Finding the Best Finance Candidates for your Company

November 27, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

If you are searching for finance candidates for your company, chances are you may be considering hiring new graduates. However, in some cases this may not be your best option. In fact, more companies are finding in order to remain competitive, they need to hire candidates who are proven professionals and who are more qualified. This is evident in many fields and even more prevalent in the finance market.

Why qualifications matter

In today’s competitive business market, nearly all companies are looking for an edge. One way to obtain this edge is by hiring the best candidates for any openings that you have in your finance department. In fact, statistics show that as the demand for better qualifications go up, salaries are climbing as well which may mean in order to remain competitive you need to pay a higher rate of pay. Because of this, chances are you may be looking for more than “school learning” and instead look for more skills.  Keep in mind that hard skills and soft skills are critical to evaluating a candidate.

How soft skills determine competence

Oftentimes many employers (and employees) feel that soft skills should not play a role in determining job qualifications. However, when you’re hiring someone to work at your company, soft skills DO play a role and should be evaluated. Some of the more important soft skills to check into during the recruiting process include:

  • Willingness to learn – finances change, rules change and if you are hiring someone who lacks basic curiosity about their field, you may find yourself strapped with someone who is locked into “old-fashioned” ways of doing things. Over time, this can be detrimental to your business
  • People person – gone are the days when your accountant is expected to work in a back room in solitude. Today, we need our financial candidates to be out front, interacting with not only management but department heads. Communication skills, ability to work as part of a team and presentation skills should be considered when hiring a finance professional
  • Personality matters – in addition to having a high level of integrity, other soft skills you should be judging candidates on include empathy, common sense and optimism. While you definitely want candidates who have the hard skills to meet the job requirements, a bad personality can mean a poor outcome for your company


Using hard skills test to weed out candidates

While soft skills may encourage you to hire one person over another, the first step in finding the ideal candidate will of course be a result of how well-developed their hard skills are. Even when evaluating these skills however, you must be certain not to toss the baby out with the bathwater. Some hard skills that should be evaluated include:

  • Computer skills – today nearly all companies have their financial records in electronic form. Keep in mind that just because a potential candidate has good computer skills does not mean they are adept at using those skills effectively. In general, it is a good idea to test these skills during the interview process. It is also important to keep in mind these skills can be taught if you have the ideal candidate
  • Analytical ability – anyone who is working with your company finances should have strong analytical abilities. While this can be taught, if you want the best candidates, they should have the ability to analyze data before you hire them, not after!  This is a fairly simple skill to test and one that most candidates should have learned in school
  • Basic skills – naturally, the basic skills are crucial to hiring the best candidate. Some of the basics are evident when you review a resume such as spelling, proper word usage and how well a candidate addressed the job needs in their cover letters and/or resumes

Fortunately, because the job market has been so desolate, your company has the opportunity to hire more talented people than ever before. With the number of layoffs from big financial institutions, more qualified candidates are there if you want them. Keep in mind that while the candidate’s hard skills may sell you, their soft skills are probably the ones that will determine whether they are a good fit for your company. Today, you will probably have to pay more for good talent, but the fact remains you will get what you pay for if you know what you are looking for.