How to Overcome Challenges in the Hiring Process

By Paul Love February 1, 2018 at 3:54pm

As you search for candidates in 2018 to fill new positions or vacated roles in finance and accounting, you should also orchestrate your hiring process. With low unemployment rates across Canada, supply is down and demand is up, along with the competition for top talent.

You aren’t the only manager impacted by this. In a recent Robert Half survey, fifty-one per cent of Canadian CFOs said it is challenging to identify skilled workers for professional-level positions.

View an infographic of the research: Skilled Candidates in Short Supply.

Hiring strategies that worked a few years ago may not work with today's record-low unemployment rates in Canada.Job seekers have the upper hand, and you may need to retool so you can set up your organization for success without unnecessary stress and wasted time and energy for you and your team.

Here are four steps to ramp up your recruitment for a more effective hiring process.

1. Complete some critical planning stages

To find ideal candidates, it’s important to first do some strategizing. Before you announce your opening, sit down with fellow managers and identity the must-have attributes, experience and skills the position requires. Take note of what is absolutely essential and what could be taught on the job.

You can streamline your recruitment by doing these things:

  • Cultivate a talent pipeline — Odds are, you still have a list of people who applied with your department before and didn’t make the final cut but were a good fit for your company. Update the list with referrals from your employees and networks.
  • Create solid accounting job descriptions — Use information and input gleaned from your meetings with fellow managers. Be as specific as possible to capture the essence of the job, including key responsibilities and skill sets you need with a goal to hire the person who is the best match for the job and your work environment
  • Enlist help from your team — Your most senior staff members can save you precious time by helping process applications, screening resumes and narrowing the candidate pool.
  • Intensify your recruitment — Gone are the days when you could put up a job posting, and the applications would come streaming in. You need to cast a wide net to get the word out, using job boards, social media, networking and advertising.

2. Don't dawdle with the interviewing

In a tight labour market, you don’t have months to hem and haw over candidates. If you wait, your competitors will swoop in and lure them away. When you spot top performers, you should act quickly — but not rashly — to bring them on board.

Make sure your interview process is efficient and productive with these tips:

  • Conduct phone and video interviews — A 10- or 15-minute phone interview is a good way to pare down the list of candidates and weed out possible bad hires before you invite anyone for in-person interviews. Using a video conferencing service like Skype, you have the added advantage of evaluating business etiquette, professionalism, speaking abilities and interest in the position.
  • Create a list of effective interview questions — You’ll want to ask each candidate the same questions to ensure you have a basis of comparison for gauging responses.
  • Cut down or combine rounds — You could lose your favourites with too many steps, so whittle your interview list to the top three to five candidates and look closely at the number of interviews and stages of approval you’ll require.

While you’re at it, test the office waters to make sure candidates mesh with your corporate culture. Aside from evaluating technical expertise, experience and soft skills, such as communication and presentation, have your chief contenders meet with the person who would be their direct supervisor and potential coworkers.

3. Perfect your technique for closing

Once you determine your top pick, offer an attractive compensation package. With candidates commonly receiving multiple offers, more employers are willing to engage in salary negotiation. But to succeed, hiring managers need to stay up to date on the most current pay rates for finance and accounting professionals.

Prepare by making sure your offers are in line with those of your competitors, and decide beforehand the upper limit of what you can offer. You can find Canadian salary data for more than 150 positions in Robert Half’s Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance.

Also, don’t forget that money isn’t the only factor people consider when choosing a job. If you’ve asked the right questions during the interview, you’ll know what matters most to the professionals you’re recruiting — flexible hours, extra vacation time, tuition reimbursement and the opportunity to work remotely, for example. Be creative with employee perks beyond the paycheque.

4. Partner with a financial recruiter

You don't have to do this alone. In fact, you may want to make this your first step in the hiring process.

Leading specialized staffing agencies know the current employment trends and have large networks of skilled professionals to meet your hiring needs. Top job recruiters will also have solid business alliances.

At Robert Half Finance & Accounting, we can help make your hiring process faster and easier in more ways than you might realize. Not only do our recruiters handle vetting the best candidates, but we also streamline the interview process and help with the offer stage to ensure smooth negotiations. Instead of waiting (and working overtime) for two months, you could have the perfect addition to your team in just a couple weeks.

Take a good look at your hiring process and make sure it works for you and the organization. Companies that understand how to do it right will have an advantage in today’s job market.

Discover more about the benefits of working with our recruiters.

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See profiles of skilled candidates in your area using our online database, tell us who catches your eye, and we can arrange an interview or placement.

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