The Cold Shoulder

You cannot simply outsource the hiring process, step back and expect outstanding results. You must collaborate, communicate and cooperate with both your HR team and your recruitment consultant. 

The following article is from our latest “Hiring Guide”, brought to you by Accountancy Ireland, in association with Barden (Ireland).

The recruitment industry often gets mixed reviews. On one hand, there are individual recruiters and firms that operate to the highest ethical standards. They aim to get the right person into the right role every time. But there are also those whose primary motive is to fill the vacancy and secure the fee, irrespective of the outcome for the company or candidate.

While this might appear to be a problem for the recruitment industry to solve, the solution in fact lies in the relationship between recruiters, in-house HR personnel and you, the hiring manager.

The truth

The hiring manager’s experience of the recruitment process is a reflection of how they approach – and engage with – individual recruiters. If, for example, a recruiter knows that four other firms have been tasked with finding the right candidate for the same role, it will naturally be in their best (and financial) interest to cut corners and get their candidate to the top of the queue.

That’s why recruitment fees are so expensive – recruiters are forced to charge significant fees to compensate them for all the time they put into other unsuccessful assignments. So, how can this problem be resolved?

1. Collaborate

If a recruiter is solely responsible for finding the right candidate, rather than competing in a race with other recruiters, he or she will have a vested interest in the hiring manager’s success. Through collaboration, a successful outcome is virtually guaranteed and trust is built on both sides.

2. Communicate

CEOs have cited talent as a core concern, yet hiring managers often refuse to meet with recruiters, who are in one sense their brand ambassadors in the marketplace. So meet with your recruiter and with HR. Help them to understand the critical requirements for the role. Open, two-way communication is key. Providing a job spec simply isn’t good enough.

3. Cooperate
And finally, work with your recruitment partners. As the hiring manager, you have a significant role to play throughout the hiring process and beyond. Invest time in meeting both HR and your recruitment consultant to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Then, you need to be willing and able to move quickly when a high-potential candidate comes along. Often, there will be a short window of opportunity to interview and make an offer – any delay at this stage could see the candidate snapped up by another more nimble company.

And finally, keep in contact with HR even when you’ve decided to make an offer. HR executives could have tens, if not hundreds, of roles to fill at any given time, so don’t assume that your vacancy will be given the priority it deserves. Make sure offers are made and contracts issued when they should be.


To make the system work as it should, all those involved in the recruitment process must collaborate, communicate and cooperate. If we can achieve that, everyone will be better off in time.

An expert’s view

Aidan Kenny FCA, an experienced CFO, shares his tips for hiring a senior financial professional.
A critical requirement in a new finance manager hire is personality fit. I’m less concerned with the current market obsession of having exact industry experience, which I believe represents one dimensional thinking. Most Chartered Accountants have had enough exposure through their training to be able to adapt to different industries – particularly those who have qualified in practice and then spent time working in industry.

Personality fit with the team is key. In many cases, you’ll be looking for someone you would be happy to work with through long evenings preparing board reports or closing the month-end. A candidate must be able to get on well with non-finance people also – this is key for your department to be valued within the organisation. I also have a preference for someone who has travelled and widened their horizons. The more industries someone has been exposed to, the better.

For the more senior hire, I would consider the use of personality tests. They can be wrong, but in many cases can be unnervingly accurate. In a previous finance director role we ignored the results of a personality test due to other business factors. We found out quickly that the personality test was indeed accurate.

This article is part of the new Hiring Guide, brought to you by Accountancy Ireland and Barden. Click here to download your copy of the Hiring Guide.


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