre-selling interest in potential employees can work really well in the recruiting. When we surveyed our most active users (companies who are hiring), we found interesting results. They use Vested (along with LinkedIn) to nurture interest from candidates who have attractive profiles.
They spend half the time setting interviews and funneling candidates to the recruiting flow, and they spend the other half reaching out and “pre-selling” the organization to ideal candidates.
Our clients who use the active management model have higher conversion rates when they bring in candidates they’ve already pre-vetted via prior outreach campaigns. They’ve identified top candidates and pre-sold them on the benefits of working at their organizations.
Vested as a Next-Gen Hiring Solution
After reviewing the results from our clients, we at Vested feel even more confident that our platform is the next-gen recruiting tool to connect job seekers to companies who need them. It’s a platform where both sides can interact with each other and “pre-sell” the benefits of a working relationship.
It’s a cost-effective platform, where hiring managers have direct access to candidates. It’s a platform pushing the boundaries and laying the groundwork for the future of the recruiting industry.
One of the most important decisions and investments you will make as a business owner is the hiring of new staff. Many factors contribute to who you add to your finance team and what value they bring to your company.
We cannot cover all of these varied points in a single blog post, but instead will examine the question of whether you should hire a temp or full time employee?
To help you answer this question, you need to look at the pros and cons of each type of employee.
As you look at the different options, you also need to be aware of the impact on your bottom line. What type of worker you hire makes a difference.
Here are some things to consider for each category of worker:
The advantage of hiring full-time employees
Full-time employees often feel pride in their position in your business. They get satisfaction out of being part of a team and working somewhere they feel comfortable and have job security.
The hourly wage for an employee is much less than that of the temp workers, assuming both workers work a standard 50-60 hour work week.
You realize that you generally have workers that you trust and can always depend on when you need them. You can assign errands for all time which gives you an opportunity to carry out the jobs that are most important to you.
You do not have to continually train new staff on how you like things done continually.
Disadvantages to hiring full-time employees
Full-time employees will always expect benefits like holiday pay and maternity leave.
They must always be paid a salary, regardless of whether your business is having a low period.
You are in charge of your workers’ training and professional licensing requirements.
Temp jobs often arise if businesses need to cover for the long-term absence of employees, due to issues such as sickness or maternity leave. Short-term projects or busy periods, such as the end of the financial year, may create temp job opportunities as well.
Using a temp agency allows a company to respond quickly to peaks in demand, without having to go through a lengthy and time-consuming recruitment process.
Pros of hiring temp worker
Lower labor costs. Hiring a full-time employee involves placing advertisements, carrying out background checks, training, and overtime costs. Hiring a temp worker eliminates the majority of these costs.
Hiring even a single employee involves a lot of time and energy. But while hiring a temporary employee, the duty is usually shifted to a team of career professionals and recruiters.
Full-time employees have to be provided benefits and perks. This entails an extra cost to the employer. Temporary workers, in most cases, are supplied by workforce agencies hence reduce benefits claims.
Avoid unemployment claims. This can be avoided by recruiting temporary workers, whose claims are limited only for the duration of employment.
If you hire a temp worker who is is not a good match, you don’t hire the worker again. You are not making a long-term commitment.
You can hire a worker for a particular task at hand by contracting someone with specialized knowledge.
Temporary workers are usually used on a “try before you buy” basis, which may offer the following benefits:
You get high flexibility when you are unsure about filling your position with a full-time employee – a reality that is particularly useful in uncertain economic situations.
You get the opportunity to assess a person from a specialized viewpoint for a prolong period. You likewise get the chance to evaluate social fit and character attributes, and how well the prospective employee’s values fit into your organization.
Disadvantages of hiring temp workers
You may lack the same amount of control as you would with the full-time employee. They will regularly run their business their way.
They usually do not have the same sense of company loyalty as a full-time employee and most of the time do not feel as they are a part of the business staff.
Wages for temporary workers are usually 15-20% more than that of regular employees. This is because the staffing agency includes its fees into the worker’s salary.
Permanent employees usually see temporary workers as nothing more than temps and are threatened by their presence. Temp workers are unlikely to attract much respect from the rest of the team.
