Posted by Cheri O'Neil on Monday, March 28, 2016 - 08:30
In today’s tight accounting and finance job market, top talent is in high demand and short supply, leaving some managers scratching their heads over the hiring process.
The way Robert Half’s Jamie Conley sees it, employers and hiring managers who have the competitive edge are those who can thoroughly assess candidates yet move quickly in the hiring process to make job offers.
“We see candidates getting multiple interviews with a number of companies within days of posting their resume,” says Conley, a regional president for Robert Half. “On average, they’re in the job market for four to eight weeks, but the best candidates are often hired in one or two weeks.”
How are companies able to speed up the selection and hiring process and keep from jamming the pipeline? Conley has three compelling suggestions:
1. Know what’s going on in the job market
The best tools for getting up to date on employment trends are free.
- The Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance from Robert Half shows turnover is on the rise, as financial professionals realize they have more job opportunities. Not only that, companies are willing to pay a premium to get the professionals they want. More than half (54 percent) of CFOs in a Robert Half survey said they increased the starting salaries for new hires from what they made in their previous jobs, and the average increase was 10 percent.
- Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report shows it’s not just money that attracts candidates. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of workers said the chance to gain new skills is a critical consideration when making a career move.
2. Prime yourself for action
If you haven’t reviewed your hiring process and procedures, that’s the first step. Whether you have a new position or you expect to fill a vacant one, you need an action plan — from announcing the position, to prescreening applicants, to preparing for and conducting interviews, to making the final decision.
Here are some questions to consider that could lead to time-saving practices:
- Do you keep an updated list of skilled candidates you think would be a good fit for your company?
- Have you asked your internal network for referrals or tried an employee referral program as a way to find accounting talent?
- Does your company have a website portal that makes job seekers jump through hoops to submit their applications?
- Have you created strong, thorough job descriptions that accurately capture the essence of your job opening and the skill sets you need
- Are you getting the information you need in pre-interview screenings?
- Do you ask for references early enough so contacting them doesn’t delay the process?
- Can you cut down any rounds of interviews and stages of approval?
When a company schedules too many steps in the process, the candidate will continue to search — and may ultimately drop out, Conley warns.
“The hiring process slows down when there are too many interviews as well as too many people involved in the decision-making process,” he says. “Hiring managers should look to streamline their vetting process so they can move quickly and secure top talent.”
Conley says he’s seen companies take weeks to make a decision, and when they finally get to the offer stage, the candidate has already taken another job.
“They are back to square one,” he says. “Not only did they lose the candidate, but there’s likely work piling up if the position is open with nobody in the role.”
3. Get an expert’s help with your hiring plan
Quickly bringing on temporary professionals and transitioning them into permanent staff is a great way to keep work flow going and the company moving in the right direction.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to execute your hiring plan alone. Working with a staffing agency can augment your recruitment efforts, offer insight into the employment market and help you fine-tune your strategies.
“Companies that have figured out how to hire faster are typically ones that are leaning on specialized recruiting firms,” Conley says. “They can pick up the phone and get fast results of candidates that fit their role. Also, quickly bringing on temporary professionals and transitioning them into permanent staff is a great way to keep work flow going and the company moving in the right direction.”
The keys to a successful hiring process are timing and organization. Your plan of action needs to expedite the process in this candidate-driven market so you are constantly moving toward a rejection or a job offer. If you can make your hiring decisions as quickly as possible and start onboarding high-performing people, you can bring your company more of its most valuable assets — its people.
Are you actively recruiting and considering working with a staffing agency? Learn more about the process in these Accountemps FAQs for employers.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and was updated recently to reflect more current information.
Jamie Conley is the regional president for Robert Half in the Southwest Florida area, where he oversees the Accountemps, OfficeTeam, Robert Half Management Resources and Robert Half Finance & Accounting divisions. He focuses on business development while managing and training the region’s branches.
Jamie holds more than a decade of experience in specialized recruiting since joining Robert Half in 2002. He began as a staffing manager but quickly advanced through various roles with increasing leadership. Prior to joining the company, he worked in the accounting field as an assistant controller. Jamie holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from Lake Forest College.