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Career Doctor

Accountancy Magazine

I am an ACCA looking for a new role. Last time I moved roles I had two interviews with my current employer and was offered a job within a matter of weeks. This time, I am finding that the interview process is much more drawn out. I have been for two interviews – one employer has had me back on three separate occasions and has still not made a decision. Is this common and is there anything I can do to speed up the process?

Teresa Thorrington-Allen, National Director at Hays Senior Finance, comments:

The landscape of recruitment has changed since the recession and the situation you have found yourself in is very common. It is no longer unusual for an employer to spend more time on the recruitment process and even revise their decision at the final stage.

As the recession affected the bottom line of businesses everywhere, employers have had to exercise more caution. Qualifying accountants have found that there has been increased competition for roles and the job specifications have become even tighter, with employers being all the more specific about precisely how candidates must match the job competencies. We are seeing that even where a finance team is in need of another head, it is often harder for them to get sign off and they are having to go higher to get it.

Processes are becoming more stringent as companies do everything they can to tighten the reins on spending. For accountants looking for a new role this means that the interview process is frequently longer and more demanding. Employers are holding out for the candidate whose competencies, skills and backgrounds exactly match their requirements. In the past you may have needed two interviews before securing a role, now an employer might extend that to three – possibly four. Presentations, project work and tests are more frequently part and parcel of the interview process.

Professionals looking to move should bear in mind that competition continues to be tough and they will need to be patient. Although you can't forcibly move things along, you can ensure that you are responding to all communications quickly, maintaining regular contact with your recruiter and extensively preparing for all interviews. Emphasise your core skills, highlight key successes, demonstrate where you have made a significant impact on cost saving efficiencies and be patient.