So which option is best for you?In general, if you need a stop gap solution, you’re best option is to get a temporary person. It’s not a long term commitment and buys you time to look for a permanent solution.
However, a common mistake for most startups is making a temporary person a “full-time” solution, especially in the case of building their finance and accounting teams. Startups focus mainly on building out their product and engineering teams and neglect the importance of a strong core of finance and accounting professionals.
They then become shocked when they find it difficult to create financial dashboards and presentations that will impress the VC crowd.
If you are serious business and want to raise money in the future, the best option is to find a finance professional or a full-time accountant. Ideally, you would have both. They grow your business and understand how to create the right dashboards and presentations that will impress. Most hired guns will come in, do what’s needed and get out. That’s not an ideal way to lay the groundwork for your financial and accounting processes.
If you’re business has gotten some traction and you’re ready to seek VC money in less than a year, you should definitely be looking for a full-time finance and accounting professional.
Sign up at Vested today to get started in the process of securing your business’ financial future.
As serial entrepreneurs, we understand the challenge of finding reliable recruiting solutions to find accounting talent or recruit top finance professionals. We commend Hired.com for pioneering the intelligent matching HR technology to assist with recruiting engineers, and we feel that this approach can work in other fields. This is why we developed the next big thing in HR tech:
Recruiting the best finance professionals is of the utmost importance for the growth of any organization or institute in today’s shifting business landscape. The recruiting process begins with reaching out to those people in the world who have the requisite skills for the position.
Most of the corporate institutions, business houses, industries, organizations and government agencies know what they are looking for in their future financial workforce, but they may lack the means of reaching them.
Moreover, recruitment can be a time consuming process if you are a small team of professionals or a startup. This is where Vested comes in. All you need to do is tell us your requirements and we will find you the right person to manage your finances.
Corporate finance and FP&A (Financial Planning & Analysis) are the backbones of understanding and managing a business. All businesses require a finance team (whether it is a team of 1 or 100) that are responsible, intelligent and possess sharp business and management acumen.
Our team is dedicated to helping companies of all types and sizes meet their finance and accounting staffing needs. We promise to use our state of the art technology to provide you with high-caliber finance, investment, and banking professionals. Whether you need entry or senior level staff, short-term consultants or permanent employees, Vested offers solutions to aid your business.
We are well-connected and knowledgeable of the insurance, banking, and finance sector. While we specialize in startups, we also cater to a number of investment banks, corporate enterprises, commercial banks, and local businesses.
Vested’s HR Tech Solution Simplifies the Recruiting Process
Unlike others in the HR field, we are not mere headhunters or recruiters. We are dedicated professionals who use our proprietary intelligent matching technology to curate and match you with the best and brightest finance and accounting professionals.
One approach we use to attract talented candidates is to target early career professionals who wish to prove their mettle.
We are connected to the brightest young minds in the field and keep tabs on their career development. We have a huge database of carefully curated talent that grows by the day. Armed with this knowledge, we have the right candidate that will fit perfectly in your business. More and more young professionals have landed up in dream jobs with a gentle but professional push from our end.
How do we attract the top talent in the finance and accounting field?
We pre-screen candidates to make sure they have the qualifications most employers find desirable (i.e. top schools, diverse skill set, gradual career progression, certifications)
We work for your firm as though we are hiring people for ourselves.
Recruitment and Candidate Assessment with Vested’s Intelligent Matching
We start work as soon as you contact us with your need! And we ensure you get the results within a week’s time.
Our recruitment process begins by working with you to identify your business needs. We will initially try to find your match among the candidates already in our database, but will conduct additional outreach if you have specific qualifications or needs.
Once we get a list of candidates matching your qualifications criterion, we pre-screen them to see if their skills and temperate match your company’s needs and culture. We are determined to get the most skillful, sensible, and intelligent match for your job.
Every candidate we provide has been screened and if hired, will be ready to start working from the first hour of day one. This is the recruitment process that we follow.
We will work with you to identify the position, qualifications, experience and additional requirements needed for the job.
