Two Rock Star Finance or Accounting Candidates? How to Choose the Right One


It’s a nice problem to have – two great finance or accounting candidates to choose from.  Of course, it’s still a challenge to make sure you identify the best fit for your team and organization.  To make the right choice, you’ll need to dig deeply into technical, cultural and team fit.

Technical Fit
You’ve already considered the match between your candidates’ skills and the job’s requirements.  The next step is to weigh the importance of the various skills.  Do you need someone who’s a Hyperion guru above all else, or a person who has demonstrated an ability to deconstruct and improve processes?  Is full-cycle accounting experience the key to success? Create a scorecard and rank each candidate’s skills.  This will inject a measure of objectivity into the process and make it easier for you to move to a decision.

Pro Tip:  Creating a scorecard before the finance or accounting interview can streamline your hiring process.

Coachability is critical to the success of any candidate, since it’s the number one reason that new hires fail.  Ask candidates to recount a time that they received constructive feedback from their manager.  What action did they take?  What were the results?  Ultimately, the more coachable your candidate is, the better the chances that he or she will succeed in the role.

Resource:  For tips on how to give constructive feedback read this blog.

Go back to the candidates’ resumes.  Look for signs of stability in each role.  Does the candidate jump around every one to two years, or do they show progression in each position?  You need someone who is committed to your organization.  Stability on a resume is a good indication that they are the kind of employee who likes to grow with a company.

Cultural Fit With the Team
Consider candidates who are the best cultural fit for your team.  Which candidate will mesh seamlessly and bring the best complementary skill set to the table?  Has any candidate spent time in organizations such as yours?  Choose a candidate who you think can best support the vision of the organization and your team.

Identify the person who can excel in ambiguity.  Ask the candidate to describe a time when he or she had very little guidance and limited information, but still had to solve a problem.  This type of question will help you identify a candidate who can be self-directed, while still respecting company culture.  At the end of the day, a resourceful employee is a valuable employee.

Motivation exists on two levels.  Ensure that you determine each candidate’s motivation for taking the role.  The candidate who best explains why the role would be a fit for their skill set and career objectives is the one to hire.  In addition, ask questions that evaluate how much motivation and grit each candidate has.  According to research conducted with C-Suite level leaders, grit and resilience are key to any hire’s success.

Key Takeaways
Making tough hiring decisions is a part of building a high powered finance and accounting team.  Evaluate which technical skills are the most important and rank your two competing candidates accordingly.  Take a close look at each candidate’s resume and identify any red flags around stability and progression.  Select the candidate that shows the most coachability, motivation and resilience.  Finally, because you need someone who can be self-directed, make sure to consider each candidate’s ability to excel in ambiguity.  While it’s challenging to be objective when choosing between two great candidates, evaluating technical, team and cultural fit will help lead to the best hire.

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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