When public accounting firms are hiring, there are two parts of the process that are particularly key to making sure that you not only choose the best candidate but also that you know as much about them as you can.
1. Quality interview technique and
2. Use of testing and assessment.
Together they provide the platform for ensuring your firm has the best chance of a successful hiring experience.
Uncover the secrets of success with science-based personality assessments
To be counted as scientifically valid personality assessments need to be based on the Big 5 Personality traits as discussed in many publications like Scientific American. Other tests, such as Myers Briggs have little or no basis for the conclusions they reach, though can be fun for team building exercises. Lack of understanding of which tests can be relied upon, and which can’t, has perhaps discouraged firms from using personality profiles in the past. But now assessments using Big 5 traits have been adapted specifically for the accounting profession.
Accountests, which specializes in skills and personality testing just for public accounting firms, has developed the world's only personality profile specifically designed for accountants and bookkeepers. Called Accountants Personality Profile Questionnaire (APPQ), this test was normed with 317 CPA-level accountants to focus on traits critical for public accounting firms. professionals. It was developed following an ACCA study that identified seven key attributes necessary for success in modern accounting professionals.
Core traits essential for accountants and bookkeepers
The APPQ is based on core traits that are essential for any accountant or bookkeeper: Accounting Ethics, Relationships, Problem-Solving, Decision Making, Handling Change & Stress Tolerance. Employers can gain a better understanding of candidates' strengths and weaknesses and make informed hiring decisions.
"We've seen firsthand how valuable this type of assessment can be," said Steve Evans, Co-Founder of Accountests. "By utilizing our unique assessment tool, employers can quickly identify which candidates have what it takes to succeed."
In addition to helping employers identify top-tier candidates, the APPQ also provides guidance on how best to develop existing team members. Firms can use the data from the questionnaire to tailor training programs and mentorship opportunities that will help their staff reach their full potential.
Louis De Bievre at 100% online firm Beany.com said
“We can see where we're strong and also what we need to look for in recruitment to fill in some gaps in the team profile. It also works well for the team to see everyone's natural style and strengths - we can adapt to that. Traditionally we would hire accountants based on their tested technical competence without considering how they would fit into a team based on their personal profile. The APPQ system helps us hire new people in a way that balances our team.”
Three important candidate identifiers
One issue specific to accounting firms that APPQ can help address is identifying those candidates more suited to crunching the numbers (we call them ‘grinders’), compared to those who can lead teams and liaise well with clients (‘minders’) and those better suited to bring on new work and manage clients at a relationship level (‘finders’). Knowing if a candidate is a Finder, Minder, or Grinder can help decide if the role they’ve applied for suits their working style and how easy it might be to move them up in the organization.
Personality profiles are also valuable to existing staff
Using personality profiles for existing staff is just as valid as for new hires, though it’s sensible to consider what outcome you’re looking for. It can be especially useful for those team members firms are looking to fast track towards ownership, as the assessment can highlight areas where a personal development plan might help to develop skills in time for when they are needed. Better to be proactive than deny or defer an ownership opportunity later because of an issue that could have been worked on. Obvious examples would be around relationship building, which more technically focused accountants often struggle with. Still, the opposite is also true, that more extrovert accountants can find managing multiple competing tasks very challenging.
Use good personality tests to help your firm hire fast – with confidence.
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