Director, Hays Accountancy & Finance Hays Recruitment
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ACCA Podcast: Recruitment 101

17th Feb 2020
Director, Hays Accountancy & Finance Hays Recruitment
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Recently I got the opportunity to chat to ACCA about all things recruitment, from CV and interview advice to using social media to stand out to employers. We covered some important jobseeking dos and don’ts which accountants looking for a job this year will no doubt be interested to know.

Below are some highlights of the podcast and you can listen to the full episode by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

Do you want to tell us a bit about your job and what you do for Hays?

I’m responsible for our Accountancy & Finance recruitment business for the UK. That’s over 400 finance recruitment consultants who all specialise in some form of accountancy and finance recruitment for their customers, from a footprint of just over 90 offices around the UK. Our finance team helps find someone a job around about every 10 minutes.

Excellent, so what’s your background and how did you get here?

I joined Hays as a graduate after I was a student myself. That was over 20 years, and I’ve worked for Hays Accountancy & Finance all of that time. I’ve been really fortunate to build great relationships during that time, lots with undergraduates and students from the really early years of their career. I’ve been working with some of these people for over 15 years now, sometimes helping them achieve their first finance director or chief financial officer position. That’s the bit I really love about my job, helping people. 

So do you actually maintain relationships with clients through different jobs throughout their lives? Do you see those people again at different points of their career?

That’s actually really pertinent to what we’re talking about today, because the recruitment market has changed so much over 40-50 years. People think about looking for a job, seeing a job advert, applying, waiting for a response, and then moving from there. Recruitment’s changed, and certainly at Hays it’s a lot more about us finding and engaging talent and keeping in touch. Not everyone needs us all of the time, but being there and being a lifelong partner is important to us. It’s definitely about the long term piece.

Moving on to jobseeking, what are the most important things to think about when you’re getting out there as an accountant?

Well, while the world of recruitment has changed an awful lot, here and now the most important thing is still your CV. It’s your most important sales document. It’s the thing to focus your attention on because without that, it’s very unlikely you’ll get that phone call or online request to come in and interview.

Thinking about that, how do you find a job when you don’t have that much experience? What can you do to make your CV stand out when you haven’t really worked yet?

The thing to think about is that the candidate with the most experience doesn’t always get the job. It’s more important to tailor your CV in the first instance. If you’re applying for three jobs, it shouldn’t look the same, it should be slightly different for each of those three jobs. On a practical level that might be looking at the job and person specification and what you’re going to be doing in the job, as well as what your skills are. Employers will list the most important things first, so make sure your CV mirrors this.

And what about if you’ve just been studying, you haven’t really worked yet, are there ways to be creative with your CV so you can make things in your personal life relevant to the role?

Definitely. If you haven’t got a lot of practical experience on your CV, make the most of your personal statement. It’s your chance to get some of your transferable skills and competencies coming through. In our world of work where things constantly change, fewer employers are hiring for specific technical skills and instead focussing on capability. Voluntary experience also counts, so include anything you’ve done whether it’s related to finance or not.

There’s a lot of competition when you’re just starting out, so what can you do to set yourself apart from other applicants?

Well the most important thing still is your CV, but you can do other things outside of that. If you haven’t already, I would recommend you set yourself up with a profile on LinkedIn. While your experience and the dates should match up, it doesn’t have to be an exact replica of your CV. Make sure your skills are consistently coming through your profile and join institute groups such as the ACCA. Finally, don’t underestimate the face-to-face value of going to institute events and developing a people network.

Do you think that a potential employer who was interviewing someone for a job would look at someone’s social media profiles before recruiting?

Yes, they do. I’ve had to do this at certain points throughout my career. They’re ultimately looking for consistency on dates and things like that. People often say, ‘I’m not on LinkedIn – how important is it?’, and while I don’t think you’re not going to get a job if you’re not on LinkedIn, it does help an employer. With all social media, take the time to get your profiles right.

I suppose it could give you an edge, because it’s all about impressions. Moving to interviews, what are the dos and don’ts about interviews and preparing for interviews?

The key word there is preparing. It’s practical things, like arriving early. You can also look at the person who is interviewing you on LinkedIn, who they’re connected with and who the competitors to their organisation are so you have that market knowledge. Don’t forget the obvious of looking at the job and person specification too and knowing how your skills and knowledge match up. Prepare some relevant stories or examples too where you can demonstrate your skills and experience. It’s often also helpful to have some notes or prompts to bring into the interview so if you do freeze, you’re prepared.

This a transcript from a podcast published by ACCA on 8th January 2020. You can listen to the full podcast here:


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