How to be the one in twenty one: top tips for securing a role

Latest Robert Half research finds firms will review an average of 21 candidate CVs before extending an offer when relying on a scattergun approach to recruitment.

  • On average firms review 21 curriculum vitaes (CVs) before extending a job offer for an accounting and finance role
  • One in 20 companies (6%) review 100 candidate CVs on average before making a job offer
  • Ten times more finance professionals check candidates’ skills and experience before looking at qualifications and education when reviewing CVs   
  • Moving between multiple roles is a potential red flag for hiring managers

London, 16 February 2016: New research reveals many companies are still relying on a scattergun approach to recruitment, reviewing the credentials of multiple candidates rather than using recruitment agencies for pre-qualification to speed the process. On average companies review 21 candidate CVs before extending an offer for an accounting and finance role, according to new research of CFOs and FDs by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half UK. 

One in 20 firms will review on average 100 CVs before making a job offer. The research highlights the importance many employers still place on traditional CVs and why candidates need to seek advice from recruitment companies on how to sell themselves on paper to stand out in the face of fierce competition.  

Ten times more finance professionals look at candidates’ skills and experience before reviewing their qualifications and education listed on CVs. Candidates should therefore focus on showcasing their expertise if they wish to stand out, as just 4% of those reviewing candidate CVs would look at qualifications first. 

The average length of stay at each previous employer can have a significant impact on employability, as 25% of CFOs recruiting accounting and finance professionals look at this first on a CV. Lots of short stays at multiple companies may be seen as a red flag for hiring managers.  The most recent role and job title is the first thing checked by 19% of CFOs. This highlights the fact that job titles remain incredibly relevant and that it is not just a candidate’s salary that determines their perceived standing in the job market.

What CFOs notice first on your CV:

1. Skills and experience (40%)
2. Average tenure in each previous role (35%)
3. Most recent role and/or title (19%)
4= Previous companies and/or industries (4%)
4= Qualifications and education (4%)

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: ‘Businesses are actively looking to hire professionals who have the skills and experience to hit the ground running and add value from day one. In this current skills economy, it is crucial that professionals highlight the relevant expertise and experience they can bring to a role. By doing so, they will be in the best position to gain the attention of the hiring manager and receive an invitation for an interview.

‘Businesses who actively engage a specialist recruitment agency are able to make use of their expansive pool of talented and skilled candidates to narrow down their shortlist early on.’

- ENDS -

Notes to Editor

1 The annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior finance executives from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and