Executives say it takes more than a month to fill accounting positions

For already-stretched accounting departments, waiting over a month for help may seem like an eternity. Yet, a recent survey found it typically takes even longer than that for employers to hire for open positions. Chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said it takes an average of five weeks to fill a staff-level role and six weeks to bring a new manager on board.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting, the world's first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, "On average, how many weeks does it typically take to hire for an open staff-level accounting or finance position?" The mean response was five weeks.

CFOs also were asked, "On average, how many weeks does it typically take to hire for an open management-level accounting or finance position?" The mean response was six weeks.

"As the economy rebounds, employers need to ensure they have adequate staffing levels to take advantage of emerging business opportunities," says Kathryn Bolt, president of Robert Half International's Canadian operations. "Over time, companies running with teams that are too lean risk overextending and burning out their employees."

According to Bolt, having a nimble hiring process in place is critical to securing top talent. "The most sought-after professionals always have options and companies need to move quickly to attract and retain the market's top candidates."

Robert Half Finance & Accounting offers managers four tips to make the hiring process as efficient as possible:

    1.  Stay front and centre. Don't delegate the hiring process. You know
        best what you want in an employee. Avoid delays or, worse, potential
        hiring mistakes by remaining closely involved in the process from
        beginning to end.
    2.  Stick to the game plan. Before resumes start coming in, develop a
        method for evaluating them consistently. Using the job description as
        a base, make note of key criteria you're looking for from applicants,
        and search for those same attributes in each resume you receive.
    3.  Get help. Specialized recruiters can help you pinpoint your needs.
        And their networks provide access to people you might not locate on
        your own, including professionals who may not be actively looking but
        would make a change for the right opportunity.
    4.  Don't delay. When you identify strong applicants, don't
        procrastinate. Top performers are in demand in any market. By moving
        too slowly, you risk losing your first choice - and extending the
        hiring process.

Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half International, has more than 365 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.roberthalf.ca. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/roberthalffa.