[IMGCAP(1)]Avoid wasting both your time and your candidate’s time the next time you decide to hire an accountant. It’s easier than you might think and starts with developing a clear, focused and well written job description.

Without a clear job description, attracting and choosing the right person is already hard because you haven’t taken the time to clarify who that person might be. Candidates, in turn, lack the ability to determine whether or not the job is right for them. This means you’ll likely end up getting a pile of resumes for candidates that not appropriate for the role.

Follow this step-by-step guide and start improving your hiring process with a focus on great job descriptions.

Start Strong
Introduce candidates to your company culture. You’re not just looking for a bunch of number-crunching skills. You’re looking for the total person: someone who can hit the ground running, get along well with the rest of the team, and get behind the company mission. The right candidates will get excited by what they are reading in the job description.

Outline the Accountant’s New Duties
Too many employers think of job descriptions as mere advertisements. In truth, they can serve as a clear set of expectations used to give candidates an accurate picture of how they will be contributing to the accounting department from their very first day on the job. Any and all duties should be listed here. Examples might include analyzing sales reports, preparing monthly forecasts, performing audits, and resolving accounts. Use numbers whenever you can (numbers are your forte anyway, right?). If you expect a five-business-day turnaround on completing corporate tax returns, say so. Once they join your company, you can use this portion of the JD to draft SMART goals to keep track of their performance.

List the Skills and Experience Requirements
If you absolutely will not hire someone without three years of experience, make sure it’s clear. If the job requires the use of software like Xero, Intacct, or Financial Edge that the accountant must know to be successful, list those too. You can always train on the job if the right person comes along, but let them know what to expect. Choose three or four must-haves and a few nice-to-haves and make sure these are clearly labeled.

Close the Deal
List the type of job (permanent, full-time, part-time, etc.) and the salary range. While many employers balk at including the salary range, it removes uncertainty and tells candidates that you know what the work is worth and that you’re willing to pay them fairly. List any benefits you offer too, including health insurance, retirement benefits and vacation time. This information helps to close the deal by reminding candidates what’s in it for them.

Remember…
All of this information should be in writing. You can write an external version that will be used to recruit candidates and an internal version which will be used to keep them on task.

You’ll reap many benefits from taking the time to write a proper job description. By creating clear expectations on both sides, you set up the candidate for success and create a happier environment for you both. Your new accountant will be productive much more quickly and you’re less likely to lose him or her in the future.

Ben Hutt is the CEO of Search Party, an online recruitment marketplace that helps employer hire faster and cheaper without sacrificing candidate quality. He is a marathon swimmer, an Ambassador for Opportunity International and a supporter of The Hunger Project.

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