Finance Hiring Tips: Internal versus External


There is a vacancy on your team, or soon to be. Colleagues assure you that an internal hiring process could be successful, but you’re not sure. Even though the requisition is approved and you have knowledge of market conditions and salary expectations, you think an internal process may not get you the results you need. The question is – which direction to go? Do you handle the process in-house, or do you bring in a recruiting agency?

Step 1 – Determine How Specialized the Role Is
If the role is fairly generic then you may have an opportunity to recruit from your team (think succession planning), or run an external recruitment process on your own.   If you decide to recruit from within, evaluate the following:

  • Is there an in-house talent person to support you? Does he or she understand market conditions, salary expectations and how to attract and land talent?
  • If not, are you comfortable moving forward? This may be the time to look at recruitment agencies to help you fill the role.
  • If you are comfortable, do you have a formal process for letting people know that the position is available? 

Once you’ve marketed the role internally, determine if the people that are interested are suitable.  If not, it will be time to conduct an external search. 

ReadNeed Help Hiring? How to Identify a Good Recruiter” for tips on spotting the kind of recruitment agency that will help you hire well.

Step 2: Determine the Urgency of the Role 
The next step is to determine the level of urgency. Ask these 3 questions:

  1. How many vacancies do we currently have? 
  2. What critical and time sensitive deliverables will fail without this new hire?
  3. What is the internal recruitment team’s (if you have one) time to fill? This is the number of days that it takes a recruitment team to successfully fill a job in finance and accounting.  

If you have time to run an internal process then you do not need to call your recruitment agency partners.   

Step 2 – Evaluate Team Impact
Remember, quitting is contagious and the last thing that you want is to compromise the function of your remaining team members. If someone leaves, and you don’t support the remaining players, then you may have more than one vacancy to fill. Ask yourself if the vacancy will place significant stress on your existing team. If so, can the stress be mitigated without a hire? In other words, can duties be shared among remaining team members without overburdening them and negatively impacting morale and performance? If the stress cannot be mitigated, will there be additional resignations as a result?

Step 3 – Determine Organizational Capability
If you think that leaving the vacancy open negatively impacts your team, determine if your organization has the capability to hire. Are there sufficient resources, networks and  time to effectively source potential candidates?  Are they able to hire in a relevant timeframe (time to fill in days is a good metric)? If so, an internal solution makes sense. If not, a recruitment agency, with its tenured staff and access to both passive and active job seekers, may be the answer.  

 this short video to find out if what happens in Vegas actually stays in Vegas (and sabotages your hiring approach in the process).

Step 4 – Educate Yourself about Recruitment Agencies
Not all recruitment agencies are created equally. Look for the following:

  • Guarantee – Any firm that believes in its process should stand behind it with a quality guarantee.
  • A learning culture – Does the firm invest in its people and demonstrate a willingness to teach you and learn from you as well?
  • Technology that makes a difference – Look for organizations that have differentiators such as proprietary technology that increases hiring success rates.
  • Responsiveness – Your recruiter should be highly responsive. They should quickly arrange for a face-to-face, and sit down with you to understand your role and company needs.
  • Resource – A good recruitment agency is a hiring partner and a resource. Can they provide input into org design and supply you with data about each position’s key attributes including salary, academic pedigree, marketability etc.  More importantly, are they arriving at their opinions using a data-driven methodology instead of an opinion.  
  • Timelines – The recruiting firm should commit to specific timelines. For example, they should be able to tell you when a short list will be ready for review.
  • Specialists – Try to hire a recruitment firm that specializes in the accounting and finance space. They’ll have access to a larger pool of quality candidates.

Want more guidance? Read5 Things to Think About Before You Hire a Finance Recruiter.

Key Takeaways
The debate between pursuing an internal hiring solution, or bringing in outside help continues to occupy those involved in the hiring process. If the role is particularly specialized, and the organization lacks the resources to hire in a reasonable timeframe, a recruitment firm can be a valuable resource. If, however, the organization has the time, network and resources to hire well, then an internal approach can be successful.

Carefully evaluate the impact that the vacancy will have on your remaining team members. If you risk additional resignations, or burning out your team and you cannot envision hiring for a specialized role in tight timelines, it makes sense to look at a recruitment firm. At the end of the day, you want to leave your team in the best possible position and that motivation should be the driver behind the decision-making.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

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