Getting a YES! Three free ways to attract the best candidates (and why you are probably doing it already)


I love meeting clients. As an expert in senior finance recruitment there is nothing more valuable than meeting with potential employers to hear all about their business, their team and their plans for the future and how we can help them. One of my favourite things to learn from clients is why they love working where they do because this is why my candidates would love to work there too.

Last week I was fortunate to meet with a new client who treated me to a thorough explanation of his business, a tour of their newly renovated offices and a sit down with the team. As we sat over a cup of coffee in his office he said;

“To be honest Amy I don’t know why anyone would want to join us. The truth is, we are not the best payers”.

You might think that I am not in the habit of being speechless, and you would be right. But for one terrifying moment I didn’t know what to say! I am lucky enough to visit all kinds of businesses so I know that there is something great about every company; after all I had just met a happy and stable finance team, toured a beautiful office and heard all about the businesses exciting growth plan.

When you are trying to attract the right candidate, money matters – of course it does. But do you know what matters just as much?  Lots of things. There are a hundred and one other reasons why a candidate would love to join a business and whilst not all of them will apply to your business right now, if you appreciate the other softer things that attract candidates, you can be proud of all that you have to offer.

So (other than money) what do candidates actually want?


Your Company and Culture

There is one great big fat reason candidates would want to join your company; Your company. Company culture is really important to candidates so don’t be shy about shouting about it! Having a happy and friendly team is a real asset when you are trying to attract the best candidates, as is having a company culture which recognises individual achievement and (just as importantly) hard work. Similarly, most people are instinctively drawn towards a nice working environment with modern facilities. Even having an up to date ERP system will be a bonus to most candidates! Even if you have poor systems or processes this can be a plus if the candidate will have the opportunity to improve them.

Often, how your company operates and what you do will matter a great deal to candidates. So, to the ambitious and career savvy candidates, having a famous brand or household name on their CV (and using it to impress people at parties) will be worth its weight in gold. To the passionate local, the opportunity to be part of a historic firm or part of a beloved local industry is right up their street. And to the committed enthusiast, there will be a cause or charity that is much closer to their heart than money.

Every business is slightly different and you can’t be all things to all men, but you will be exactly the right thing to the right man (or woman).


A Work/Life Balance

We all know how difficult it can be to juggle your career and your home life. Sometimes a little help from your employer can make a big difference at home so the opportunity to join a company which can offer flexible working hours, child friendly holidays or the ability to work from home is priceless to the right person.

Can’t offer these benefits? Don’t worry; there are loads of things about your business you might not have considered which will improve people’s life outside of work. Being  in a good location (near  to the centre of town or with excellent transport links), offering  a company laptop or mobile, or awarding staff benefits such as a subsidised café or store discounts can all improve the work/life balance and make your business more attractive to candidates.


What Happens Next

Progression, Progression, Progression. How often do we hear that word? So many people out there are ambitious and just want the chance to do more. If you are able to offer study support, additional training or the prospect of internal promotion, in due course, you will find an army of bright young things eager to join your team almost regardless of salary.

Don’t despair if you can’t promise these things! Progression is about so much more that just being able to climb the corporate ladder. Think about the less direct progression – opportunities you represent; could there be progression into an internal operations role? Could you offer a potential candidate invaluable exposure to senior stakeholders? Does a role in your team offer comprehensive exposure to the entire accounting process?

In fact, often just being able to get to grips with a real challenge or to complete a complex project  will be just what your perfect candidate is looking for. To many (particularly senior) candidates, the ability to take ownership of something significant or just  make a difference to the business will be of real interest. Oh! And there is another reason why an ambitious candidate would love to join your business. And that reason is reading this blog right now…it’s you! The opportunity to report into and work closely with an inspirational finance professional will be highly attractive to the right candidate.


I would never say that money isn’t important. In the competitive, candidate driven times we are living through, your company will need to keep salaries competitive to make sure that the best people out there want to join you. But money isn’t everything; there is a myriad of reasons why a candidate would love to join your business even if you aren’t the biggest payers in the market right now.

So, dear reader, what did I say to the client who had left me speechless? I said “We have spoken a lot about your business and there are lots of reasons why a candidate would love to join you. Lets talk about them…”

A few days later my client had this conversation again with an A* candidate he was interviewing. The same candidate was delighted to accept the job offer that my client made to them soon after. The offer didn’t break the bank (always good news), but she was thrilled to join such an exciting company.

I love a happy ending.

P.S When you are interviewing a candidate for a specific role it is also a good idea to understand precisely why a specific candidate wants to leave their present role. Such a good idea in fact, that I dedicated a whole blog to it –

For tips on how to sell your opportunity or just our usual expert Accountancy and Finance Recruitment advice please feel free to call me.

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