How to Approach Overqualified Accounting Candidates

Just like job seekers, hiring managers often worry that they won’t be able to attract the really great accounting candidates out there because they may be “overqualified” for the job. Accountants tend to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, when it comes to their skills, training, and credentials. Either they are in the first few years of their careers looking for an entry level assignment, or they are advanced accounting pros looking for a major step up in their career advancement.

Oftentimes, recruiters may even fear approaching a highly qualified accounting candidate for the following, and many more, reasons.

  • They think that the accounting professional will expect some unrealistically high salary and compensation.
  • They think that the candidate may jump ship for a much better assignment fairly soon in their employment.
  • They think that the highly qualified accounting candidate will become disillusioned or not be challenged enough.
  • They worry that the accounting professional will simply not be at all interested in their company or offering.

However, the truth is, there are ways to approach a so-called “overqualified” accounting candidate that will peak their interest and (hopefully) keep them on board for the long haul. Here are some suggested ways to attract and retain skilled accounting employees.

Give candidates a robust compensation package that offers alternative perks.

While you may be working with a slightly lower salary range than you would for a high level accounting assignment, you can include compensation that will be appealing. For example, you may have a modest salary, and standard health and retirement benefits, but you can also offer flexible work hours, company-paid transportation, and profit share earnings.

Offer a chance to learn or enhance their skills with educational support.  

Accounting is one of those industries where the top pros have to continually learn and keep their skills fresh. Take this into consideration and offer educational support as an added benefit. Provide on-line classes to help them maintain CPA continuing education credits, or send them on accounting conferences.

Honor the seniority level of accounting professionals from the start.

What some employers do wrong from the get-go with accounting professionals is forget to respect their current and future career positions. Find a way to improve your job offers with the opportunity to lead a team of junior accountants, or to head up an important project.

Hire for corporate culture fit and passion for the accounting industry.

A key to successful attainment and retention of top performance accountants is to carefully evaluate their suitability for the company’s unique culture. Do they fit in well with the average personality and do they have the passion for accounting that you truly need? Get these things out of the way early on when you approach a candidate like this.

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