Another day, another request for me to to help find someone to fill a vacancy at a smaller firm. On this occasion it’s for a sole practitioner in the Berks/Oxfordshire area. I thought it might be helpful to list out some of the elements of my advice:

– Create a simple job spec that identifies what the new recruit will need to be able to do (ie: the must haves) and also what else he/she could do if they have the skill, experience and interest (the nice to haves); If you can, go further and determine what personal characteristics the candidate must have – but do think carefully about these. Do you need someone who has gained a specific professional qualification or is their practical experience of more value? Experience doing what exactly? The more precise you are the fewer unsuitable  people you will see and the less time you will waste interviewing them.

– Determine an appropriate salary range for the role. You may need to seek input from specialist recruiters to get this right. You will generally struggle to attract anyone if you haven’t decided what the pay range will be. Equally you will waste your time interviewing people who want more than you’re offering.

– Ask around your contacts, friends, family and anyone else if they are aware of anyone who might be suitable for the role. (Provide a copy of the job spec if asked);

– Remember that most suitable applicants will probably look at your website before deciding whether or not to attend an interview, so ensure that the vacancy is promoted on your website (if you have one); If you have other staff, you are in a good position to make your vacancy and firm more attractive than the alternatives. I’ve addressed this issue before in a couple of posts here about: Filling vacancies at professional firms

– Speak to the specialist recruiters for accountancy firms (or indeed the tax specialist recruiters if the role is a tax one); Seek their advice and input. They generally only charge a fee when they secure a placement. The more experienced recruiters will give you honest unbiased advice. It’s worth taking this on board rather than guessing at what is a reasonable salary for the role, even if ultimately you are able to fill the vacancy without the agent’s help.

Do readers have any other related tips to share?