Hays UK blog


How to make your job stand out to accountancy & finance professionals

By Karen Young, Director of Hays Accountancy & Finance 

Pressure on organisations to recruit the best accountancy & finance talentcontinues to intensify, but our latest research in the Hays What Workers Want 2018 report shows that many employers are missing out on talent as a result of avoidable obstacles in their job application processes. 63% of candidates tell us they have at some time been deterred from completing job applications as a result of a negative experience with an employer’s application process – something that employers need to take action to fix if they want to keep their advantage in the competition for talent.

In our new report, we look at the ideal applicant journey through four stages: Search, Apply, Decide and Join. Our report shows a sizeable gap between an employer’s perception of the quality of the applicant experience they provide, and the reality experienced by accountancy & finance job applicants.

One of the keystones of this application journey is the job advert itself, yet all too often these are treated as an afterthought. Our research shows that misleading job advert content is one of the most common reasons for employees to leave a job within the first 12 months, with 44% of respondents giving it as a reason for previously leaving an organisation. A lack of training (40%), the culture of the organisation (33%) and mismatched manager expectations (31%) were also frequently alluded to, some of which could be addressed in part through the more effective use of job adverts.

So, what do organisations need to include in a job advert to give them the best chance at attracting talent?

1. Don’t be woolly on the detail

Candidates could be deterred by an advert that omits critical information or is vague on details. The vast majority (81%) want a detailed description of the role itself, followed by 70% who say the most important criteria for them is the compensation and benefits. It is therefore critical to provide sufficient detail on exactly what your vision is for this job, and how you plan on rewarding them. People do want to know what success looks like. If this information is incomplete it can not only deter candidates from applying at all, but also lead to recruiting applicants with mismatched expectations to yours, who may not stay long with your organisation.

2. Anticipate what candidates are looking for

When preparing your job adverts it’s also important to recognise that whether they are applying via a recruitment agency website, careers portal, job board, or social network, candidates will be filtering their search results. The top two criteria for accountancy & finance candidates when conducting a job search were location (83%) and salary (71%). However, only 44% of employers always include salary information in job adverts, potentially missing out on candidates who will not consider applying without this information. It is important that this information is accurate and aids candidates in their search, otherwise the risk is that they simply will not apply.

3. Paint a consistent picture

Your job advert may be the first thing an applicant sees, but the content you provide about your organisation needs to be consistent at every touchpoint of the applicant journey. Ensure your recruiters and interviewers are able to talk about all aspects of the job description and advert. You should also consider what is being said about you on employee review sites, and if necessary take steps where these reviews may contradict the image you are portraying through your own channels.

Our Hays What Workers Want report export examines the applicant journey from searching and applying for jobs through to interview, offer and on-boarding, identifying the common deal-breakers for applicants at all points of the journey.

Join one of our events or webinars to find out more about our findings and the Hays What Workers Want report.

About this author

Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.


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