PracticeAccounting FirmsView from the board: end of the line

View from the board: end of the line

No matter how bullish I am about the recruitment market for finance chiefs (and for the record, I am still confident that it will be a better market than in most other functions) some people will find themselves on the wrong end of a conversation about redundancy or their business will go into administration

Now ignoring the frustration, the loss of pride, the financial and personal
issues – how much of an impact is this going to have on you professionally?
Well, the answer is, hopefully, very little.

The redundancy process will be painful and it is likely it will create a fear
that it marks you out as a worse candidate. It is essential to remember that the
rest of the market – and most importantly your future employers – will not take
that view. Pre-2000 I would have had a different attitude but one of the few
good things that came out of the collapse of the dotcom bubble was a radical
reappraisal of the impact of redundancy on your CV.

Prior to that period, having a gap on your CV was frowned upon. It raised
questions and no CV should ever raise questions! However, it was a period when
almost everyone in the market knew someone who was out of work for a period. And
we all knew that they were good, capable, credible individuals, which forced
employers to ask themselves if they were wrong. Were those friends of theirs
suddenly less credible candidates or did a gap on the CV mean nothing at all.
Luckily the market answered correctly and gaps on CV’s became an irrelevance –
much to the joy of those who could take the summer off and stop worrying.

Don’t worry if it takes you a while to find your next role – assuming
finances are not an issue. I have never believed you should turn down the first
job you get – a good job is a good job if you see it first, second or a
hundredth. But, if you find yourself taking a role because you think you have
been out of work for too long then stop and reconsider. A gap on the CV is not
an issue – a former FTSE 100 FD was out of work for almost two years, and turned
down another FTSE 100 FD role before securing the job they wanted.

Don’t panic. I can honestly say that I have never thought worse of a
candidate because they have not worked for a period of time or because they were
not working when I met them (unless they were fired for fraud). Indeed, there
are huge positives about this sometimes – start dates, interview availability,
etc. You were a good candidate before and you are a good candidate now and don’t
let anyone tell you otherwise.

Mark Freebairn is a partner at Odgers Ray &
Berndtson

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