Earlier this week, the WhiteHat offices played host to what will be the first of many roundtables focused on tackling the issues facing hiring managers today. This first session saw us invite hiring managers from GP Bullhound, Manzanita Capital, Improbable and TritonExec to share their highs, pain points and insights around the Future of Finance. A lot of ground was covered, but we’ve condensed the key takeaways into easily digested tips, that we hope will inform your finance team hiring strategies.

Key Areas We Covered

Kicking off the round table

Which skills do brilliant early-stage finance hires share?

One of the points that came up time and again, was discretion, coupled with a thick skin. New talent coming into a finance team must be able to handle sensitive information — such as salaries of their peers and senior managers — without sharing it or taking it personally.

Commercial acumen and social skills are other important traits that the attendees found make for winning entry-level hires. As the role of Finance Business Partner becomes more widespread, the ability to communicate key issues and themes with different aspects of a business is increasingly crucial.

With the wide variety of accounting software that’s an offer, rather than looking for experience with a certain package, adaptability and a solid working knowledge of Excel will carry an entry-level hire through.

How can you attract fantastic entry-level talent into the finance function of your business?

In a sector where training contracts can last for 2+ years, it’s important that new hires can see a clear line of progression from the get-go. A small change, like listing the line manager’s title in the job description, gives entry-level hires an idea of where they might end up further down the line in their career.

Giving a holistic overview of your business when interviewing can also be a key attractor for an entry-level hire: More than any other generations, millennials and Gen Z place a huge emphasis on their experiences. Showcasing a positive company culture can be just as attractive to candidates as a higher salary, and makes it easier for them to visualise working with you.

How can you retain this talent once you’ve brought it on?

For a new hire without much previous experience, they’re hungry to learn and then apply their knowledge to create real business impact. Having visibility on this, and how their work affects the business they’re a part of, is a fantastic motivator, as it illustrates the importance of their role.

Providing entry-level hires with a mentor is another great way to improve retention. Doubling up as a teacher and pastoral support, a more senior employee can coach an entry-level hire through tougher times, encourage them to approach problems in an alternative way, or illustrate efficiencies that are normally developed through years of experience.

The first WhiteHat roundtable discussion

Interested in attending our next roundtable discussion? Get in touch! We’d love to see you there.