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How are other practices recruiting candidates?

Recruitment guidance requiered

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Dear Colleauges

I have had several bad experiences recruiting a good candidate through employment agencies. Their fees are far excess, the candidates CVs look impressive but the candidates do not match any skills close to that disclosed on CV's.

Can you all share your expeirences and guide me if there are ways I can find good caliber candidates without the need for expensive fees layout on recruitment agents?

Appreciate your comments.

Jz

Replies (16)

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By raj1234
30th Jul 2019 11:14

Look on linked in. Are you based in Birmingham? I would like a return to practice as an accounts manager/senior accountant :-)

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Replying to raj1234:
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By jayesh21
30th Jul 2019 11:22

Based in London - Surrey

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By raj1234
30th Jul 2019 11:16

Look on linked in. Are you based in Birmingham? I am looking for a return to practice as a senior/accounts manager :-)

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By paul.benny
30th Jul 2019 12:28

Two things
1) Put some time into your job description and candidate specification.
Determine exactly what your hire is going to be doing most of the time. Identify what skills and experience that job actually needs. Do they need experience in particular business sectors or with certain types of client? Why?

2) Look at it from the candidate’s point of view. Why should s/he come and work for you? What work will they actually be doing? What sort of clients? What will they be doing in two years’ time (more of the same or real development prospects)? What’s your culture actually like.

Whether you advertise yourself or use LinkedIn, effort at this stage pays off.

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Replying to paul.benny:
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By jayesh21
30th Jul 2019 12:34

Thanks

Already have a great job specification, etc. as described above. However the candidates applying are not great. Is there a site where you can download CV's, etc.?

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Replying to jayesh21:
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By paul.benny
30th Jul 2019 13:43

I'll take your word that your job spec etc are great. But have you tested it with possible candidates (and existing staff)? Are your essential candidate requirements actually essential? Or looking at it another way, could you be over-selling the role? That could disappoint some and put off others.

So if you're not getting decent responses, think about some different ways to make your job or your business attractive.

For example
- do you welcome part-time or flexible working? Women (mostly) with young children often struggle to find work that fits with their domestic needs.
- can you use part qualified or QBE candidates?
- are there any niches you can utilise (with integrity) - such as working patterns to accommodate Jews or Muslims?

Is your website financialpartnership.co.uk? It's dull and wouldn't entice me to join your business. There are no pictures of the staff and nothing to suggest that any human works there.

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By LostinSuspense
30th Jul 2019 12:31

Linked In is good, also have an idea of what both you and the candidate expect.

Don't rely purely on exam 'success' I have had a few roles where I inherited a mess left by a supposed qualified individual.

Ask them what their goals are, some good candidates may see you as merely a stepping stone to elsewhere if they cannot identify room for substantial career growth.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
30th Jul 2019 12:42

Depending on the level of the role being recruited a little recruitment test- say an incomplete records type student exam question with cash abstract and adjustments to be made, produce a P & l and BS, might split out the wheat from the chaff re say double entry understanding- in the 1980s at interview I was left with such a question for thirty minutes in an empty room at one firm (I cannot have been that bad as they offered me the role)

Think about where CVs have in the past , post recruitment, disappointed and from that you may be able to work out how to test the CVs at interview.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By LostinSuspense
30th Jul 2019 14:39

I have had tests for candidates to do in 3 of my last 5 roles (have been contracting a bit recently). This is a good idea as it tests whether they are 'book smart' but 'application poor'.

To the Op, are your expectations realistic, do you offer a remuneration package appropriate for the calibre of candidate you are after (based on the market in the area you operate)?

Would you consider a different approach such as having a pool of semi-retired accountants / those wanting part-time work (as mentioned above) working for you rather than one or two candidates?

You can get the benefit of proven experience and competence from more than one individual which can be adapted to meet peaks and troughs?

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By Maslins
30th Jul 2019 16:03

We use Indeed. We do get a lot of people submitting applications who don't come close to clearly stated criteria, so expect to have to do a fair amount of sifting. However, it's free, and works well for us.

We tend to just be going for junior trainees, training up internally. If going for more senior positions it might not be suitable, I don't know.

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By exceljockey
31st Jul 2019 10:24

One thing I would suggest, that has worked for me, is that I go for less experienced candidates and train in-house rather than candidates with great CVs and experience. This way the CV is less relevant and you the opportunity to train them in the way you like to get things done.

Also, they (like all of us) need to have outside interests in addition to the work skills. I think this is often overlooked during recruitment. They need something to take their minds off work so that they get proper rest and a break from a job that, let's be honest, can be tedious at times.

Staff having outside interests is also good for your business as social networking is very effective. If you incentivise your staff properly to bring in business and they have a good network, then its win win.

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By MJ Green Accountancy
01st Aug 2019 10:44

In the past I have got in touch with local colleges and asked them whether they have any suitable apprentices. This has had mixed success but the colleges have been extremely helpful.

More recently, I have advertised on Indeed and there was a huge response. As Maslins said, you do get a lot of people applying that don't match the criteria (one guy was a brick layer but "liked counting" so thought he'd got the skills necessary to be an accountant) but once you sort through the applications, you'll probably find someone suitable. The guy I employed is doing very well.

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By Ken Howard
01st Aug 2019 15:43

In my last practice we did a 30 minute test as part of the interview process to discover if the candidates really did know enough about accounts/tax. (Usually for senior/semi senior roles). It did a really good job of separating the wheat from the chaff.

It was basically just a sample set of sole trader accounts, sample tax comps, and sample SA return - but it had a number of errors which the candidates had to circle. Some really basic errors, like drawings being shown on the P&L account as an expense, no add back for depreciation, balance sheet dated 31 February, opening/closing stock adjustments wrong way round in the P&L account, etc.

Even some people who were supposedly experienced in incomplete records work got really low scores - quite frightening really.

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Replying to Ken Howard:
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By jayesh21
01st Aug 2019 16:31

Do you have the test you can share with me?

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By MeridianTax
06th Aug 2019 11:28

We used Lloyd Barnes Recruitment. Yes, they are expensive but having wasted hours sorting through CVs from Indeed and then interviewing people who, on paper, looked likely candidates, we decided the cost was justified. They were extremely helpful and have provided assistance post recruitment. Like you, we have had our fair share of poor candidates from other recruitment agencies.

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By [email protected]
06th Aug 2019 21:26

Take your time over the job spec - be specific and realistic about what you want the candidate to be able to do.
Research the renumeration package for that level - the calibre of candidate will reflect this more than anything.
Talk honestly to the agencies and ask their advice re both of the above.
Ask yourself "would I be interested in this job when I was at that level?"
Test them at interview, devise a test based on the type of work you'll expect them to be doing.
And ask probing questions and make notes.
Finally I find it's good to have 2 interviewees and review afterwards. you'll each pick up different things.

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