Many of my clients have recently observed a marked increase in the amount of inaccuracy and unethical practices in the use of online job boards in the current payroll job market.
This is enormously frustrating for genuine employers and job seekers. Unfortunately, these practices have caused the large, generalist recruitment firms to lose credibility in recent times, with one general manager of such a firm telling me his business was all about ‘fastest finger first’.
Payroll is such a specific set of skills, and underestimated by many. Getting the wrong people in your payroll team can be a disaster, so here are some things to look out for when recruiting or applying for payroll roles.
Things to look out for:
Some organisations are running online ads for roles which don’t actually exist. Unethical individuals or organisations unfortunately do this as a perceived way to “build a candidate database” (which is then often completely mismanaged) or to create an impression they have a presence in a particular market. Both situations are obviously highly unethical and completely detrimental to anyone that pursues the ad as a genuine opportunity.
Tip #1: Be wary of anyone who is reluctant or unable to give you full details of any advertised vacancy. Wherever possible, always speak directly to a contact person and insist on them producing a detailed job spec from the employer. If they are unable to do this, I would begin to question whether they are actually authorised to recruit the role by the employer. If the initial response is via email only, request a call back or a copy of the details BEFORE forwarding your resume details.
In online advertising land there are now literally hundreds of sites where roles can be advertised. A number of these sites re-post ads for a prolonged period of time even after the role has been filled or is no longer available. This is generally a result of bad system administration but can also be extremely frustrating for people applying to the positions.
Tip #2: Keep a close track of any roles that you have applied for, including the specific date and full details of the role that has been applied for. It is not uncommon for the same role to reappear under a different job title and/or advertiser at a much later date.
Beware of large organisations that recruit everything from the mailman to the CEO and be mindful of the old adage “jack of all trades – master of none”. As an experienced payroll professional you can demand that the people assisting you with your career choices also fully understand the intricacies of the payroll sector and the specific features of the roles you are pursuing. In today’s job market the days of the generalist are numbered and there is an increasing move towards the additional value that “subject matter experts” bring to all areas of the market.
Tip #3: Engage with people that have a proven knowledge of the payroll sector and are well networked within that sector. Try to deal with people who genuinely have your payroll career aspirations at heart and are qualified to give you credible advice.