When Anthony C. opened his title and escrow company, he knew one of his first steps would be to find a controller, and the hiring process had to be just right.

Janiece L. had worked with a staffing agency when she was a bookkeeper to bring in seasonal accounting help, and again after she’d studied for her accounting degree. When it was time for her to find a new job as a controller, she knew just who to call.

Dianne LaValley, a senior vice president for Robert Half Finance & Accounting, rose to the occasion. She’d already worked with both Anthony and Janiece, and as a specialist with 20 years of experience in recruiting and placing financial professionals, she knew how to make a match, despite today's hiring challenges in finance and accounting.

Janiece is now the controller at Anthony’s company, and Dianne is still working behind the scenes to help companies and job seekers meet their objectives. Looking back, how do each of them describe the hiring process? We caught up with all three to get their stories.

A CEO with a lot on his plate

Q: You gave the hiring process an A+. Can you describe your experience?

Anthony: “The year was full of challenges — from the buying/closing process to brand creation and staffing of a new company. When it came time to filling the controller position, I budgeted for recruiting services. As we grow as an operation, this is going to be a key position. We wanted a controller who is going to be with us for years to come.

Do you want help in hiring finance and accounting staff?

“Dianne helped to parse through resumes and weed out those who weren’t the right professional or cultural fit. She pared it down to three candidates, and we decided on two interviews. We received the resumes ahead of time, and she kept it fast and efficient. We had 30 minutes to interview each person, one right after another. The process worked well, because we could easily compare one interviewee against another.

“My colleague and I both knew who we wanted to hire after the interviews, and we extended an offer and hired Janiece.”

A controller looking for the right fit

Q: Why did you choose to work with a recruiting firm, and how would you describe the process of working with a job recruiter?

Janiece: “I’d worked with Dianne back when I was doing the hiring, and I was happy with her service. When I decided I needed a new job, I knew I needed to reach out to her again.

“I had been self-employed for so long that I didn’t have the time or knowledge about how to get myself out there. I also didn’t have any referrals except coworkers. She first placed me in a position that was a great learning experience in healthcare. After a year and a half, I wanted to continue to grow but needed to conduct a confidential search and reached out to her again.

“Dianne was great at identifying where I was or wasn't a good fit. She knew what I was capable of and took the time to learn what the client needed and could offer. I interviewed with Anthony, the CEO, and was hired within a day or two.”

A hiring process built on relationships

Q: How did you meet Anthony and Janiece and use your expertise to bring them together so quickly?

Dianne: “I met Anthony through networking, and we kept in touch over the years. I’d helped him with previous staffing needs, so when he decided to launch a new business and hire a controller, he called me, and we met over coffee. Meanwhile, my mind was spinning, thinking of people who would work best for him.

“I’d met Janiece when she was a bookkeeper at a company she co-owned. She needed some seasonal financial help, so in the next two years, I helped her to staff various roles and got to know her well. Later, when she decided to leave the company and go back to school, she called me about finding a new position. An opportunity arose with a healthcare company, and even though she didn’t have experience in that industry, they hired her. She was driven and poised, and she ended up helping them with a merger before she called me again to ask about job possibilities.

“The timing was perfect, and I got in touch with Anthony. It was a quick turnaround, because Janiece has a calm demeanor, very much like his, and she was able to bring so much to the table with her experience setting up a new company.”

Suggestions from the recruiter

Q: Is this a typical scenario for an employer and a job seeker in today’s job market?

Dianne: “This is just one of many stories I have like this, where I have a long-term relationship and can say, ‘Oh my, I’ve got your person!’ I make sure I get to know the people I work with so I can make that ideal match.

“Some candidates, like Janiece, are in a passive job search in finance and accounting, and I tell my clients professionals like her are not going to apply to their ads. Almost every city is small enough that you can’t just throw your resume out there if you’re looking confidentially and don’t want your current employer to know you’re looking.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for others out there, either hiring or hoping to be hired?

Dianne: “Recruiting is about relationship building, and job seekers and hiring managers should connect with someone they trust who listens to them.”

Endorsement from the job seeker

Q: What do you tell others about the benefits of partnering with a recruiter in a job search?

Janiece: “The first time I sent in my resume, Dianne made sure I included everything. There was technology testing, typing, an Excel knowledge test, general accounting questions and background testing. She also met with me for quite awhile in person. She was easy to work with, both by phone and email. She answered or got right back to me.

“For my current position, we’d worked together enough where we didn’t need to meet in person, and because of Dianne’s connections, she knew about the opening at the title company before it was posted. I am happy in my current role.”

The conclusion from the boss

Q: Would you choose Robert Half again for your hiring needs?

Anthony: “Oh yes, in a heartbeat.”

How a recruiter can help you hire

Whether you’re a business owner or CFO, you may need help in the hiring process at some point during the year. You don’t have to do it alone. When tapping the extensive networks of a specialized recruiting firm, you get access to a larger talent pool than you might discover yourself in today’s job market. A recruiter can also help you evaluate candidates based on the required skills, performance expectations, organizational fit and work experience.

Ready to hire? Use Robert Half’s candidate finder.

Read the infographic text.

3 Hiring Challenges in Finance and Accounting

Having a difficult time staffing a position? You’re not alone. Find out 3 reasons hiring is so complex today — and strategies to overcome each


65% of CFOs say it’s challenging to find skilled candidates for professional-level positions today.

Source: Robert Half survey of more than 2,200 U.S. CFOs


5.8 million jobs were open in December 2017, compared to 3.7 million job openings in December 2013.

And low unemployment means fewer available workers.

57% increase in job openings from 2013

Unemployment rates are even lower for skilled accounting and finance professionals

4.1% National Average Unemployment
2.0% Bookkeeping, Accounting & Auditing Clerks
1.8% Accountants & Auditors
1.0% Financial Managers
0.8% Financial Analysts

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Q4 2017.


81% of small or midsize businesses have made a hiring mistake

65% of SMBs reported problems with their hiring process

49% say hiring managers underestimate the complexity of the hiring process

It takes 17 weeks to replace a bad hire.

Source: Robert Half’s Small and Midsize Business Hiring survey


See the benefits of working with specialized staffing firm Robert Half vs. hiring job seekers from online job boards.

Online Job BoardsRobert HalfBenefits
XXMaintain a large database of professionals at all levels of experience and training.
XGive you access to PASSIVE CANDIDATES: experienced pros who aren’t actively looking yet, but might leave their jobs for your position.
XHelp you set an appropriate salary range for your open position in the current market
XConduct candidate interviews.
XAssess job seekers’ soft skills – the qualities that are essential in a good hire but are not listed on a resume.
XProvide skills-tested candidates upon request.
XNegotiate the offer.

Call us today at 1.844.694.2507.


© 2018 Robert Half International Inc. An Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/Disability/Veterans.