A tip when hiring a bookkeeper

I’m recruiting a bookkeeper for one of my clients, and there’s a screening tip that I want to share.  Before I mention it, I should give some background.

Many years ago I used to spend hours interviewing bookkeepers for my own company, only to find that there was a huge gap between what they said they could do and their actual ability.  That changed once I created my Diabolical QuickBooks Assessment©.  Now I just bring people in, put them in front of a computer, hand them a list of things to do in QuickBooks, and within 45 minutes of their time (not mine, since I’m able to work on other things), I know what their skills are.

But how can we filter out the riff-raff from the start?  Obviously I need to whittle down the resumes to qualified candidates so that I don’t have 80 people coming in.

This is where filtering helps, and it’s really quite easy.  It’s been a while since I started doing this too, but I suspect that I got it thanks to a combination of Mel Kleiman’s book Hire Tough Manage Easy with a nod to Van Halen’s brown M&Ms (which you can read about here… and now you know why I chose that header image!).

Here’s the deal: bookkeepers must pay attention to detail.  So I throw into the job ad requirements that tell me whether or not they’re paying attention to detail.  In this client’s case, I require that applicants submit their resume and three professional references.  These are standard application requests to begin with, but it’s mind blowing (at least to me) that so many applicants don’t pay attention and fail to provide one or both.   It makes the selection process easier because they failed to pay attention to detail, and therefore eliminated themselves from the next round in the process.

So the next time you’re looking for a bookkeeper, throw in some requirements that indicate applicants’ ability to pay attention to detail, and you’ll make the recruiting process easier and end up with a better bookkeeper as a result.

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