Here at Dynamite we’ve spent the last ten years placing over 4,500 people in permanent roles. Many of those were in the accountancy and finance sector - and yet, in many ways, we’re just getting started.
That’s why we recently announced the promotion of Zoe Jones to manager of our accountancy and finance division, and are now busy looking for people who’ll be the perfect fit to join her and our tight-knit team of ambitious, explosively talented recruiters.
Recruiting candidates in the accountancy and finance industry can be a little different to staffing for more commercial endeavours, however. So to understand why, we sat down with Zoe.
HI ZOE! CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR PROMOTION! THESE ARE EXCITING TIMES IN THE ACCOUNTANCY AND FINANCE DIVISION. COULD YOU START OFF BY TELLING US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU DO THERE?
"Thank you so much; I'm really pleased! At Dynamite I focus solely on roles in accounting and finance. That's different from our financial services division, which looks at recruiting for areas like wealth management and mortgages. In accountancy and finance, we deal with in-house and practice based roles. So, I have a pool of candidates I speak to who have that skill set, and clients looking for those candidates. We recruit for roles ranging from accounts junior graduate roles, right up the way to qualified accountants."
HOW DID THE EXPANSION TO THE ACCOUNTANCY AND FINANCE DIVISION COME ABOUT?
“Before the pandemic I was running the division, then when lockdown hit recruitment obviously quietened down. Now lockdown is over and recruitment is picking back up, we’re looking to expand our knowledge and our reach into different areas. My speciality is the local area, and we’re looking to widen that scope. Adding more people to our team will give us that structure and empower us to find suitable finance and accountancy candidates for vacancies located much further afield.”
ARE THERE ANY UNIQUE ASPECTS TO RECRUITING IN THE ACCOUNTANCY AND FINANCE SECTOR?
“Well answering that in general, the market is difficult across the board at the moment. People are still not wanting to leave their roles right now, and that’s a big challenge. So, a lot of our work across the board is headhunting – not just in my area.
“There are also a lot of changes we have to navigate. After graduation we’ll have lots of candidates looking to start their career at entry-level. And at certain times of the year we see financial year-ends when people are actively putting themselves out the for financial contact roles.
“It can also get confusing for new recruiters with the different stages of financial and accounting qualifications. Over four years I picked up what the qualifications and levels mean, which can be one filter for us. Having said that, a lot of the time we still look at what the role will entail, and matching it to someone who does that or is looking for that at that specific moment.”
WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL APPROACH TO RECRUITMENT?
“For me, it’s not just about getting someone who can do the job. It’s also about finding someone who can fit into the team. At Dynamite, we’re like a family. We all get on; we all go out. So we want someone who can join in with that, and who feels comfortable in that environment. We take that approach both when we’re recruiting for someone to join our team, and we’re looking for candidates to join our clients as well.
“Sometimes a candidate gets that feedback that the company just can’t see them fitting in, and that’s okay. Not everybody’s going to fit in everywhere. I always encourage candidates to be themselves. It’s not just about what the client is looking for, it’s also about what the candidate is looking for. They need to be able to see themselves working with the people interviewing them and fitting in with the business. That’s ultimately where they’re going to stay long term.”
HOW DO YOU TEND TO WORK WITH CLIENTS?
Because we’re a boutique agency, it’s not like the larger agencies where they have set structures or targets. It’s a much more personalised approach. I’m not just going to throw CV after CV at a client. I take the time to understand what my client is looking for specifically, and match that with the top two or three candidates where I can explain the reasons why I’ve chosen them.
And I work hard to build up that initial rapport with candidates. I’m proud that I have really good relationships with them. That really helps when it comes to shortlisting the right ones. There’s a lot of work that goes into it, even before we have a new vacancy come in.
We also sometimes have clients who want to appoint someone junior where they don’t want them to progress. I’m not going to tell a client I can give them that when I can’t, just to get the fee. In finance and accountancy, the majority of candidates are studying to become qualified accountants. So they are going to want to progress. I work hard to manage expectations and I’m not afraid to say “I can’t support you with that, because the candidates I have aren’t looking for that.”
It’s a reality of the sector that businesses don’t tend to recruit in accounts and finance as often as other areas like commercial. I could speak to a client one year and not hear from them for another two years. For me it’s about building that relationship, so they know that when they do need that support again, they’ll come back to me because I’ve built up that trust over that long-term relationship. It’s never about getting the job on; I want to make sure I do a good job and the client and candidate both come back to me.
WHAT TRAITS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR FROM PEOPLE WHO WANT TO JOIN YOUR TEAM?
A lot of people’s perception of recruitment it “it’s just finding people jobs.” That’s obviously part of it, but there’s much more to it.
In my team, I want someone who’s keen to get into something that can offer more. Before recruitment, I looked around and thought “all my friends have got a career and they’re doing something with it.” I wanted to get to that stage too. I want my team to have that attitude – to want a clear career path, an idea of where they want to be, and to have that drive about them. So if they get knocked back, which we all do, they need to have that mindset that they’re going to carry on and obviously results will come from that.
We’ve found that a lot of the time people who come from other recruiters have a mindset of doing things how they’ve done it before. Whereas we do it a completely different way, and you kind of make it your own. Working with different people you’re free to pick up your own way of doing things, which I think is a really nice thing about working here. There’s no script or anything like that. You’re bringing your own personal touch to the role.
If someone is looking for a typical nine-to-five, this isn’t for them. If something comes in urgently, say it’s a temporary position at four o’clock for a role starting tomorrow, I want my team to have the attitude of “I want to get that candidate in.” Your day can change so quickly here, and I want people who love that unpredictability; that element of surprise and excitement. I want to work with people who see it as the opportunity that it is.
SO YOU LOVE PEOPLE WHO ARE EXCITED ABOUT WHAT THEY DO…
Yeah! I’m quite competitive, so if I know another agency is recruiting for the same position, my mindset is “I need to reach out to these people before they do.” Competing against other agencies and achieving that – well, it’s left me feeling really positive.
I look at it as having personal goals to work towards. That really motivates me.
AND WHAT DO YOU FIND EXCITES PEOPLE IN THE ACCOUNTS WORLD?
That’s one of the most interesting things about my job. Because the same things that motivate me, and the people who might join me… they often aren’t the same things that motivate the candidates we recruit.
For instance, I work on commission. So the more you put in on the job as a recruiter, the more you typically get out on a day to day basis. But with accounts and finance, the more you study now, the more recognition you might get to be promoted down the line. It’s not about that instant gratification. A lot of candidates at the lower level want that scope for longer-term progression.
The questions they consider are: where will they be in the next three years? Are they going to be able to complete their AAT qualification if they’re doing it? And then are they going to be able to move on to an ACCA or a CIMA?
And in terms of the opportunities themselves, it ranges from roles performing basic transactions, to then supporting a qualified accountant with their ad hoc duties to gain that experience.
That’s what excites them, because it’s what helps develop them to move into that fully qualified role. Which ultimately, is where they want to be.
CAN ZOE HELP YOU WITH YOUR ACCOUNTANCY AND FINANCE RECRUITMENT NEEDS?
Whether you’re looking for your next role in the accounting world, or you’re keen to recruit in that space, we have openings that will interest you.