3 things employers watch out for when hiring trainee accountants

At Cruncher we could have made a pretty educated guess at the top 3 things employers look for when hiring trainee accountants.  Lucky for us  the Higher Education Authority  (well actually the AHEWCS..the career services part) did a lot of quantitative research just on this topic, so we can lean with confidence on their robust, statistical analysis on this one.

Key questions and answers, specifically relating to accounting graduates were as follows:

1) What do you view as being the most important criteria when shortlisting graduates?  “Overall academic results and proven employability skills have emerged as significant criteria in the shortlisting process. 71% of employers have identified them as most important. There is a strong onus on students then to achieve high grades and develop their employability skills throughout their time in college. Undertaking relevant work experience and extra curricular involvements will also be important with regard to developing employability skills.”

Cruncher summary:  How you decide who to interview? Good grades (college results trump leaving cert), some example of being able to hold down a job (proven “employability”) and involvement in clubs/societies/other activities are the key things employers look for on your CV.  Would make sense to make these things stand out right? (Cruncher have you covered on the CV front here).

2) Which employability skills do you view as most important when hiring graduates?  ” As expected, business/customer awareness and communication literacy are identified by the majority of respondents (71%) as particularly significant skills in the Accountancy & Professional Services sector.  Teamwork and problem solving also feature prominently and it is interesting to note that a “positive attitude” is viewed as equally important. Employers have indicated that they would like to see students focus more attention on communication & literacy skills, business & customer awareness, problem solving and self management.”

Cruncher summary: How do you decide who to hire? Being upbeat and positive it really really important – being able to work in a team, communicate and have some type of business savvy is pretty important too…but attitude – that’s 90% of the battle!

3) What advice did employers give to graduates to improve their employability?  The answer to this one was pretty long and text heavy so let’s jump straight to the…….

Cruncher Summary: What do I need to do? Become involved in clubs/socs, keep up to date with business news, get out there to employer events and get some practical experience through an internship if you can….basically get out there and get involved!

If you have time check out the full paper from the HEA see here  – you can flick straight to page 8 for the meaty bits.

A great, quantitative, look at what employers want these days.   Your team at Cruncher have a whole load of insights in the resources section to address some of the points raised above.

PS – The AHECS report we are referencing is the 2013 report.  We are eagerly awaiting a 2016 or 2017 update and will keep you posted on any new insights when it hits the press

Denise Lehane

Trained through PWC, Denise has significant recruitment experience in the graduate and accounting space working with Barden

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