Querying the Vested Database for candidates with matching credentials- Since we have a big database of applicants, we first query it to get a list of the people who have applied earlier for similar jobs.
Preliminary Interviews by skill experts to shortlist- Before the client-side experts step in for final selections, our experts make the job of recruitment easier and shorter. The applicants selected after screening are interviewed by the Vested experts in the specific field and select the candidates who have potential to excel in the said job.
In such cases, we prepare the written exam or practical test to be taken by the candidates qualifying the preliminary interview phase. The test is conducted and the selected candidates are selected to appear for a final interview.
Final interview by client organization Official and Experts at Vested – This is the final stage of selections. The client organization will put the selected candidate(s) through their interview process.
Job and organization Orientation- In the last stage of recruitment, we conduct an orientation program for people who have been selected for the job. During the orientation program, they are given details about the job and the employer organization so that they can gel in at the new workplace from day one.
Our specialization in finance sector recruitment is the best service for employees as well employers. With the right connections at the right place in finance industry, we ensure that is presented with the perfect opportunity for growth.
We help our clients in the following departments and activities
Our success and our clients’ trust lies in the way we focus on providing staffing solutions mainly in the fields of corporate finance and FP&A for startups. In fact, our stringent measure to recruit our own recruiting consultants is one of our greatest strengths. All of Vested’s consultants and professionals have been selected as a result of their expertise in the finance and recruiting industries.
We put countless hours building our team, and use even more rigorous standards when we recruit candidates on behalf of our clients.
Why are our recruiting services the best HR solution?
The right resources, aptitude, and attitude make all the difference. As far as recruiting services are concerned we are counted among the best for the following reasons:
Over the years we have communicated with countless candidates and own a large repository of candidate resumes. This collection includes financial professionals who can be employed for jobs at every rung of the organizational ladder. You name it and we have it! And more and more qualified and experienced candidates are joining us each day.
We believe in the fact that quality attracts quality. As such our entire team of experienced and intelligent recruiting consultants is well versed in every aspect of the financial industry. From hedge funds to investment banks to corporate finance in a S&P 500 company, we understand what it takes to build a winning finance team.
Why us and no one else?
We consider the recruitment needs of our clients as our own. That’s why we work hard to find the right candidate.
We call, discuss and screen the candidates ourselves. No one else is involved in this process except our own experts and professionals and of course the clients. The level of professional dedication has resulted in earning the faith of our clients. We can proudly admit that we have been able to retain our clients, build relationships while earning and growing business with the help of unbelievable customer service.
It’s a mark of pride that some of our own employees who have been working here for years have left to join the best companies in the industry. We are still in contact with these achievers who help us in many crucial and important recruiting assignments. They are still a part of the Vested family and spare their time for training and guiding our new recruiting professionals. Our clientele range from big business houses to small teams and startups.
They vouch for our outstanding services that have given them their best and most experienced workforce. In nutshell, we have grown with our clients and have created the very best HR tech recruiting solution to hire top talent in the finance and accounting field.
According to a recent survey of our clients, we found that body language in an interview is of utmost importance.
It’s equally important for the HR interviewer to watch his or her body language and to assess the body language of the candidate. Understanding body language is an effective recruiting technique to conduct successful interviews.
How Important is Body Language as a Communication Tool?
There are some fascinating studies around body language. In a study of athletes in the Paralympics, researchers analyzed body language of people from around the world, and from all different cultures. They found that athletes used similar gestures to convey a thought or meaning. For example, the expanded posture and outstretched arms were associated with pride.
In another study, researchers observed the body language of the blind. These individuals have never observed the body gestures of other people. However, they also exhibited similar body gestures like everyone else. They would open up to show pride, or they would clam up whenever they felt fear or shame.
Finally, we see body language as an inherent part of nature. Male peacocks spread their feathers to show off they physical traits to female peacocks. Dogs wag their tails as a sign of excitement.
Body language is a universal tool used by all species to convey a thought or meaning. Hence, it’s very important to be mindful of body language whenever, we’re meeting someone, especially when we’re trying to assess a candidate in a 30 minute interview.
Create a Friendly Atmosphere
People make snap decisions about us in the first few moments:
Are we trustworthy?
