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How To Hire The Right Payroll Manager

How To Hire The Right Payroll Manager

Source: IOMA's Payroll Manager's Report

What about a previous certification? the applicant had a payroll designation one time but allowed it to expire, then the payroll manager needs to question why. payroll certification is difficult to attain, and once a payroll professional has achieved the certification, there must be compelling reasons for not keeping it. Did the applicant’s previous employer not pay for the training needed to recertify? Did the workload on the previous job not allow for attendance to seminars or training sessions?

It is important to find out why the certification was allowed to expire. It could be an indication of the current status of the applicant’s payroll knowledge.

  • Question payroll education and training. How much formal education or training the applicant has attended is important information to have when hiring a payroll professional. While experience is important, attending seminars, webcasts, or othertraining classes on payroll-related topics is vital. If the applicant does not possess a certification, then evidence of attendance to these types of classes demonstrates receipt of formal knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the payroll profession. Although it does not demonstrate that an applicant can apply the knowledge, it does show they have attempted to gain it. Also ask about who presented the class and what topics were covered.

Again, if an applicant has a certification but is not attending seminars or lectures to maintain the certification once it expires, investigate why. Why would they not want to maintain the certification? Did the previous employer not pay for attendance? It should be determined if they are planning on retesting every five years to keep the certification or if they had only planned to have it for that one period. Not having this formal training doesn’t necessarily eliminate a potential candidate but it may mean that you, as a payroll manager, may have to provide that training at a later date.

  • Question system training. Knowledge of and experience with using a payroll system is a must if hiring an experienced payroll professional. All too often, payroll managers worry about system experience over payroll experience. It is much easier fora knowledgeable payroll professional to learn a new system than for someone who is technically capable of running a system to learn about payroll.

Many times you will see ads for payroll professionals that list “minimum two years’ experience with (insert payroll system here)” as the first item required. A payroll professional with limited experience with a certain system can be trained either through the system provider or by using other staff members as needed to bring him or her up to snuff on your system. In fact, since most payroll systems are now so customized and complex in terms of programming modified to each individual company, it would not be uncommon to find an applicant who has used your exact system but with totally different codes and modifications. * Question other skills, training, and experience. Many times when interviewing fora position in the payroll department, the concentration is on the payroll experience and knowledge at the expense of other skills, training, and experience – which are ignored or glossed over. To build or to maintain an efficient payroll department, many different types of skills are needed. The new employee may be able to bring a new skill to the office or enhance a skill that is deemed weak at this point. Some of these skills could include customer-service training or software expertise. Word processing and spreadsheet software are constantly utilized by the payroll department. Having a staff member who is formally trained in these areas can go a long way toward creating an efficient department.

By delving deep into an applicant’s payroll knowledge and experience, you will help ensure that you choose the right candidate, someone who will do well in your payroll department.

Copyright Institute of Management & Administration May 2009

© 2009 IOMA’s Payroll Manager’s Report. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.