“You can’t win anything with kids …”
When it comes to hiring talent into your finance department, this mantra might NOT be so accurate.
First things first, I am not one of those football-obsessed Recruiters.
During pub quizzes, teammates often turn to me with great expectation when a question about football comes up and they are generally met with a blank expression on my face followed by a pitiful “sorry guys, I haven’t a clue.”
So … you might ask, why have I titled this piece with a quote from the football pundit Alan Hansen on ‘Match of Day’ from 1995 when he famously belittled Manchester United’s chances of winning any silverware with a bunch of youngsters very few people (at the time) had ever heard of … Beckham, Scholes, Butt, Giggs and Neville etc? Hansen ended up with egg on his face and his bold proclamation has haunted him ever since.
Well, since the start of the year, this phrase has repeatedly popped into my head when our clients have consistently opted for the most junior options from our shortlists of Finance or Accounts Assistants.
Now, I’m not saying that experienced Finance or Accounts Assistants aren’t popular; they absolutely are and there will always be an attraction to those candidates with knowledge & skills gained by years of doing the job and that’s why they get snapped up quickly as that demand consistently out-strips supply. However, over the past six months, there has been a discernable shift in hiring decisions from our clients – “We’d like to offer the job to Amy,” says Mr Client. “We know that she only graduated in Business Studies last year but she’s already started her AAT studies and she seems very bright, ambitious and her attitude is fantastic.”
This trend might be a reaction to the scarcity of more experienced candidates but that wouldn’t explain why some clients have looked beyond such seasoned characters to focus on the greenhorns when they didn’t need to.
I recently asked the Finance Director at one of our clients why she had chosen the ‘greenest’ candidate on my shortlist and I found her response enlightening. “Some of what we need our Accounts Assistants to do is not technically difficult, in fact, parts of it can be quite mundane and repetitive,” she said. “The key things we need are a positive attitude and a very good attention to detail. In that respect, experience is less vital than an eagerness to learn.”
Is it possible that the decision-makers in finance teams are trying to save on bottom-line costs by taking the often-cheaper candidates with less experience? Yes, in principle, but I don’t think that agenda is the driving force behind their decisions and besides, once a Financial Controller or a Finance Director has stomached the costs of supporting an up-and-coming staff member through their AAT studies, the savings would be negligible.
Graduates are still popular choices but most of our clients just want to see some evidence of an interest in numbers/finance and, hopefully, a little bit of commercial experience and a familiarity with spreadsheets. A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) in maths, business studies or economics always go down well and, if the candidate has taken the initiative to start their AAT studies, that’s attractive too.
The best finance teams that we recruit for seem to have a great mix of experience at all levels but, as the market continues to constrict for Accountancy
& Finance professionals, maybe … just maybe, you can win a great deal with kids.
For more information about how we can help you to hire into your Accountancy or Finance roles, please click on the banner below or call our Client Relations Team on 01295 262266 (Oxfordshire) or 01926 332277 (Warwickshire).
"It has been lovely working with Jonty on the two roles that we needed to fill. He provided excellent candidates in a timely manner and was extremely helpful. I look forward to working with him again." - CN Glass Ltd
"This was proving a difficult position to fill, but Inga and Christina came in and went the extra mile to really get to know us as a company and the team. They sat in with some of the staff to get a better idea of the sort of people who would be a good fit. This gave them a different outlook and the first applicant they sent over after that meeting fitted in perfectly and was offered the position.", - John Good Ltd
"Geoff has been fantastic throughout this process. He has given me plenty of support and taken the time to listen to my situation and what exactly I was looking for. He is an asset to your company. Thank you very much" - Maria Abrahart
"Plus One Personnel have always delivered an excellent service, providing a high calibre of candidates at a very reasonable cost of hire. I would use their service again and I would certainly recommend them to any organisation. They have a very friendly team that will always go above and beyond to help in any way. It was a pleasure working with you all" - National Farmers Union
"Jo lined us up interviews in super quick time whilst still of very high standard. Communication is key and the communication we received from Jo was outstanding, always keeping us in the loop and letting us know what was going on. I would have no hesitation in using this service again and recommending to others. BIG thank you Jo for everything!!!" - Tool Connection Ltd