3 Essential Checklists for Recruiting, Hiring, Onboarding

Working with new employees

Of all the roles managers play in an organization, the recruiting, hiring and onboarding of skilled professionals is one of the most pivotal.

Whether you’re looking for a controller, financial analyst, staff accountant or any other finance and accounting specialist, you know about this industry’s demand for top talent. It can be a struggle to find workers with the right set of skills, let alone land new hires and set them up for success. The more efficient you are during each stage, the more productive and profitable your department and company will be.

Here’s a go-to checklist for making sure you have the essential tools for recruiting, hiring and onboarding the members of your accounting and finance team:

Recruiting best practices

  • Be involved. As a manager, you know exactly what you need. While it's OK to ask for help, you should be directly involved in writing the job description and evaluating job candidates.
  • Reassess the role. The open position likely evolved during the previous employee’s tenure. Talk with key members of your finance and accounting team, along with colleagues from other departments, to get their input on what hard and soft skills the ideal candidate should possess.
  • Update the job description. Craft a job description that attracts the right talent. This should be a living document that accurately explains the position and is adapted to the organization’s needs and changes in industry standards. 
  • Cast a wide net. To expand your reach, consider using job boards and social media to post job openings. You can also initiate an employee referral program and give workers the incentive to participate by offering a reward for a successful hire, such as a monetary bonus or extra vacation days.

Read about our survey that shows how a majority of CFOs don't actively recruit for open roles, potentially losing out on talented candidates — and see the infographic, below.]

  • Work with a professional recruiter. By partnering with an employment agency, you can save time and effort while gaining access to a larger pool of candidates. The best recruiters are knowledgeable about the latest trends and will also have solid business alliances.

Find out more about working with Robert Half Finance & Accounting for your recruitment.

Effective hiring techniques

  • Remember the human element. Applicant tracking systems — software that matches words in the candidate's application materials with words in the job posting — are useful tools for searching for certifications or years of experience. But nothing beats your well-honed judgment for gauging potential and fit within your company culture
  • Conduct video interviews. A good method for quickly vetting applicants that’s gaining in popularity is the video interview. Using a video conferencing service like Skype, you have the added advantage ofevaluating candidates’ business etiquette, professionalism, speaking abilities and interest in the position. If they pass this first step, schedule an in-person interview. 
  • Check references. While you don't want to drag out the hiring process, you also don't want to risk making a bad hire. Take the time to make the calls to check your top candidate's work history.
  • Offer a strong compensation package. Research the hiring market and consider what bonuses or employee perks you can offer in addition to negotiating salary.  

Download Robert Half's latest Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance, which covers salary ranges for more than 400 positions at companies of various sizes. 

Onboarding checklist

  • Get tech connected. Before your new hire’s first day, work with human resources and IT to set up the new email account, voice mailbox and computer equipment. On day one, make sure to have all the login information, company ID and security key cards ready so your new employee can enter the building and get started.
  • Prepare the work area. Make sure the new office, cubicle or desk is clean and has the essentials tools such as a working phone, computer and comfortable chair. Show the new person where the office supplies are stored. Personalize the door, wall or desk with a nameplate.
  • Make introductions to coworkers. Send out welcome emails for all new hires. Give new employees a warm welcome by making personal introductions on their first morning, and include a tour of key departments. Within the first week, gather the accounting team for lunch or coffee for bonding in a social setting.
  • Revisit goals and responsibilities. While you will have touched on this during the hiring process, it’s now time to go into detail about assignments and expectations. Also discuss the evaluation process and scheduling of the performance review.
  • Conduct a formal orientation. Ideally, your firm will have a procedure for orienting new employees. This should provide an overview of the company’s vision and mission, values, products and services, organizational chart, the functions of various departments, health and retirement benefits, and other key information from human resources.
  • Check in regularly. Many managers spend only a few days onboarding, but it may take several months for new hires to acclimate fully to their new role. Take the time to listen to their concerns, answer questions, train them on applications and systems, and give extra feedback.

You expect candidates to try to wow you, but put yourself in their shoes for a moment. What first impression about your company would you like to make? Take the time to ensure your recruiting, hiring and onboarding processes are as smooth and efficient as possible, and you’ll go a long way toward retaining the accounting and finance professionals you worked so hard to land.


Risky Way to Hire infographic


Looking for more hiring advice?

Discover Robert Half’s library of information for hiring finance and accounting staff, from benchmarking salaries to working with recruiting managers.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in early 2016 and was updated recently to reflect current information.

Delynn Senna​DeLynn Senna, CPA, is the executive director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting, the world's first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. In her role, she leads Robert Half Finance & Accounting’s global operations, including defining brand positioning, working with executive and field leadership across five continents to develop growth strategies and operating processes, and to shape and promote the company’s vision internally and externally.