Accountancy Recruitment

A Flawless Candidate Journey

Recruitment is a complex and emotive process. There are very few other processes within a business where personal feelings and agendas have such influence.

Accountancy recruitment is no different. Candidates looking for accountancy roles within public practice each have their reasons for seeking alternative employment. Each has its own set of requirements and ideals, each different in their own way.

So, in a competitive accountancy recruitment market where accountancy businesses compete for top talent, how do we attract and secure the best candidate?

Accountancy Recruitment: In The Beginning

One of the most common oversights by businesses when conducting a recruitment campaign is the importance of the candidate journey.

At every step of an accountancy recruitment campaign, your business will be exhibiting your employer brand. A candidate will build a picture and form an impression of what type of business you are due to their experiences throughout their candidate journey.

The candidate journey is your business’s opportunity to build an employer brand and gain a reputation as an organisation where people want to work.

In an accountancy recruitment marketplace, where top talent is hard to come by, what better position to be in than having a reputation as a top employer.

So what makes a good candidate journey, and where does it begin?

Accountancy Recruitment: Job Advertisements

The candidate journey begins with your decision to hire. Whether it be for a newly created role or to replace into an existing one, the candidate journey starts when you advertise the position.

Job adverts are often written using information from, often outdated, job descriptions and include references to attributes such as motivated or hard-working. These adverts rarely show an accurate representation of the role and often fail to grab the candidate’s attention.

A good accountancy recruitment campaign and candidate journey start with an informative and engaging advert that captures the candidate’s attention and encourages them to apply for the role. A good advert should include:

  • A short but informative overview of the business, its size and location.
  • Precise details on a realistic salary range — candidates are much more likely to apply for a role where the salary range is advertised.
  • A breakdown of the additional benefits available.
  • A clear and accurate explanation of what the role will involve — bullet points are often the best way to display these tasks and responsibilities.
  • A list of any qualifying criteria that the candidate must meet to be considered suitable for the position.
  • Clear and concise instructions on how candidates should apply — make the application process as quick and easy as possible.

Candidates are less likely to apply if the application process is complicated or time-consuming. They definitely won’t thank you if they turn up to interview and find that the role is significantly different to that advertised.

Accountancy Recruitment: CV Filtering & Responses

In an accountancy recruitment campaign, reviewing responses and filtering CVs is often seen as a time consuming and laborious task — but it has to be done.

An absolute must with any accountancy recruitment project and positive candidate journey is acknowledging all applications.

The biggest gripe of all with jobseekers is not hearing back from a business when applying for a position. They are unlikely to apply for a role with the firm in the future and are most likely to tell their friends and colleagues not to bother.

Such damaging feedback on your employer brand is easily avoidable with some simple communication.

Again, once you have reviewed applications, communication is the key to a positive candidate journey. Candidates may not enjoy receiving a letter of rejection, but they will value the consideration and update of their progress.

For those that progress to the next stage, clear and concise instructions on the next steps will help manage expectations and keep the candidate invested in the accountancy recruitment campaign.

Accountancy Recruitment: Job Interviews

Interviews are probably the most contentious stage of the accountancy recruitment process.

The accountancy recruitment process’s interview stage is your best opportunity to showcase your organisation. If it is possible to invite people to interview face to face at your business premises, then you should do it.

Make the process positive, inviting and comfortable for the candidate — give them the best first impression you can.

Candidates will undoubtedly feel nervous when the interview begins, so try to allow them to feel comfortable and confident. Allow them to exhibit who and what they are.

Most importantly, listen! The interview should allow you to learn about them, not vice versa.

Other things to consider that may impact on the candidate’s journey at the interview stage:

  • Be prompt — don’t keep candidates waiting.
  • Prepare — it’ll be obvious if you haven’t, and it will help you through the interview.
  • Be consistent with your questions – it will help when you review the candidates, post-interview.
  • Get some interview training if you haven’t already — they can, and do go horribly wrong!
  • REMEMBER – you want the candidate to leave thinking that would be a great place to work.

Accountancy Recruitment: Offer Stage

Conducting an accountancy recruitment campaign can be a long and taxing process. Irrespective of how many or how few candidates you have reviewed or interviewed, making the job offer should carry more importance than any other stage.

In our experience, we have seen more clients miss out on top talent at offer stage than at any other point in the accountancy recruitment process.

The job offer is the most critical and emotional point in the process for the candidate. A poorly staged and presented job offer can quickly and easily ruin a candidate’s experience and journey.

A clumsy or hurried offer can quickly undo all of the excellent work and effort expended in promoting your role to a top candidate.

So what should we consider when making an offer?

  • Consistency — is what you are offering (salary and benefits package) consistent with what you advertised or have spoken about during the recruitment process?
  • Is the salary and benefits package in line with the candidate’s expectations? You will have had plenty of opportunities to gain this information throughout the accountancy recruitment process. Nothing dampens the enthusiasm of a candidate more than an offer below expectations.
  • Be crystal clear on what elements of the offer apply immediately and which of those apply after the probationary period.
  • Be prompt with the offer. Taking too long to make a job offer can create doubt and uncertainty in the candidate’s mind.
  • Make the initial offer verbally, and explain to the candidate why you have chosen to offer them the role. Make them feel valued and wanted.
  • Be prepared for if the candidate gets a counter-offer from their current employer. If they are a strong candidate, they will likely get a counter-offer.

Summary

Any effective accountancy recruitment campaign must include consideration for the candidate journey.

Often overlooked, the candidate journey is one of the most influential factors in filling the role. Get it right, and the chances are that you will end up with a top candidate who adds value to your business, contributes to your success and champions you as an employer.

The applicants who didn’t get the job, leave the process feeling valued with the ambition of working for your company, one day. Their positive experience means that they will refer colleagues or friends to your company, and your status and reputation as an employer of choice are enhanced.

More people apply for your jobs; more people want to work for you; you get your pick of the top talent!

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