Why a Resume Isn’t Your Best Tool When Hiring Accountants


There is no doubt a resume can be a fantastic vehicle for promoting a personal brand. There are, however, some challenges to using it when hiring accountants.

Resumes can both oversell and undersell a skill set, misrepresenting a candidate’s strengths, or cloaking their weaknesses.

While a resume is still a frontline tool when deciding who to interview, you really need a multi-faceted approach to be successful.

The Oversell

Resumes allow candidates to emphasize their accomplishments and skill set. This plays in to the very human tendency to want to put our best foot forward, perhaps padding the resume a little bit in the process (something we don’t recommend). This is why it’s important to have a set of well-structured, open-ended interview questions that allow you to delve into different parts of the resume. For example, ask the candidate to describe a time they were faced with a challenge, such as the integration of a new company, and how they contributed to a successful outcome. Use the resume as a gateway into validating the candidate’s experiences, and don’t get so sold on a candidate pre-interview, that you don’t do your due diligence.

The Undersell

The flip side of a well-written resume, is a resume that undersells a candidate’s abilities. The danger of this when hiring accountants is that a well-qualified candidate could be screened out because they haven’t used the right keywords. In the time sensitive world of hiring accountants, we don’t always explore a candidate’s LinkedIn profile, or Google the company they are currently working for. By solely relying on the resume as a tool for deciding who gets an interview, we might miss the candidate who could be the difference maker for our team.

When you are hiring accountants, it’s important to remember that resumes are simply one tool in your hiring arsenal. Leverage LinkedIn, Google the company a candidate works for if you don’t recognize it (so that you don’t dismiss a candidate because they don’t have the “big company” experience you are looking for) and craft well-structured interview questions. After all, you don’t want to be repeating this process three months down the road.