It can be very difficult to attract and retain talent in a competitive market, particularly the Practice side of Accountancy & Finance. There are lots of firms vying for the attention of the brightest and best. Many companies struggle to differentiate themselves from the competition and can lose out on great candidates for a number of reasons.
Increasingly, many candidates are opting not to go to certain firms for one simple reason: The interview process that they have gone through has given them the wrong impression of the wider business. It can be too intense; too drawn out; or simply not informative enough.
Here are my top five tips for ensuring that your interview process keeps candidates interested:
Emphasise culture and environment
Whilst it’s a good idea to show off the very best version of the company, it’s just as important to be realistic about workload and atmosphere. The candidate deserves to know what they’re signing up for. So be honest about the type of working environment your firm has. Culture can also be reflected in the type of questions asked at interview. Always be thoughtful and engaging to prove that you will be a good peer to that candidate – don’t just ask ‘stock’ questions you found online.
Make your process engaging
So often, firms lose candidates in the hiring process because they simply don’t feel like they are being valued or engaged. If an assessment or a presentation is required, it puts the candidates at ease if they know about these expectations in advance. It’s important that the hiring process is transparent so that the candidate knows what to expect at every stage – including timelines for when they will next be contacted. Above all, you have to demonstrate that every candidate is of value to you.
Forget the boardroom grilling
Gone are the days where candidates had to justify their existence at job interviews. In such talent-short markets, my clients are having to work just as hard to impress the potential employee sitting in front of them. Interviews absolutely should be a two-way conversation so another important element is to encourage the candidate to ask questions. Allow them to turn the tables. You should be able to sell your company without it sounding too good to be true. Be honest and up front about working life and be able to give relevant examples where necessary.
What benefits are on offer?
Many candidates, particularly in the Millennial generation of workers, expect a benefits package to accompany their take home pay. Use your interview process to sell what you have to offer. This could include perks such as a parking space, childcare vouchers or a discounted gym membership. Additional benefits such as professional development are also deemed important, with flexitime often being the most sought after perk. In not speaking up about any additional benefits, many firms will, ultimately, find themselves losing out on candidates to companies who do.
Assess for personality
Employers are increasingly looking to add candidates to their firm not purely based on the added value they bring through their skills set, but by considering how well they will blend in to their existing team. The bottom line is this – you can’t teach a positive attitude, but you can upgrade someone’s skills set. Certainly, a basic skills standard has to be met, but passion and personal values that are in keeping with that of the company in question can really impact your existing team.
If you would like to speak to me about recruiting within Accountancy Practice, I would be happy to discuss your hiring plans, both immediate and long-term. Click here to see my contact details.