The Finance Recruitment Cheat Sheet

The Finance Recruitment Cheat Sheet

 22nd Mar 2019

The Recruitment Cheat Sheet

A step-by-step guide to recruitment in the financial sector


Statistics can be misleading. However, we do know that the accountancy and finance sector is among the poorest performing against an important KPI of the recruitment industry: the time-to-fill ratio. It is often many weeks from when you begin to look for a new hire until you send out the offer. You can then be constrained with months of notice period for the ideal candidate to complete. You cannot afford to waste time hiring staff in the financial sector you need to take all steps to make your time to hire as short and as effective as possible.



This cheat sheet is a step-by-step guide. It will ensure you fill your accountancy and finance vacancies as quickly as possible, without compromising on the quality of the candidates or cutting corners where legalities are concerned.


Step 1: Understand the state of the recruitment market

A common mistake on the part of employers is to enter the recruitment process blind to the current state of the recruitment market. The recruitment market is cyclical, much like the wider economy.

This means that at times it works in the employer’s favour and at other points, the candidates have a stronger footing.

The three main factors you need to be aware of are:

  1. Unemployment rates: Current unemployment rates in the UK are very low at just 4%. However, also make sure you look at your local unemployment rates. For example, in Coventry and Warwickshire, unemployment is even lower at just 2.8%.
  2. Skills shortages: Skills shortages are a very real problem. You need to be aware of how difficult or easy it will be to recruit the accountancy and finance skills you are looking for.
  3. Wider context: Also affecting the balance of the recruitment market are other geo-political factors. For example, Brexit is hugely impacting the recruitment market.

2019 is seeing a candidate-led market. However, this isn’t a problem for recruiting managers if you know how to ‘play the game’ through the following steps.


Step 2: Vacancy awareness and preparation

This step is made up of 3 parts:

  1. Needs analysis
  2. Formation of the job description
  3. Formation of the person specification

You become aware of a vacancy through one of several avenues:

  • Resignation of an existing member of staff
  • Winning new contracts
  • Expansion/existing staff struggling to meet deadlines within reasonable working hours
  • Seasonal variations

Your first step is to perform a needs analysis. Often recruiting managers skip this step believing it is an unnecessary waste of time. This is wrong. It saves time and expense in the long run and ensures a better fit between the role and the candidate. Put in effort now and save time and money later.

The needs analysis should look at:

  • Your preconceptions of what the role entails.
  • A review and analysis of the responsibilities of current employees both within the proposed vacancy (if this already exists) and those roles around the proposed vacancy.
  • A review of job descriptions within your industry or sector (a simple online search will yield the results you need).
  • Market analysis: the skills and roles which exist within your area.

This provides you with ample and accurate information to craft the vacancy’s job description. A job description succinctly lists the roles and tasks which make up the job.

The job description can then be used to formulate the person specification. This will detail the attributes you need to see in the ideal person filling the role. It will include elements such as qualifications, credentials, professional memberships, experience levels and interpersonal skills.

This step does take a little time now but the information gathered here feeds through to successful and timely recruitment overall. It affects everything from crafting powerful advertising copy to structuring worthwhile interview questions.


Step 3: Recruitment action

You’re now armed with all relevant information to propel your recruitment forward efficiently.

You need to decide which recruitment platform to choose:

  • Self-managed: You write advertising copy and decide where it should be published. You process all applications and short-listing before interviews and offers. Using job boards also fit within this category as you’ll be doing the legwork. This is time consuming, often filled with hidden costs, and doesn’t always result in a strong candidate.
  • Recruitment agency: A recruitment agency will work with your job description and person specification to access their relevant candidate pool, short-list and facilitate recruitment.

However, not all recruitment agencies are created equally. When choosing a financial sector recruitment agency you should look for:

  • Industry specialism: Choose an industry-specialist with understanding in your sector.
  • Proven success: Look for testimonials and success rates in the long term (e.g. at QPLtalent we have a 94% client retention rate which is outstanding).
  • Guarantees: How are you protected?
  • Integrity: Will the recruitment agency be honest with you regarding their abilities and success?
  • Local: Choose a recruitment agency with specific local area knowledge.
  • Work process: Look for a recruitment agency which doesn’t simply pass on CVs leaving you still to do all the legwork. Choose one which actively short-lists candidates on your behalf and allows you to see a genuine refined choice. Choose one which creates advertising copy for you. Choose one which is there guiding you through interviews and offers.

Step 4: Shortlisting candidates

If you’ve chosen to use a reputable recruitment agency such as QPLtalent you will have this hard work done for you.

The most important skill at this stage is the knowledge of how to read a CV against your job description and person specification. There are a number of different ways of doing this, such as a skills matrix. However, the end result should be the same: a handful of genuinely qualified, relevantly experienced candidates, who you want to find out more about.

At this stage you want no more than 5 candidates.

Step 5: Interviewing and selection

Interviewing is another core recruitment skill. Again, your job description and person specification should shape the structure and content of the interview.

The goals of an interview should include:

  • Confirmation of skills identified at application (on the CV).
  • Demonstration of interpersonal skills identified on the person specification (this may be achieved through set tasks or discussion).
  • To ascertain cultural fit.
  • Alignment of expectations between candidate and employer.

Following interview you should feel confident that you have your chosen candidate. However, if you don’t, you should be easily able to slip back to Step 3. It’s better to do this than recruit the wrong person.

Step 6: Offer

Again, the amount of work you’ll need to put in here will be dependent on whether you are self-managing the recruitment process or using a recruitment agency.

It is vital that you extend an offer of employment with clarity. A professional recruitment agency will help you with this. Following acceptance, it is time to check references and qualifications and iron-out start dates. From here, you can prepare and send a contract of employment.

Staying on the right side of the law in recruitment

It’s actually incredibly easy for the unsuspecting recruiting manager to step on to the wrong side of employment law. The key areas of legal concerns in recruitment include:

  • Discrimination: Both implicit and explicit discrimination must be banished from all recruitment practices, including on the grounds of age, race, sex, beliefs and more.
  • Right to work: Employers have a responsibility to ensure employees satisfy right to work criteria in the UK.
  • Data protection: The GDPR greatly applies to the entire recruitment process and fines and enforcement action can be up to 20% of your global annual turnover.
  • Criminal records and reference checks: Both these areas require careful navigation to act lawfully.

Again, using a recruitment agency will offer reassurance throughout the recruitment process.

Add value in your recruitment process

Recruiting efficiently and adeptly will add value. Reducing the time-to-fill ratio as well as ensuring a new hire who is skilled and demonstrates the attributes you truly need, matches your culture and stays, allows you to add value through recruitment.

Choose QPLtalent for all your accountancy and finance recruitment needs in Coventry and Warwickshire. We have a 94% client retention rate and do the legwork expertly and efficiently for you. Call on 02476 99204 





Currently there are no comments. Be the first to post one!

Post Comment