Do we convey confidence?
Are we friendly?
If you as the interviewer clam up in an interview, there’s a good chance that the candidate will clam up as well. This doesn’t help anybody. It’s important to talk in a controlled and friendly tone, and to give non-verbal cues that this interview is a friendly meeting.
One quick tip we’ve discovered from an HR veteran was his use of the eyebrow flash.
It’s seems so simple, yet it’s been quite effective. During the introductory phase of the interview, an eyebrow flash and a smile can go a long way to set the tone early. It will help calm everyone’s nerves and loosen up the candidate. This is key if you wish to delve deeper into the candidate’s experience and attitude towards various work scenarios.
The second tip is using a slight head tilt. The head tilt is something that we naturally do when we’re trying to listen more closely. It’s something we do to show that we trust the other person. We’re exposing some vulnerable sections of our neck here when we’re doing this. So, when we do this people will feel that trust and feel that we trust them more in return.
You’ll even see animals employing the head tilt technique. Your cat or your dog may tilt their head to show that they trust you:
Finally, smile! A genuine smile works wonders. It’s simple. It’s timeless. It works.
During the introductory phase of the interview, try these 3 tricks to loosen the nerves of the candidate and set the tone early for the interview.
Pay Attention to the Candidate’s Body Language
There’s a saying: “Say one thing and do another.”
This happens a lot in an interview. The candidate could be talking in a monotone voice about his or her experience in a particular situation. It might seem calm and confident.
But what if during this time, he was fiddling with his thumbs nervously?
He could be talking confidently but his body language exhibits a different tone. In this scenario, he could just be spouting off an answer he or she practiced in the bathroom mirror and hoping you won’t notice his fear.
What exactly is he or she hiding?
As an HR interviewer, it’s your job to pick up on these cues and then use them to dig deeper. If you asked him or her about a particular situation and you saw this dichotomy of behavior, ask follow up questions.
Like all humans, candidates tend to fall back to our caveman days or evolutionary instincts. Back in our caveman days, if a tiger was trying to hunt us down, we would find a secure spot and freeze up. We would try to hide and hope the danger passes by. Or, the cavemen would distance themselves from the situation by running away or some other avoidance behavior. The cavemen could also pick up a stick, make a spear and fight the predator. Finally, another form of defense is blocking. Cavemen would move a rock or build a wall to protect themselves from anyone hunting them.
These behaviors can still be found today. As an interviewer, watch for these non-verbal cues:
Freezing up or clamming up
Avoidance or distancing
Veteran HR recruiters constantly look for these three things as it’s a clear sign that “something is there.” Here’s a quick list to look for in candidates:
Leaning back in their chair (distancing)
Folding of arms (blocking)
Scowl on face (aggression)
Fiddling with fingers or pen (clamming up/stuttering/freezing)
Once HR recruiters see any of these behaviors, then it’s a big sign to delve deeper into a particular topic. If the candidate exhibits confidence and answers with a smile and even a nice story, it’s time to move into a different topic.
Understanding Body Language Results in Efficient Interviews
HR recruiters could be interviewing eight or ten candidates in-person a day for a particular job leaving only about 30 minutes to assess the candidate.
The most skilled recruiters can use both verbal and non-verbal cues to dictate the flow of the conversion.
When you use these vanilla questions, expect vanilla answers:
Tell me about yourself
Walk me through your resume.
Can you provide an example of a difficult situation that didn’t work out?
These questions can be found in every interviewing guide on the Internet. Every candidate rehearses this in front of a mirror and have very canned answers. Don’t expect to learn anything new.
The trick is to use these questions as an opening. Then it’s up to the interviewer to pick up on non-verbal cues so then he or she can follow up with more questions.
Understanding Body Language is a Key Recruiting Technique
If the candidate exhibits confidence in technical questions but exhibits distancing behavior when it comes to workplace scenarios, then dig deeper into that. If a candidate folds his or her arms during technical questions, then focus more on the technical side of the job.
You only have 30 minutes to assess a candidate. Pay attention to their body language and you’ll discover a lot about the candidate.
