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Halliday Marx Visions

HM Visions aims to provide you with all the latest accounting recruitment news, jobs and careers advice

There are always occasions where hiring in a hurry cannot be avoided. A valued employee may resign due to an unexpected personal issue, or perhaps they have been given an opportunity out of the blue. When presented with short lead times, the first reaction is often panic. Who will carry out the work? How are you going to ensure there is an adequate handover? How will you find high quality financial talent in the current market?

Not only is the pressure on to hire unexpectedly, but because the process may be rushed, the results can be less positive for your team and overall business. However, there are options available whether you are currently in this situation, or if you want to plan for such an occurrence in the future.

Understand your options

Firstly, sit back and take a breath to consider what this really means to your organisation. Start with identifying what internal resources are available. Do you have an existing employee who is already a suitably experienced candidate? Is there someone who you believe may have the potential to learn the role? An existing employee’s familiarity with the company and its processes should not be underestimated. This could be a welcome challenge for their personal development plan and career aspirations. It is also worth reaching out to other areas of your organisation, there may be an excellent candidate who would make the internal transfer with ease.

One smart move to make if you do find yourself with an unexpected gap, is to use it as an opportunity to review the role itself. Can the duties of this role be split amongst a few different employees?

If you have exhausted these options and still require a suitable replacement, the next step is to gain an understanding of the current market by getting in touch with your specialist recruitment consultants. Halliday Marx will have an up to date view of the financial recruitment landscape, and can advise you of market rates for the skills you require, along with details of any suitable candidates who are available.

Interim replacements

We appreciate that you need the quickest solution available. However, most financial talent in London will need to provide one to three months’ notice. If you then add interviews and background checks etc, your timeframe will significantly expand before the ideal candidate joins your company. Many organisations just cannot support a lengthy wait, and we would strongly advise you consider an interim replacement to remove any immediate pressure and ensure things run smoothly.

John Marx, Director, Halliday Marx added, “An interim candidate will buy you valuable time, allowing you to find the right long-term hire. We have an impressive and highly experienced pool of accounting and finance interim candidates, and they often become our client’s perfect permanent candidate!”.

Handover takes priority

Where possible, ask your soon to be ex-employee to start working on a detailed, documented handover. This should take precedence over regular duties, as after they have left the business, it is significantly harder to get the information you need.

Don’t settle

When time is against you, it’s tempting to settle for second best and bypass elements of your regular recruitment process, or even progress with someone that you wouldn’t normally consider. However, this will only present problems later down the line and it is critical to avoid these scenarios at all costs. Be certain the candidate is appropriately qualified, well versed in the role, and that you have confidence in their skills through sound references.

Be proactive

If you’re lucky enough to be reading this before you have an unexpected resignation, you have a great opportunity to plan for such an occurrence and thereby reduce the stress when it inevitably does happen.

Best practice is to have a succession plan in place for each role within your accounting team. The simplest way to do this is to have junior team members occasionally shadow their seniors or even to step in as cover during holidays or sick leave. This isn’t always possible for every role, but having people trained to work in several areas of the business is the next best solution.

Lastly, one of the best ways to mitigate potential surprise scenarios like an unexpected resignation is to focus on fostering open relationships with your team. Make sure you have a process in place for reviewing employee career aspirations, and encourage regular project/work assignment updates. Fostering a culture of open communication means employees are more likely to approach you early on with their concerns or ambitions, allowing you the opportunity to address these or worst case, more time to plan for their eventual departure.


If you find yourself in need of financial talent in a hurry and would like to discuss your options, call us on 020 7096 8200, or write to us at [email protected]

For the latest recruitment information, financial opportunities, career advice and company updates, follow us on LinkedIn and twitter @HallidayMarx

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