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Future of Finance

How to attract (and keep) the best finance talent

Hiring the right people is one of the best decisions you can make for your business. A top-quality finance professional can help you to manage your cash flow more effectively, plan for future growth and free up more of your time so you can focus on the work that matters. 

But keeping the right people is a whole other kettle of fish.

From writing the job description to giving your employees a memorable experience and solid career progression, these are our top tips for hiring and keeping the best finance talent.

Is your employer brand, well, on brand?

It all starts here. Before you start writing the job description for your ideal candidate, make sure your business is talking the talk. If people look at your website, will they be impressed or put off? Are your social media channels consistent and aligned? Does your website feature pictures of real life employees, not posed stock images? Is it obvious what your business stands for and which causes you support (if any)?

See what people are saying about you on employee-facing sites like Glassdoor, as well as customer testimonials on Trustpilot and Feefo. Encourage your team to share their thoughts on Glassdoor to showcase the culture and ways of working. Your employees are likely to be your best advocates, so use them!

Remember that it’s a job seeker’s market at the moment — the ball is in their court, so your employer brand needs to be on point if you want to attract high-quality talent.

That job description won’t write itself

Start by thinking about what skill set you’re looking for. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What level are you hiring for — junior, manager, CFO?
  • Does the candidate need to have specific qualifications? If so, which ones?
  • Do they need to be competent in any accountancy software or have an understanding of certain accountancy standards?
  • What words would a job seeker be searching for? Use these keywords throughout the job description to give the ad the best chance of being found by the right people.
  • What salary and package are you willing to offer? Make sure you do some research to see what the competition is offering, or ask a recruitment agency to get an idea of the market rate.

Consider your company’s tone of voice when writing the job description. If it’s corporate, you might want to write in a more formal, professional manner. If it’s a start-up, mirror the casual, friendly tone used at your company.

Once that’s done, think about where you want to advertise it. On your careers page is a good start, but you might want to post it on social media as well as on job sites like Indeed or with a specialist recruitment agency in the finance industry.

Put your network to good use

If you’ve worked in finance for a few years, it’s likely you know a number of people in similar positions. And with the great resignation in full swing, now’s the perfect time to see if old colleagues and friends are open to new opportunities.

Hiring someone you know is handy as you can vouch for the fact that they’re well equipped to do their job and that they’ll be a good fit culturally. Takes one to know one, after all. 

Even if they don’t have the complete package, sometimes it’s better to interview based on potential rather than experience.

Equally, why not encourage referrals within your team? Offering an incentive to employees to help you recruit people is a great way of attracting vetted, quality talent as well as retaining your best people. At Pleo, for example, we offer £1,000 to anyone who refers a new colleague providing they pass probation.

Finesse your interview process

Remember, interviews are just as much for candidates to assess you as an employer as they are for you to find the right person for the job. To give people the best experience and paint yourself in a good light, your interview process needs to be well oiled. 

30% of candidates drop out because the process is too long, so try to find a balance between too few and too many interview stages. These stages should involve a variety of interviewers testing for different skills. For instance, one interview might be for testing a candidate’s technical ability, another for a test or challenge, and another for testing their personal skills and team fit.

Consider putting your employees through bias training. Bias is something we all inherently have, but there are ways to control it so it doesn’t affect the talent you bring into the company. There are 14 different biases, including cultural bias (where you perceive cultures that aren’t your own to be abnormal) and confirmation bias (where you seek out information that confirms what you already believe). 

Studies have shown that we’re more likely to favour people similar to us, which isn’t an effective method of hiring as it’s important to have a diverse group of employees in order to bring different experiences and perspectives. 

Not all biases are bad, but they can lead us to make assumptions and therefore poorly thought out decisions.

Don’t forget to measure cultural fit

During the interview process, you’re probably focused on whether someone has the necessary skills to be good at the job you’re hiring for. But try to think more long term and consider whether they’ll fit in with the team and become an advocate for your company.

Interpersonal skills are just as important as being able to crunch the numbers.

Does their personality align with your business’ personality and culture? This isn’t about hiring people who have a mutual love of office parties or support the same football team. It’s about making sure they resonate with your company’s values.

Research shows that employees are less likely to leave if a company matches up to their expectations from the interview process. So giving a clear picture of your company culture from the start is key. It should come as no surprise that people who are happy at work are more likely to stay. And happy employees are, in general, productive employees.

Bake personal development and training into your offering

Career progression is a priority for most people. Encouraging training for your staff is likely to boost their motivation, sense of purpose and in turn, the quality of their work. In fact, companies that invest in training enjoy 24% higher profits than those that don’t. So it makes sense from a monetary perspective as well.

ICAEW offers in-house training for finance teams, and the CGMA store has a range of courses, videos and webcasts on financial analysis, planning, forecasting and more. ‘Brown bag’ lunches, where you invite guest speakers and industry experts to the office for a lunchtime talk, might also go down well with your team.

Making sure you bring the right people into the team from the get-go is key to making sure they stick around. And though you might be hiring finance professionals, it’s not all about the salary. Professional and personal development, a slick interview process and strong company culture are all things to consider when building out your finance team.

Happy hiring!

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