5 of the Worst Assumptions to Have About Recruiting Accountants

Many companies and accounting firms have virtual "Now Hiring" signs posted on their websites, but the best applicants aren’t banging down their proverbial doors for every position. Demand for skilled accountants is continuing to rise, driving a need for smart recruiting. In this instance, good things aren't likely to come to those who wait.

Here are five common misconceptions hiring managers often have when recruiting for talented accounting and finance professionals to fill their open positions:

1. There are many available candidates

A talent shortage has left the recruiting pool with fewer skilled accountants available. Even when you find potential employees who fit the bill, rival employers are going to offer stiff competition.

2. Hiring managers can take their time  

If you wait too long to begin interviewing or to tender an offer once you’ve made your decision, you risk missing out on first-rate accountants. Each day you delay is another day for candidates to sign on with another company.

3. Employers can nitpick on required skills

Sure, you want employees who can perform all the tasks of their positions, but requiring every bullet point amid a talent shortage can do more harm than good. It can be better sometimes to hire candidates who possess general aptitude for the position, are quick learners and fit the corporate culture, and then develop their skills through on-the-job training.

4. Employers have leverage in salary negotiations

The talent shortage also means candidates have more leverage when negotiating salary. Hiring managers cannot afford to offer a figure that isn't on par with the competition.

Download Robert Half's latest Salary Guide to get up-to-date data on starting salaries for finance and accounting positions.

5. Technical skills are the only considerations

An accountant lacking technical ability isn’t going to go very far, but the same can be true for those lacking soft skills. Traits such as effective communication, business knowledge and critical thinking matter as much as how well candidates can crunch numbers.

Looking for more recruiting resources? Visit our Hiring Finance and Accounting Staff page.

Editor's note: This post was updated in 2016 to reflect more current information.

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