• 27 March 2020
  • Accountancy

Our recruitment tips for a tough time

With the dreaded COVID-19 now in full-swing (though not yet peaking, alarmingly) - for reasons of uncertainty and logistics, the job market has understandably eased.

However, there are companies and industries that still remain active with their recruitment campaigns and, even those that aren’t, will be recruiting at some stage. So, it’s certainly not a time for candidates to “take their foot off the gas” - in fact, conversely, it can be an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. 

Here are our top tips for enhancing your job search and giving you the edge during this period.

Be open minded 

If you’re working alongside a recruiter, you should be working in a partnership with them. And, if this is the case, they’ll be able to run jobs past you that fit your requirements. However, try not to judge a job based on the advert or title alone - feel free to pick up the phone and discuss your concerns about a given opportunity, before completely dismissing it on the grounds of its wording. 

Your recruiter will hopefully have met with the client, or (given the current climate) at least had a detailed phone discussion with them, so they’ll be able to bring the job description “to life” and give you context to the role.  

However, do remain true to your likes and dislikes. If certain duties within a role don’t excite or interest you, then don’t be afraid to say so. This should help your recruiter fine-tune their searches for you. 

Be responsive 

Again, this almost goes without saying, but is always worth bearing in mind. Speed is often an indicator of interest level. In the simplest terms, the quicker you respond to a recruiter (internal or agency), the faster they can act on your behalf. 

If you’re serious about your job search, try to act quickly - whether this be adjusting a CV, providing references, liaising on your interview availability, or even signing and returning an employment contract. 

Life can be busy at times, but try to make time in the day to return any calls and keep all parties updated. 

Be receptive 

In an ever changing recruitment world (particularly now), the emphasis on technology is even greater. Given there’s an ongoing pandemic, face-to-face meetings with companies or recruiters are unfortunately just not sensible. 

With this in mind, be open to telephone and video conferencing calls/interviews. Treat these as you would a normal interview - practice using the software and ensure you’re aware of how this all works well in advance of any interviews. Like anything, the more of these you participate in, the more comfortable you’ll become. 

Be productive 

Make sure you know your own CV inside out. With any spare time on your hands, either because you’re not working, or simply because you’re working-from-home and saving time on your daily commute, use this time to improve your CV. Ensure that you include key details of companies you’ve worked for; turnover (if you can), industry, team size - but, most importantly, any key achievements within your jobs. 

Even if you worked within a short-term temporary assignment, always try to outline and  evidence the positive impact you had.

Be reflective 

Again, use any additional time to try to think further about your current job, your next role and what you’d like this to be. Obviously salary isn’t everything, but know what you’d be prepared to accept. Reflecting upon the below will ensure that you can clearly articulate what’s important to you, while also enabling you to make the right decision if and when needed. 

  • Why am I dissatisfied with my job? 
  • What do I like about my current job and what don’t I like about it - ie. what would I want to be “rid of”? 
  • Why was I not successful or why was I not interested? 
  • What aspects of my job search can I negotiate on and what do I absolutely need?
  • If I’m presented with a role that contains my “necessities”, am I ready and in a position to accept it? 

Be positive 

Admittedly, this one is easier said than done and though, for the short-term at least, the market is unlikely to be quite as buoyant as it was, it’s important to remain upbeat and optimistic. Positions and recruitment will continue to come through - it’s a case of being patient and, when the ideal opportunity does arise, making the most of your application. 


Callum represents financial professionals of all levels, from AAT Trainee right the way through to CIMA, ACCA & ACA qualified level. If you’re seeking a new role, or would even just like some advice on the accountancy job market, please feel free to contact him at callum@harveyjohn.com 

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