How Likeability Can Lead You Astray When Hiring Accountants


A Clarity Labs Blog

When we launched Clarity Labs, a division of Clarity Recruitment dedicated to researching and determining the best hiring practices, one of the questions that kept coming up was – which traits truly determine the long-term success of a candidate in a given role?

Interestingly, while qualities such as grit and resilience topped the list, likability was near the bottom.

And yet, when hiring accountants, we often rely on our gut. That instinct, often grounded in the likability of the candidate, can create problems down the road.

What About Emotional Intelligence?

Who doesn’t want to hire someone that they like? We all do. This is not to say that a candidate doesn’t need emotional intelligence to be successful. Rather, the danger lies in prioritizing a candidate’s likeability. This can convince you that the person has what it takes to be successful in the long-term when this may not in fact be true.

Other Traits When Hiring Accountants

Likability is instantaneous. Maybe it’s because we see ourselves in the person we’re interviewing, or their work experience patterns our own. Regardless of the reason, likability can cloud our judgment when it comes to evaluating the candidate’s other traits.

Compiling a list of traits on a scorecard, however, allows interviewees to compare candidates across a variety of factors. It injects a degree of objectivity into the process.

In addition, interview questions should be structured carefully and designed to ferret out examples of other traits that lead to success.  For example, asking a candidate to explain a time when they saw a project through from fruition to completion can allow you to ascertain their ability to start and finish initiatives – a key trait our research unearthed as necessary to the long-term success of any candidate.

Fundamentally, we need to measure likability against what is integral for success in any role. We need to devise a plan that contains both a scorecard and a set of structured questions. Ultimately, when it comes to hiring accountants, intuition is okay, but coupling it with objective analysis is best.