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Replacing long-term, experienced employees in the finance department can be difficult. It’s especially so in organisations with a small team, such as charities.

And, if multiple seasoned employees leave within a short time of each other, it can leave a big hole in the knowledge and capabilities of the team.

This was the situation one of our smaller charity clients found themselves in recently.

The following case study provides some insight into how we helped them overcome challenges with their finance recruitment efforts.

Recommended by our charity network

We’ve been recruiting finance professionals into the non-profit sector for many years, and have built a strong network of high calibre contacts across the spectrum of accounting and finance positions.

A Finance Director we’ve previously worked with, who is a Trustee at this charity, recommended Boston Hale as having a good network and a successful track record within charity recruitment.

After a positive meeting, we were appointed to help recruit for a Head of Finance role.

The initial hire - a challenging brief

The client is a charity which champions diversity by advocating for flexible working, recognising the value to the workforce of retaining people who may be parents or carers by offering part-time, remote and flexible working arrangements.

This principle is embedded in their own hiring strategy; the previous incumbents were part-time and 100% remote.

Both had been with the charity for many years, were incredibly knowledgeable and key to the smooth running of the department.

The brief was therefore to minimize the impact of the loss of knowledge by bringing in someone with a similar level of seniority and experience. With remote working arrangements, the roles also had a high degree of independence and trust; the successful hire would need to be able to get on with tasks and make decisions with confidence.

In line with the charity’s mission, the post was advertised as part-time and completely remote, opening it up to under-represented segments of the talent pool on the one hand, but limiting its appeal to candidates looking for full-time hours on the other.

Our solution

Working with the client, we decided on a ‘try before you buy’ strategy – hiring an interim with the potential to convert to a permanent hire. The Head of Finance post would be a critical hire – more so given the importance of the role and small size of the team.

It was also essential that the sourcing strategy, interview process and timescales were fully inclusive for parents, carers and other possible segments of the talent pool who may appreciate remote and part-time working, such as candidates with a disability.

Boston Hale emphasized the employer brand of the charity, its values and commitment to diversity as part of our candidate attraction activity. Indeed, when hiring for charities, we look for candidates who share the same values and have a passion of affinity with the work that the charity does. In most cases, finding people who believe in and share the ‘cause’ is a major factor in their success at interview, and once in post.

The initial hire - results

Our Finance recruitment team combined speaking to contacts in our network with external market advertising and searching to ensure we covered passive and active candidates.

We sought out contacts within our network who we knew were pursuing part-time, family friendly opportunities and those who had taken parental leave in the recent past.

One candidate we spoke to was a senior finance professional who, after a five year break for childcare reasons, was seeking a new, part-time opportunity. Having previously worked in high-pressure leadership roles, she was keen to reduce both stress and working hours. And, remote working was appealing as it would allow flexibility around her family.

She impressed during the interview process and was offered the role.

A second hire

One factor affecting charities, particularly small ones, is constraints on budgets. The cost-of-living crisis has had an impact on the charity sector, and they are under more pressure than ever to squeeze as much value out of every pound.

The charity had been looking at hiring a second person for the team, without using recruitment agency support, in order to keep costs down. However, two months of activity had resulted in offers being made and rejected, poor references and a lack of additional suitable candidates.

At the same time, the Head of Finance had performed well as an interim. She was offered, and accepted, a permanent position. She recognized the value in working with a specialist recruitment agency and brought in Boston Hale to assist.

After taking the brief, it was a smooth process for us to find and secure a candidate with the right skills who shared an affinity with the charity's work.

Head of Finance - Testimonial

The Head of Finance had this to say about the service she received, both as a candidate and a client:

Catherine at Boston Hale has been brilliant at helping me apply for jobs after a career break, both in providing interview support and up to date CV advice.
After securing my role, I needed to recruit. I spoke to Catherine who provided me with high quality candidates in a quick time frame.
She is always transparent and able to advise on the best way forward. I would always speak to her first if I was looking for work or recruiting.

Let’s talk

Are you keen to find out how to implement inclusive hiring practices within your charity or non-profit organisation?

Do you need to find accountancy and finance professionals with sector specific experience?

Or, are you looking for your next finance role with a non-profit organisation?

Contact Catherine for advice on all things related to finance talent in the charity or wider non-profit sector.

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