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Should You Compromise When You Are Recruiting For Tax Staff?

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Should You Compromise When You Are Recruiting For Tax Staff?

The tax recruitment market is heating up and there is now a greater demand (not to mention competition) for high quality tax staff. This provides a challenge for any employer who has plans to expand their tax team or replace existing staff in 2015. Does this mean you should drop your standards or compromise on the quality of your future employee?


What makes a great employee? Is it years of experience, supported by a great qualification in their area of work and of course, a personality that sparkles and someone who everyone gets on with? They sound like the perfect employee, but do they really exist and should you, as an employer, be waiting for that person to come along, when someone who is “nearly right” is waiting in the wings?


A study carried out by the University of Warwick has found that those people who have First Class degrees are twice as likely to get a job than those with lower class degrees. This is an indication that employers are focusing too heavily on the qualifications of their employees and are failing to place importance on the personality, attitude and experience of their candidates. It seems clear that looking for someone who fits a rigid criteria could be leaving someone who could fit a role perfectly without that job. In the long run this isn't sensible.


Your employee will come to you from a number of different backgrounds. They may be a new graduate with little experience, but who is extremely keen and has up to date knowledge of their field. It could be someone who has no tax qualifications, but they have experience doing the role you are wanting to fill and huge book full of contacts. It could be someone who is highly qualified and experienced, but they might be headhunted within a year and have no staying power.


As an employer, you need to decide the type of person you want, but you must do this with a clear understanding that there will be compromises to make. You may need to accept that your future employee is 70% there and that the next 30% will come from their time on the job. This is perfectly acceptable and can actually have some great advantages for you and your company.


  • You will have the opportunity to mould and nurture your employee in terms of specific training for their role and the ways of your business. They may be less fixed in the way they do things.
  • You may be able to pay this person a little less in the short term because they don't have the full specifications you asked for. For them it is a learning experience and they may accept a lower pay in return for training.
  • Someone with a recent qualification but no experience will be excited and hardworking and will have recent knowledge about new practises and legislation.
  • They may fill a short term need for your company – regardless of their personality or stability, they will be a great short to medium term asset.


So maybe, as an employer, it is actually worthwhile to take on a nurturing role with your employees and accept that they may not come to you fully formed – but that you could do some of that forming yourself. Perhaps someone with 70% of the attributes you are looking for may be a worthwhile investment for the future. This is not to suggest that you should compromise on the quality of the person, but simply have an open mind and a level of flexibility as to your requirements.


The key is to avoid basing your decisions solely on high grades, impressive degrees and previous leadership roles. Consider what else your potential employee may have achieved and accomplished. Look for someone who fits in with your company, who is clever enough to understand your processes and who has the initiative to take your company to new heights. That person will stay with you for the long haul – proving their worth in the long run. 

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