5 reviews
16:04 13 Mar 23
Highly recommended! Josh and Sarah have been fantastic at Astute. They've found and placed me in 2 jobs now between them, both really responsive and excellent at keeping you up to speed with things. Very knowledgable about the roles and happy to talk to companies with any queries you have.
C R.C R.
10:45 27 Jan 23
Great agency one of the best ones I've worked with! Liz has been a great help and support in helping me towards a new direction in my career life. She is very attentive and keeps me in the loop at all times! She makes the extra effort to work with my preferred requirements for work and even if it isn't completely attainable she meets me in the middle and does as much as she can to help! Also Liz is very funny might I add 😂 and I'm happy that I can now put a face to the name after all these years! Thank you again Liz for all your help and support! 😊
10:32 20 Dec 22
Josh and the Astute team was very swift to help me to find roles that matched my profile. They are really reliable and will help through every step of the recruitment process going out of their way to assist and follow up when needed. Could not find a better recruitment agency!
Helen PinegarHelen Pinegar
16:19 18 Dec 22
Fantastic recruitment agency.. Josh was extremely enthusiastic, encouraging and clearly knowledgeable about what was needed from both the employee and the employers point of view. Extremely supportive especially in regards to interview preparation and endeavoured to procure feedback promptly. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Astute in the future to both candidates and recruiting businesses particularly for the right fit for the role!!!
Lisa LeighLisa Leigh
11:56 30 Nov 22
I have worked as a candidate for Astute and they have been excellent. Super friendly service and professional agents keen to fit the right person to the right job. It has been a pleasure dealing with them and I would happily work for them again in the future. Highly recommend this agency.
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Suite 1, Ground Floor West,Cardinal Square,10 Nottingham Road,Derby. DE1 3QT
Stanford House,19 Castle Gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ

How many interviews is the right amount of interviews to get the best candidate











“In todays’ talent starved candidate pool, how many interviews is the right amount of interviews to get the best candidate?”



Born from a genuine conversation between a senior recruiter here at Astute Recruitment with a client for a Head of Finance role we are recruiting for: –


OUR CONSULTANT: “Great I’ll get the first interviews arranged, how many interviews did you want to have in your process?



THE CLIENT: “5, is that normal?”



OUR CONSULTANT: “Typically a 2-interview stage process is the norm. 3 stages are acceptable for a CFO/ FD role, but 4 interviews is getting silly, let alone 5! The candidates won’t be available for a 5-stage process, they are already interviewing for other roles which are 2 stop processes, and they will get snapped up.”


THE CLIENT: “Oh, I see, yes I’ll speak to the Directors, and we can streamline the process to 3 as we are pretty confident with the shortlist you have provided! Thank you for the advice!”


So, we wanted to raise this question.


“In todays’ talent starved candidate pool, how many interviews is the right amount of interviews to get the best candidate?”



As a niche specialist in sourcing finance professionals, our team regularly give consultative advice around this and other recruitment issues. Why do we feel the two-interview process is best?


We give you example ‘A’.


A UK Group FD needs a senior financial reporting accountant for a permanent role. The client realises that the role profile is a difficult one – someone ACA or ACCA with original practice background who is looking for their second move from practice, already having a role in industry.

We shortlisted 2 great options and the client agrees that they would like to arrange interviews in short order. We have told them that both are in play for other roles.


The client’s process.


Initial interview consisting of a presentation around key objectives in the role and around what the candidate’s envisage their first 3 – 6 months looking like. What they plan to bring in and how they would deliver specific projects etc. The second part of the first interview will be to discuss these with the FD.


The second interview? Aiming to drill into more depth about the candidate’s vision, aspirations and attributes relevant to the role and business they are interviewing for. There would be 2+ representatives from our client and a good opportunity for open, two-way questions from the candidates and the client.


Then a decision would be made, with an initial verbal offer and a ‘meet the team’ opportunity.


Example ‘B’.


A global corporate and valued client has been looking for a qualified accountant to work in their Global Head Office. Specific criteria mean that FBP and analysis skills are essential requirements.


The client’s interview process?



After shortlisting just two exceptional applicants, a first interview was conducted with the overall line manager for the team. This detailed interview enabled the manager to ask incisive questions around the candidate’s expectations, where they wanted their career to develop and why they would be great for this role.


The second interviews, which have just been concluded, consisted of online interviews with senior stakeholders the relevant candidates would be working with should they be successful! The client’s stakeholders were able to give a ‘warts and all’ appraisal of the role, the good, the bad and the ugly if you like!


