Unicorn Hunting – the Quest for the Perfect Candidate.

Ripesh Damania September 13, 20176 mins read

How do we navigate whirling Charybdis and treacherous Scylla to help companies find their dream candidate?

It’s no secret that recruiters are the middle man between two sets of wishlists: Those of the candidates seeking new jobs, and those of the client seeking new employees. It’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it, and occasionally we get feedback about being total wizards, or that we must be psychic for hitting the nail on the head, or our ability to pick the right candidate is nothing short of magic. (I’m done tooting our horn at Morgan McKinley now, promise.)

More so in today’s buoyant job market than ever before are we seeing an increased steadfast demand from both candidates and clients that refuse to back down about their ‘must have’ list of requirements for the next opportunity or hire. With candidates it can often be easier for us to assist you in looking at the wider picture and how you can flex and adapt to the market’s movements. Especially as a lot of the time we see people, particularly in the contracting space, coming from overseas on working holiday visas, or returning from travelling, and having potentially miscommunicated or mislead ideas about the Sydney Finance market at current.

So with the ever increasing demand for ERP systems knowledge, advanced Excel skills, financial modelling, business partnering, senior stakeholder engagements, non-finance internal customer experience, and more – how can candidates keep up? What can clients do about it? How can agencies help as the middle man?

Clients – how can you snatch up your magical perfect employee?

At the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold – Be prepared to pay for the right skills. If you want all the colours of the rainbow, you’re probably going to have to be prepared to be flexible on salary or other benefits to get the perfect fit. As we see an increase in demand for great talent, counter-offers are becoming more prominent and competitive.

You must be patient to catch a mythical beast – How urgent is your need? When you asked for a shortlist by close of business the next day, are you actually going to spend the entire evening the next night going through candidates who have two or three of ten skills you’ve asked for? Or would you be able to wait another 48hrs and allow your recruitment partner to hone down and spend more dedicated time finding better matches for your role?

Dragons are attracted to gold – You may want a candidate that has it all – but do you have all you can offer to a candidate of the calibre you seek? Not only is salary important, but you have to look at the other factors; employee benefits, healthcare, flexible working, free gym memberships, convenient locations, good reputation, potential for growth. You need to know what you can offer your perfect candidate in return.

And finally:

Unicorns don’t exist – It’s a harsh truth but one that often gets forgotten. Great candidates, outstanding ones even, exist and possibly do want to work for you, but they’re not perfect, they have development areas and requests of their own. Try not to get caught up chasing the impossible and look at someone’s potential as well as the here and now.

Candidates – how can you help yourself land that magical perfect role?

The unicorn is a proud beast – Learn how to talk about your strengths. The best candidate on the market can have all the necessary skills for a role but won’t get the job if they don’t know how to talk about them! If you can’t proudly list three or four key achievements in your career to date with tangible results, then you need to take a look at your experience. It’s either because you’ve not done anything worth being proud of, or more likely, the achievements are there – you just haven’t drilled in how to best discuss them.

If you need help talking through your achievements or working out how to answer behavioural interview questions – ask your Morgan McKinley representative about our interview preparation training and the STAR technique.

Unicorns have a wealth of magical powers – Up skill. Up skill. Up skill. Finance is one of the most competitive areas in the Sydney job market – if you want the best roles out there, you need to be prepared to put the work in to be the best for it. Ensure your CA, CIMA or CPA membership is up to date and take advantage of the additional courses on offer. Speak to your colleagues, your manager, your recruiter, and find out what skills are currently in demand – then go out and get them.

Find out more on the CPA website here: https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/employers/upskill-your-team or look at https://www.charteredaccountantsanz.com/learning-and-events 

Unicorns have been sighted all over the world – Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Travelling, work holiday visas, contracting and moving industry all allow you to open yourself up to a wider variety of experience, exposure to different practices and expand your skill sets. Longevity in a role is still important, but taking a trip abroad to work in the US, UK or Ireland, or taking longer term contracts to build your skill sets, are only going to benefit you when you go for more diverse roles.

If you are interested in travelling with your Accounting qualifications to the UK or Ireland, or across the APAC region, we can offer advice for how to best prepare yourself. And if you feel you wish to broaden your horizons across contract roles, you can get in touch with Lenka or Oliver Wilson on the Finance Contracting team to help you with your next opportunity.

So it really is a case of each party having some give and take. As experienced magical beast hunters, recruiters are here to guide both sides down the treacherous paths and processes to ensure that everyone has happily ever afters. If you think that you need some help along that recruitment process, either in finding your next role, or recruiting the perfect fit for your team, get in touch today on 02 8986 3100.

Finally; Morgan McKinley hosts quarterly Contract Collectives for our temporary and contracting candidates, where we regularly take on feedback to host events that are relevant and add value to our candidates careers – we are currently taking suggestions for the topic of our next one, and if you are a contracting candidate keen to attend interesting events that help you push your career to the next level – get in touch with your ideas to lchadaj@morganmckinley.com.au


Ripesh Damania's picture
Director | Technology & Analytics


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