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What To Do If You’ve Only Got One Candidate on Your Shortlist

What To Do If You’ve Only Got One Candidate on Your Shortlist

by Geoff Balmer

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You’re recruiting for a vacancy in your Accounting team, and after all those applications, resumes and interviews you’ve whittled your shortlist down – to one person. Now you’re doubting yourself. Did you have enough options? Have you done everything you can to review all the available Accounting talent in Sydney? Is this person the right company fit? If this scenario sounds familiar, here’s what you need to know.

When You Want More Options

Rest assured that there is no magic number of people to have shortlisted for any role; the above scenario is also more common than you think. The recruitment process is often dictated by benchmarks, particularly when it comes to candidates. The desire for choice and the ability to compare candidates to ensure you are hiring the best is natural and seems to be hardwired into us. In fact, there are studies dedicated to the psychology of choice and what can happen if a person has too many options to decide between. The basic conclusion is that a fear of making the wrong decision takes over. But what if doubt of whether you had enough options in the first place has resulted in decision paralysis? If you can’t shake the uncertainty surrounding your shortlist, take stock of your hiring process, including the following:

The Marketplace: The Sydney Accounting sector is known to be fiercely competitive. With that in mind, are there other similar roles like the one you are trying to fill? This may help you understand if what you are looking for is common or few and far between denoting that there may not be many qualified candidates? Is the role appealing? Also, be sure to activate your network; someone you know may just end up being or knowing a passive candidate.

Your Checklists: Go back and consult your pre-recruitment checklist and have a think about the questions you asked candidates that didn’t make your shortlist the first time around. Are there any other questions you could’ve asked to get a better feel for an applicant’s capability? Likewise, check your job description (download our template here). Is it clear and detailed enough to be attracting the type of people you want on your team?

Talent Acquisition Routes: Have you explored all available talent acquisition routes? Utilising a specialist Accounting recruitment agency will ensure you always have the very best candidate available for consideration.

Having options is generally what most people think they want, but the reality is that most fall into the pitfall of indecision. Remember, quality over quantity is what’s most important when recruiting.

Making a Call on Accounting Talent

If you can’t find fault with your recruitment process and still have just one candidate in the running, where does that leave you? Going back to the psychology of choice, psychologists like The Paradox of Choice author Barry Schwartz stand firm on the adage of “less is more”, so mitigate the urge to re-open your search for Sydney Accounting talent by reviewing the following:

Check Yourself: Is there anything in your thought process that could be construed as unconscious bias? How likely is it that you will find another candidate as skilled as the one in front of you? Identify what your reservations are and what, if anything, can overcome your reticence.

Re-check your Criteria, Again: The job description advertised should be your benchmark for measuring the applicants against. Know your end game, what you need versus what you want. What are you not willing to compromise on? If no compromises can be made to the requirements of the job, both skills and other personal traits, don’t hire a candidate simply because they’re the only one on your shortlist. If they don’t meet the standards that you’ve set for your company or your team, you need to continue your search for the right candidate.

If you find the last candidate just doesn’t meet your criteria, try and cover the position internally or perhaps recruit a professional temporary worker to fill the position. If your hesitation stems from a request the candidate has made during the process, for instance regarding salary expectations, ensure that you are armed with recent market information in our latest Sydney Accounting salaries 2018/19 report.

Consider Your Current Employees: Use your current team members to benchmark and compare skills to your prospective hire, are they on par? What characteristics do they have and would you hire them again if you had to. By identifying what you like in your current employees, can easily lead you to a decision about your ‘last person standing’ (i.e. potential employee) with no comparison candidate left in the mix.

Slowing down the hiring process with indecisiveness can only place extra demand on your company and also potentially leave you with no candidate at all. In a candidate short market, you can be assured that your last choice may also be on final interview stage for another job so keep the lines of communication open and be upfront with the shortlisted candidate.

Summary

When shortlisting for an Accounting role, remember your end game and trust your recruitment process; don’t let a number, or lack of numbers, trigger a desire for more options (in this case candidates) that you don’t necessarily need.

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