The line manager specifically wanted this honesty in the process, and we entirely agree!


Then there would be a ‘de-brief’ with the feedback discussed internally and an offer of employment to one of the candidates within 24-36 hours. As the preferred recruitment partner for our client – we are completely aligned with their process, can ensure our candidates are aware of timelines and everyone’s expectations can be fully managed.



For lower level/ more junior roles across transactional finance, swift interview processes with agreed timelines are equally important to ensure that good candidates are not lost due to quicker recruitment processes elsewhere.


Key points to take away:


  • According to a survey 62% of finance professionals say they lose interest in a jobif they don’t hear back from the employer within two weeks – or 10 business days – after the initial interview. That number jumps to 77% if there is no status update within three weeks. Our qualified recruitment team totally agrees!


  • 26% of respondents to the survey said they would leave a negative comment anonymously on review sites if they felt like they were being strung along, potentially harming the chances for the company to attract top talent down the road.


  • If a company is indecisive, it can provide a candidate with crucial insight into the company’s culture. “If the decision-making process is this difficult for the organisation – if they’re not able to pull the trigger after three or four interviews and you’ve done everything asked of you and they’re still unsure – then that’s a key indicator of what it might be like to work for that organisation and those managers,”



An often missed point in a recruitment process is that the process itself is an opportunity for the employer brand to really shine!



Not just to the successful candidate but to all candidates who are part of the process.


A good, professional recruitment process can provide a glowing image of the business and the way they conduct themselves. This can mean increased perception in the market as an employer brand of choice and can create an appetite in potential hires that they want to work for such a great company that take their employee selection process seriously.


It can also create an appetite amongst key recruitment partners whether internal recruiters, external HR professionals or specialist recruitment agencies/ consultants that this is a great company to flag to talented new applicants/ candidates.


“So, be Astute and to recruit the best

 candidate for your opportunity. 

Make your recruitment process the

 best, smoothest and most efficient it can be.”



You could be attracting an A Player of the future, even a business referral!



Our Qualified Team are happy to give confidential advice if you are a client thinking about a potential recruitment process, or if

you have any other questions around recruitment.



Our Qualified Recruitment Team: –


Andy Lilliman – Recruitment Manager

Qualified Permanent – City of London & Greater London [email protected]


Richard Bowe

Interim Qualified – East Midlands [email protected]



Tom Norton

Qualified Permanent South Derbyshire, South Notts, Staffordshire [email protected]



Harry Langridge

North Derbyshire, North Notts

[email protected]



Matthew Morgan

Nottingham City Centre and Central Notts [email protected]


 This topic is discussed in more detail with some great comments from actual people – from recruiters to real candidates – discussing their experiences: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210727-the-rise-of-never-ending-job-interviews


Other articles by Mary on career tips, business strategy, tips to recruit the right person and more are below!


How to boost your employer brand and achieve success!






After 12 years in business, Astute Recruitment Ltd has become one of the premier accountancy recruitment businesses in the East Midlands. We’re also the only East Midlands recruitment expert to have secured over 15 business awards as finalists or winners. You can see some of the awards our team and Directors have received clicking on the following link  www.astuterecruitment.com/about-us/awards/


Business awards won by Astute Recruitment Ltd

 So, we were thrilled for the Derbyshire Life magazine to contact us and ask us if we would like to be included in their special 90th edition in their feature on award winning businesses in Derby!Award Winning Business Feature in Derbyshire Life including Astute Recruitment Ltd


Great for Astute Recruitment Ltd to be featured in this very special 90th edition of Derbyshire Life
Great for Astute Recruitment Ltd to be featured in this very special 90th edition of Derbyshire Life

Why have we strived to secure business awards?


Over to one of our MDs – Mary Maguire – who does all our award entries herself, and manages all Astute’s marketing and social media.


“The biggest hurdle setting up a business and brand is getting that brand and what it stands for ‘out there’. Being able to showcase multiple business awards is a brilliant way to show your target audience that you are a recognised expert in your field. It flags to potential clients that they can have total confidence in using your services.


 Winning business awards also builds trust for potential staff who may be researching local businesses to see whether they would like to work for that company too. So, from an Employer branding point of view, success in winning awards is key.


As most people recognise, there is a talent shortage of workers skilled in several business sectors currently, from finance and accountancy professionals to skilled IT software developers to drivers, healthcare specialists, hospitality workers and so many more.


