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About In House Tax

About In House Tax

This weblog is a news and views site for tax professionals within the UK and international in-house tax community.  You will find information about appointments and people moves in and around the in-house tax market, issues affecting the in-house tax professional, opinions on the state of the tax job market, updates on tax technology, and other general thoughts of the day.

Hope you find it useful.

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Location: St Albans, United Kingdom

This site has been developed by Simon Godley, who also runs the niche tax recruitment company Talentpool Selection . Simon spends a lot of his time placing tax specialists into FTSE companies, large in-bound groups and some professional services organisations. He also recruits and is well networked around the UK tax technology and VAT markets.

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Top reasons why 'You're Not Hired!'

Saturday, 18 August 2012

As a consumer looking to purchase an item e.g. Jeans, latest iPad, lunch from Prets, it's a fairly straight forward process - you find the object you are looking for, and then buy. Assuming the item is of the standard and quality you expected, then you're done.

However when it comes to the recruitment world e.g. wishing to recruit a tax professional for your team, or as a professional in the tax job market looking for a new position, then everything to do with the 'buy process' suddenly gets much more complex and much less predictable.

Why is this? Well, in very simple terms, it is because there are more people involved (with wants, fears and desires) and there are many many more stages of the process. And it only takes one of these many stages to not work for the whole process to fall over. A process in the recruitment world is a much more fragile, complex and sensitive chain of events than simply buying an item in the retail world.

A successful recruitment process i.e. from when a company creates a job opportunity to a person being hired is a 25-step process, and each step needs to be executed well for the process to roll forward and then result in a successful hire.  Some of these steps are quite straight forward, but some are not and are often badly handled or badly executed.

Below are a few examples of where things go wrong, resulting in someone not getting hired:
  • How serious is the company about hiring?  There may appear to be a really great job you've heard about with a highly reputable organisation.  You go to the company's website, and the job is listed in their careers section.  You apply on-line, but then hear nothing?  But you feel you're the perfect candidate?  Well, the problem is that there may be many issues happening in the background that you are not aware of.  It is possible that the recruitment process started some time ago (possibly months ago) and that the company has already interviewed several candidates before the job has been posted in the career section.  There may be an internal candidate.  Or quite simply, the job or recruitment process may have been cancelled or put on hold.  
  • Interview Preparation Preparing for an interview is absolutely essential for being successful at the interview.  You need to research the company, get a better understanding of the role (what tax experience is key, which interpersonal skills are key?), who is interviewing you, what is their background?  What style of interview will it be - general discussion around CV or competency based?  What type of candidates have they seen already?  Why didn't it work with those candidates?  Clearly you will be far better placed finding out this information from a recruiter, and one which has a close relationship with the hiring company.  Speak to them, ask them what you need to know going into the first interview.      
  • Interview Feedback This is the one step in the process which is most lacking or simply left out of a recruitment process.  If this step is done properly, it will greatly benefit both the company and the job seeking candidate.  On the company side, if constructive interview feedback is given AND the process is to move forward to a second interview, this gives the candidate chance to know what the company is thinking about them and possible reservations they have in them doing the role.  This in turn gives the candidate chance to reflect on this, and try to address these concerns at the subsequent meeting.  More discussion on this is much more likely to result in the company and candidate coming to a positive agreement, and the person being hired through a transparent process.  Alternatively, if the candidate is asked back for a second interview without any feedback from the first meeting AND the company has concerns about the candidate, then this meeting is highly likely to result in the candidate being rejected.  And to make things worse, the candidate won't know why and will feel the whole process has been a waste of time.  For a company to give constructive interview feedback, it reflects very well on the company and on their recruiting professionalism, and also lets the candidate have something to take away with them, and maybe to improve on when they are interviewing with other companies.     
  • Offer / acceptance stage This is by far the most sensitive part of the recruitment process, and there is almost no room for error.  If this stage isn't handled in the correct order of events, and / or without attention to detail, then the candidate is very unlikely to get hired.  When a remuneration offer is extended to a candidate, I believe it has to be at the right level FIRST TIME to result in success.  For the offer to be at the right level, the company has to know in detail 2 things - the exact breakdown of the candidate's current or last package AND the candidate's expectations around salary.  If a company comes in with an offer without this information, they are pretty much 'shooting in the dark' and leaving it to pure luck as to whether the candidate will accept.  This practice results in many many offers being turned down, and often leaving either the company and/or the candidate confused as to why the whole thing has fallen over after many weeks or indeed months of time invested.  
Now it may seem obvious - well, it is to me, that the vast majority of the pitfalls listed above can and will be resolved if the company and the candidate are working through a trusted and experienced recruiter, an intermediary who understands the needs of both the company and the candidate and can communicate issues or concerns between parties during the process.  

A hiring company may be concerned about using an external recruiter, largely because of the perceived high cost because of the recruitment fee for a successful placement.  But what is the cost of getting the process wrong? What is the real cost to the company of possibly some of the recruiting steps going wrong, or even these steps being repeatedly overlooked.  This will result in the candidate not being hired, and then not being with the company at a crucial time when their experience is needed for a deadline or major transaction.  What could be the cost of that?   

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posted by Simon Godley

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