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Hire Slow, Act Fast

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Written by Ed Chan

Wize Recruit Philosophy

The Wize Recruit philosophy is “hire slow, act fast” - but once the process starts, we act fast to secure the best candidates. Good candidates don’t last long, the market hires them fast, so we must screen fast before another firm hires them.

As a rule of thumb the best candidates show the following attributes during the hiring process:

  • Co-operative
  • Responds quickly
  • Complete all details of forms & questions
  • Technically skilled with technology
  • Shows attention to detail
  • Ask good questions
  • Shows they’re looking for a good employer
  • Organised

Every interaction with a candidate reveals their commitment and most importantly their attitude.

Attitude is the one thing you cannot change. Attitude is almost everything when building a team. Avoid the smartest people with the worst attitude!

When recruiting the right staff, I pay very little attention to degrees and certificates as I have seen candidates pass degrees and MBA and all the qualifications in the world but have no common sense and could not do the job. I also have people straight from school where I trained them up and they were brilliant. So qualifications simply get you to an interview.

I pay more attention to what they have done in the past and whether there was any trend line of increasing productivity such as promotions and given more responsibilities over time.

Especially when they have been in one place and they get promoted. Because leaving an employer and getting a better job elsewhere is not necessarily being done by merit but it could just be that they are able to look good at an interview, and trick the interviewer into believing they can do the job.

When a person gets promoted within the same job they go up the ladder through promotions which occur through achieving merit, producing results, and being good and therefore being recognized.

It’s all about Productivity.

For a Grinder

Attitude. Focus on attitude, because you can teach someone skills if they have the right attitude. For example, talking about what they can do for the business, not what the business can do for them. Can you get along with them? You don’t have to like the person and be best mates with them. Being able to do the job and get results takes priority over “liking” them.

Skills. Get them to do 3 tasks because candidates say they can do things and they make their resumes look wonderful but the only real way to know whether they can do the job is to get them to do 3 tasks.

Productivity. Some people can do the task, but they may take 3 hours when it should have taken 30 minutes. Their productivity is low which means they are very expensive. Time them when asking them to do tasks to see how long they take to complete it.

I have used all sorts of psychometric testing in the past and they were 50% accurate. Using the above is 80% accurate for a Grinder.

For a Minder

Attitude. Talking about what they can do for the business and not what the business can do for them…Can you get along with them? You don’t have to like them and be best mates. Being able to do the job and get results takes priority to “liking” them.

People skills. Focus on people skills and communication skills and persistence. The best way to test for this is whether they have managed other people before. Even ask some of the people they had managed in the past to see what kind of a manager they were.

They need to have excellent communication skills. Test both their written and spoken English. Ask them to explain technical questions in layman’s language so the clients can understand. Not everyone can use ordinary language when speaking to a client.

Productivity. Did their team achieve budgets and low turnover, or staff productivity went up under their management? Look for references that indicate this trend of increasing results or promotions.

For a manager role psychometric testing has a greater degree of success but using the above is 70% accurate for a Manager role because it’s simply about managing others to get things done versus getting things done themselves. 

Once you have your preferred candidate, you will know in the first 3 months if they are the right candidate because what they do in the first 3 months is what they will do for the next 30 years.

The first 3 months tell a lot, but you need to pay particular attention in this period. Often when one is unsure in that first 3 months and extends the probation into the next 3 months (6 months) it generally ends up confirming the first 3 months and it's best to fire fast and hire slowly in this case.

It’s better to leave a seat empty than a seat occupied by an incompetent staff.

Hiring isn’t an exact science, but we can minimise the risk by using a methodical process. Remember, your staff are your greatest asset but could also be your greatest challenge.

To meet the greatest challenge, it requires great leadership.

WizeRecruit is the ultimate online staff recruitment solution for Accountants & Bookkeepers. With our recruitment software, Accounting Practice owners can get access to tailored job advertisements and templates, automate application filtering, and interview ideal candidates. To learn more about WizeRecruit, visit:

About Ed Chan


Ed is the Non-Exec Chairman of Chan & Naylor, an Accounting Group he founded from a small home office and is now a National Financial Services Organisation with 10 offices in nearly every major Capital city around Australia that services more than 11,000 clients with 160 staff.

Ed also speaks at many Business Seminars around Australia in Best Practice Methodologies on how to build successful businesses. Chan & Naylor is the model firm studied by students when completing their MBA at the University of Queensland and for Accounting students passing their CPA exams.

Ed co-Founded Wize Mentoring with Jamie Johns and Brenton Ward in 2019. Wize Mentoring, an online portal for Accountants and Bookkeepers, aims to deliver the tools, strategies, and mentoring needed to build a business that can run without the owner.




About the Authors

Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.  

Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.

Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers. 

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