5 tips to effectively work with your internal HR department as a hiring manager in accounting or finance  

It’s that time of year again! Everyone has returned from winter break refreshed and revitalized. For most, January means year-end close is in full swing and marks the start of busy season. On top of it all hiring managers have received their budgets for the coming year and are planning on what positions they need to fill to make 2018 successful.

Hiring new employees for your team can be stressful as a hiring manager. Executives, directors, and managers within the CFO’s organization are continuously confronted with new responsibilities to ensure the overall financial health of their organization. Hiring employees adds to this stress and can often feel burdensome on top of day to day responsibilities. As a result, we frequently hear from our clients because they are frustrated working with their organization’s internal recruitment team.

Given the nature of recruiting (both internal and external), we have a huge appreciation for all that internal recruiters do. We work with internal recruiters every day. To share our appreciation we’ve pulled together a few reminders and tips we often share which can help you, as a hiring manager, to streamline working with your HR team.

Things to Consider When Working With HR

  • Internal recruiters work on more than just your job opportunities.
    The first thing to remember when working with internal recruiters is that they work on more than just your job opportunities. Internal recruiters are spread very thin. They source and qualify candidates for up to 10 roles at a time (if not more) across several different departments and functions.
  • Internal recruiters generally do not have direct experience working within accounting and finance.
    As accounting and finance professionals, it is easy to forget that your internal recruiters customarily have never worked directly within accounting and finance. Similar to most executive recruiting firms, they depend on you as the hiring manager to provide them with the information they need to identify and screen candidates. At Burchard & Associates, our team has over 73 years of combined experience working within public and corporate accounting, as well as accounting and finance recruitment.  As a result of this unique blend of specialization and direct experience, we have developed an extensive network that your internal recruiters do not have access to.
  • An internal recruiter’s primary tool to identify potential candidates is a job board.
    The last variable to consider when it comes to working with internal recruiters and human resources are the tools they are given to do their jobs. HR departments heavily utilize corporate websites and online job boards to attract and source talent. Advertising job opportunities via online job boards can be expensive. Therefore, they are often working with a limited number of online job boards and ancillary tools to identify qualified professionals which may not be the best suited for identifying accounting and finance professionals.


5 Tips to Effectively Work with Internal Recruiters

Before shooting off an email to your human resources department with the same job description used to hire a senior accountant or financial analyst last year, take some time to explore what skills are truly required for the open job opportunity and establish your expectations. Communication is key to effectively working with your human resources department to identify qualified candidates.

    • Answer the question, ‘What will this individual be responsible for?’

      No, this doesn’t mean just pulling the responsibilities from of a comparable senior auditor job description online or cutting and pasting from last year’s sales analyst job. Without referencing any other job descriptions, pull together 5-10 bullet points outlining how this individual will support you in their new role. What responsibilities will they take off of your plate? Tier those responsibilities according to which you feel to be most important.

    • Define who your ideal applicant is.

      Whether you are the 10-year Big 4 public accounting manager or corporate finance director working with a boutique privately held company, everyone has biases and preferences when it comes to hiring for their team. Be aware of your personal preferences when working with HR by clearly defining who your ideal candidate is by answering the following questions:

      • What past experiences will the ideal applicant have? Will they have a mix of both public and corporate accounting experience? Do you prefer to hire individuals who have worked within corporate finance at large Fortune 500 companies for at least five years? Be specific and be honest with yourself because it will save both you and the internal recruiter time.  
      • What is expected of this individual on a daily basis? Define your expectations of work ethic and personality. Are you a stickler for arriving on time? Then punctuality is a must. Do you expect your team members to review their work and hold themselves accountable? Then detail-orientation is key.
      • With what personalities do you and your team work best? Beyond an individual’s basic ability to complete a job, personality plays a huge part in whether or not an applicant will succeed on your team. Ask yourself what personalities have thrived on your team to date. If you are Type A, maybe you gravitate and work best with Type B’s. We may be managers but we are also people. Conflicting personalities can break a team’s synergy and cost you more than sleep in the long run.  
  • Create a list of 10 skills truly required to do the job.

    When it comes to sourcing applicants, internal recruiters heavily utilize keywords to both source and qualify potential candidates. Outline ten technical skills you expect to see on every resume presented to you and be as detailed as possible. For example if you are expecting a senior accountant to assist with the implementation Oracle as a means to manage capital expenditures, include a keyword such as Oracle Hyperion Capital Asset Planning.

  • Provide guidance on where to find your ideal candidate.

    Create a list of two to three professional organizations which you are a member of or which foster ongoing education for the technical skill sets required for the role you are hiring for. For example if you are hiring an internal auditor, recommend to your internal recruiter that they may want to explore posting the job on the St. Louis Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) job board. You could also recommend that they explore job advertising options with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or suggest they explore your connections on LinkedIn given your background and network in audit.

  • Provide feedback

    Last but not least, provide at least three bullet points of feedback every time you review a resume provided by a recruiter. Describe what you liked or disliked about a potential candidate’s past experiences and why. By working with your recruiter, as opposed to giving a simple yes or no response, you are developing a partnership and educating them to refine the collaboration process moving forward. All around It makes everyone’s workday happier.


We hope you have enjoyed the latest Burchard & Associates blog! For more hiring and career advice, visit http://wise-coast.flywheelsites.com/hr-blog/. If you have questions or would like to learn more regarding our accounting and finance recruiting services, please contact us at info@exechunter.com. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you success in hiring for your team in 2018!