So, What better way to help your business and team attract the very best staff than to demonstrate credibility from successful business awards! You could be flagging your company to potential clients, but also raising your company’s profile to potential staff of the future as a credible potential employer!”


For Astute Recruitment Ltd, this means that our current and potential clients can see that we’re a thoroughly professional business and are acknowledged experts in our field. Our awards have also been an additional attraction in our recruitment strategy to appeal to the very best potential recruitment staff wanting to develop their careers and also to experienced recruitment professionals seeking to utilise their knowledge and relationships in a really professional but friendly, fun environment! 


 Business awards are awarded by impartial business organisations. For different organisations, this means targeting specific awards relevant to your industry.



Sarah Stevenson, our MD of Astute Recruitment Ltd with Dominic Heale, after being presented with the IoD's prestigious Director of the Year Award - Small SME Business
Sarah Stevenson, our MD of Astute Recruitment Ltd with Dominic Heale, after being presented with the IoD’s prestigious Director of the Year Award – Small SME Business

 How to start winning awards for your business?


While Mary has been hugely successful in writing awards entries for Astute Recruitment Ltd over the years, this is not something that every business owner has the natural flair or time for.


Instead, there are ‘go to’ experts who will be able to understand your company, and successfully craft an award-winning application for you. One such expert in crafting winning words for an array of businesses is the Founder of Derby’s ‘Ask the Chameleon’ – Rachel Hayward.




Rachel herself has had a tremendous 12 months in winning several business awards including: Female Entrepreneur of the Year, by East Midlands Chamber of Commerce (EMCC) and Derbyshire Live Business Awards in the Professional Services category.


Rachel Hayward and some of her business awards in 2021
Business Owner Rachel Hayward and some of her business awards in 2021

We asked Rachel to sum up why Business Awards should be a critical part of every company’s marketing and branding strategy. Over to Rachel!


“Awards really do confirm your place in the marketplace. They help in the buying decision and are hugely motivational for your staff team as well as yourself.  Running a business is challenging and to be judged as excellent by your peers is extremely rewarding.


The key is often choosing the right category for you and your business.  Certain categories will be hugely competitive, so consider other areas in your business that you shine.  Maybe you have an excellent apprentice or can demonstrate consistently high levels of customer service?  Maybe you go the extra mile as an employer, or you are a third-generation family business?  With over 3,500 awards at any one time, there really is an award and category for everyone.     “



“My top tips are:

  1. Do your research, look at your competitors and peers, even those businesses/entrepreneurs who inspire you. What awards have they won?
  2. Do you fit the criteria, can you prove it (you will always need factual information to demonstrate success)
  3. Give yourself plenty of time to create those winning words.
  4. Don’t wait for a secret nominator – many award organisers fully expect you to write your own application.


Make 2022 your year to gain your first award success”


 We completely agree with Rachel! Its great to hear from Rachel being an award winning expert on winning business awards for her clients! Her insights and tips are really useful. You can contact Rachel at her business, Ask The Chameleon on her website askthechameleon.co.uk/about/


For our own team at Astute Recruitment Ltd, from the ICAEW’s award of Best East Midlands SME Business, to the IoD’s Small Business Director of the Year award, our awards have pride of place in our new office in Derby’s Cardinal Square and on our website! 


What our business awards mean to us at Astute!


Business awards reward exceptional business success, ultimately building trust to use your company. Awards inspire confidence to our clients, candidates and potential staff of the future, as we continue to grow, that Astute’s team are unrivalled leaders in financial recruitment.  


Sarah Stevenson and Mary Maguire receiving their award for Best East Midlands SME Business by the ICAEW for Astute Recruitment Ltd
Sarah Stevenson and Mary Maguire receiving their award for Best East Midlands SME Business by the ICAEW for Astute Recruitment Ltd















We want to bring our business to the attention of new audiences to truly stand out, and for us, securing business awards

really is the best way to cement our reputation as the ‘go to company’ in our sector, Financial Recruitment.


So, be ‘Astute’ and give your marketing strategy a ‘reboot’. 

Strive for awards to boost

your business to the next level!



Article by Mary Maguire, MD Astute Recruitment Ltd


Other articles by Mary on career tips, business strategy, tips to recruit the right person and more are below!

Do you know what time it is on your career clock?

How great things can happen when business people get together – a growth mindset really matters for business owners and hiring managers

From Abacus to AI – The history of ‘Accountancy’ and why its a great career choice!

How to manage a successful relationship with your recruitment consultant? Our ‘astute’ tips!

Why its OK to talk about mental health at work! New free initiative for East Midlands employers