Finding high-calibre finance talent in the current market is not easy. Singapore has an unemployment rate of under 2 per cent and with many companies driving their expansion strategies in the region (and as a regional hub), Singapore is short on talent supply.

While there are challenges in the global economy, this is not the case in Singapore as companies compete to secure the best talent while often fighting to retain their current staff.

However, many companies need to relook processes they have adopted to secure new talent. There are a number of reasons why clients are not able to secure the talent whom they want and here are the top three:

Lengthy recruitment process

Far too many companies adopt a recruitment process that does not come across as streamlined or slick. When a candidate has to go through eight to 10 rounds of interview for an accountant role requiring five years’ experience, it becomes tedious and time-consuming.

When a candidate starts an interview process and the process is stretched over a period of three to five months because of the interviewers’ travel schedule, it is inefficient. The impression is that there is a lack of urgency to fill a role that is not very important.

Companies have to consider the negative impact that a very long process, when there are too many stakeholders involved, can have on a candidate. Often, this can be perceived by the prospective employee as company’s inability to make decisions and may lead to concerns that this may extend to commercial decisions and a general culture of procrastination in the workplace. 

Employers need to communicate and be clear about what candidates should expect the process to look like and then stick to that. Obviously, the more senior the role, the more stages there are likely to be, but the process should be run efficiently and professionally based on what has been communicated.

If employers do this then they will stand a much better chance of securing the talent they want rather than losing them to a competitor.

Changing budget

There are situations where hiring managers have been given a salary budget for a position, only for it to be changed halfway through and, in some instances, ultimately reverting to the original budget. This reflects poorly on the organisation to those who have invested time in interviewing for the position and tarnishes the perception of the organisation as an employer of choice.

In a market where everyone is focused on cost, it has not been unusual for prospective employers to take candidates through a rigorous process and then at the very end offer a salary that is below what the candidate had communicated at the onset, hoping they can secure the candidate for the lower figure.

Making such changes leaves the candidate feeling as though the rug was pulled out from under him at the very last minute. He will not trust such an employer.

Poor branding

Many employers don’t sell their companies enough. While the candidate has a responsibility to sell his skills and competencies to get the job, the employer must also sell the company to the prospective candidates.

This is a fantastic opportunity for employers to tell their story, explain their vision, differentiate their business from their competition and outline the benefits of building a career in their company.

Organisations cannot afford to think that their brand will acquire them the best talent. In fact, in a recent survey, brand did not even feature in the top four reasons why candidates consider accepting a new position. The primary reasons were relationship with management and career opportunity and development.

The only way candidates will assess this is through the interview process. To put your company at the front of the pack, you need to have an efficient recruitment process which is communicated clearly to the candidates.

You must have a clear budget for the role and only interview those candidates who fit within that. You must sell your company and the career opportunities for those in the organisation.

This way you will reduce the chances of creating negative perceptions in the market and increase the chances of securing the candidates that you want in your business. The right people will enable you to grow your business faster and more sustainably and that is why the good ones are in such demand.

Article by Claire Chua, a manager with the Finance & Accounting Division, Ambition Group. For more information, visit