Conducting efficient interviews is an important recruiting technique for any professional HR recruiter.
The Definitive Guide to Interviewing Finance and Accounting Pros
Interviewing for an open position can be a frustrating experience. And yet – some of the most transformative changes happen to an organization when you hire the right person. The interview process involves a lot of art mixed with science; in other words subjectivity. As finance professionals, that’s something that isn’t natural to us.
We reached out to our network – C- and VP-level finance executives from the Fortune 500 and prominent startups and asked them what technique(s) they’ve used to identify the strongest candidates. Here are the 5 most common lessons we heard.
LESSON #1: Use a Test-First Approach If you are looking to hire an entry-level accountant, you should look for someone who you can project as your next controller or CFO, not a highly paid bookkeeper.
Let’s admit it, with automated systems, the mechanics of the job have gotten a lot simpler. You’re looking for someone who can and wants to become a strategic partner to the org and not just input numbers into Netsuite.
So practically speaking, that means you need to adopt a ‘test-first’ approach.
Don’t be shy about testing before you even bring the candidate on-site. For example, provide a scenario where a business undergoes a business model shift and ask detailed questions about the financial or accounting implications
Our favorite technique came from a CFO of a well-known startup: Hi Steve – I’ve always asked my candidates to go to a whiteboard and walk through our company’s P&L. The test shows me who’s done their research on our company and can ask the right questions to get to an acceptable answer.
LESSON #2: Look for Candidates on a Journey
Most reasonable people understand that switching jobs every now and then is common for a variety of reasons, especially at startups. In that sense, your role is never a destination nor do you want a candidate that thinks that way. Pay attention to the clues that separate the high performers from the average ones.
Have you ever heard a candidate say “I’m thinking about getting my CFA”? A person that is used to getting things done will use more productive language: “I’m studying for my CFA Level 1 which I’m taking in September.” That’s the language of someone who has a plan. Those types of candidates are the ones that will transform your team.
Here’s the thing, you’ll see clues in other places too:
Promotions or changes in job duties on their resume
Speaking about wearing multiple hats not particular to the role
A successful shift in career path in the past
Genuine and specific accomplishments about current or previous jobs
We loved these questions: “What did you accomplish in the past that you never thought about achieving” & “What do you consider yourself world-class at?”
LESSON #3: Make the Offer Competitive Be upfront about the starting salary before you meet the candidate and make sure that it’s in-line with the market. We’ve personally seen companies that view the finance role as a back-office function and really limit the budget for the role. Put it this way, for a team that is responsible for the strategic deployment of resources, a high-performing candidates will pay for themselves many times over.
Here’s an anecdote that really resonated with us:
“We hired this really ambitious AP/AR specialist. One day he was auditing invoices and found that we were paying for 600 Google enterprise licences – 3x the number of licences than employees working at our company. We were able to correct it the following month and he earned half his salary right there.”
LESSON #4: Don’t Overemphasize Cultural Fit This is literally the most overused term in all of recruiting. It’s one of the hardest terms to define. Just look at the various problems with interpretations we’ve encountered:
Does the potential hire need to attend “Happy Hours” to be a “fit”
Does the person crave instruction and require 9 to 5 working hours? That’s not a lack of cultural fit, that’s a fundamental misunderstanding on how to drive value at an org.
Is your candidate a micromanager and you need them to scale a team? Then that’s a person not suited to the requirements of your role.
The term “cultural fit” needs to be a more defined term. The best companies are the ones that really emphasize the notion of a collective desire to succeed. Hire the person who clearly understands the specifics of the job with the ability to work alongside various personality traits.
LESSON #5: If All Else Fails, Play The Long Game
Some of your best candidates will not take your job offer for one reason or another. Don’t take it personally; but if you really liked them, stay in touch. Here’s what one startup CFO had to say:
“I’ll say, ‘Let’s grab a breakfast or a cup of coffee and i’ll ask them what are you up to? And we’ll cultivate that. I may continue to meet that person every couple of months for six months. And then I bump into them at some point and that’s the moment they’re ready to make a move.”
Check us out at Vested, when you’re ready to meet your next accounting and finance talent or drop us a line at [email protected].