How to Make Your Next Controller Hire

Get data-driven information to help guide you through the hiring process. Then, when you’re ready, post your job to SimplyHired and reach top candidates from all across the web.

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Last updated at 09-17-2020 21:40:58



More than 10,603 companies advertise 27,330 Controller jobs on SimplyHired and its partner sites each year. After analyzing job postings and salary information from these companies, as well as direct job seeker feedback, we’ve compiled a list of insights to show you how to attract and hire your next Controller most efficiently.

Hiring Process

In the past quarter, we’ve seen 7,101 job posts from 3,649 employers in the United States. This is a decrease of 7.8% compared to the previous quarter. On average, there are 80 Controller job seekers for every active Controller job, which shows that it is a job seeker's market.

Writing a Job Description

In the past quarter, Controller, Accounting Manager, Financial Controller, Senior Accountant, Accountant, Assistant Controller, Chief Financial Officer, Staff Accountant, Director Of Finance, and Corporate Controller seem to be the most sought after jobs amongst the Controller candidates in the United States. This differs from the last six quarters, where the most popular titles were: Controller, Accounting Manager, Financial Controller, Accountant, Senior Accountant, Chief Financial Officer, Assistant Controller, Bookkeeper, Director Of Finance, and Staff Accountant. If you use one of these currently popular titles in the job description, you'll likely be able to attract a lot more candidates to apply.

For the Controller candidates who are actively applying to jobs in this same period, we see that 4.6% of the active Controller candidates have less than 3 years of experience, 3.7% have between 3-5 years of experience, 10.5% have 6-10 years of experience, and 81.1% have over 10 years of experience. The average years of experience has shifted from an estimated 20.5 years to 20.4 years. If you're posting a job in today's market, expect candidates with about the same experience level to apply to your job compared to the last 2 quarters.

In the previous quarter, the most popular skills that employers are looking for include accounting, communication skills, Microsoft Excel, gaap, Microsoft Office, analysis skills, accounting software, manufacturing, leadership, and Quickbooks. Demand for English, writing skills, Sage, general ledger accounting, budgeting, Microsoft Access, presentation skills, ifrs, account analysis, and customer service has significantly increased. If you are looking for a Controller with a similar skill set, be sure to follow industry best practices in skill requirements.

Job posts with salary information received about 1.3 as many applies as those without it. In the past quarter, less than 25.7% of the job posts displayed salary information. By adding salary information to your job posting, you could potentially increase the number of applicants by approximately 30.0%.

Example Controller responsibilities

  • Analyzing financial information
  • Formulating accounting and financial policies
  • Preparing and communicating financial reports, such as budgets and statements, and performing additional accounting duties, such as audits
  • Ensuring that the company adheres to tax laws, federal regulations, and state or local laws
  • Placing orders for equipment or supplies and directing the processing of invoices


Active Recruiting

When reaching out to candidates, it’s best to understand where to look. We’ve identified hiring trends in states as well as companies regularly hiring for Controller positions. This should provide a good place to start looking for qualified candidates. According to our data in the last quarter: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania are the states that have the highest demand for Controllers. California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania are where most job seekers are searching for Controller jobs. If we look at the Controller to job ratio, Vermont, Minnesota, Utah, California, and Alaska have the lowest number of Controller applicants per job. Mississippi, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Idaho, and Louisiana have the most active Controller job seekers per job.

Passive Recruiting

While actively recruiting candidates for your role, you should also post your job to SimplyHired. By posting for free and paying only for the qualified applicants you want, your post will automatically go to a network of job boards to reach millions of qualified candidates. With SimplyHired, it doesn’t end with the post. You can track your applicants throughout the hiring process with our simple and easy to use Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Review Candidates

In the last quarter, we estimate there are 554,661 job seekers interested in Controller opportunities in the United States. That’s a 11.2% increase compared to the previous quarter with 508,314 active job seekers. Around 4.6% of the active Controller candidates have less than 3 years of experience, over 3.7% have between 3-5 years of experience, 10.5% have 6-10 years of experience, and 81.1% have over 10 years of experience. The average experience level of the available Controller candidates is 20.4 years. Active candidates in the Controller profession most commonly have bachelor's degrees, followed by master's degrees, high school diplomas, and associate's degrees. When setting education requirements for your position, aligning with the industry standard makes it easier to find potential candidates. Application rates indicate that Controller candidates are likely experiencing a market in which applicants have less negotiating power. From an employer perspective, you'll have a greater selection of candidates to choose from and may want to invest in automated screening tools.

Interviewing Candidates

Interview Process

*Self-reported data collected from 6,240 Controllers from 1/1/2020 to 6/30/2020, via online employer reviews for companies including U.S. Air Force, Woolworths Supermarket, Marriott International, Inc., Sasol, Woolworths South Africa, G4S, National Oilwell Varco, Tyson Foods Incorporated, ENVIRONMENT CONTROL, and Honda.

After analyzing post-interview data from Controller candidates in the last 6 months, we see more than 37.4% of the candidates self-reported being hired within 1 to 2 days. Around 79.4% of the candidates for this job reported being hired within 2 weeks. If your process takes longer than 2 weeks in the recent market, you'll likely lose these candidates to other employers. Most of the Controller candidates are expecting a on-site interview, phone call/screening, background check, and group interview. Most employers do not require a problem solving exercises, drug test, or presentation. If you are trying to hire your next Controller quickly, consider simplifying and streamlining the hiring process. As for the interview experience, more than 64.8% of the candidates had a good or great interview experience, and more than 34% of the candidates thought that the interview leaned more towards easy.

Example Interview Questions

  • Why do you want to work for [company]?
  • What are your long-term and short-term career goals?
  • How do you keep up with your industry?
  • Can you describe aspects of a financial report and analyzing financial data?
  • How do you set priorities and make decisions on a daily basis?

Final Review and Offer

Reference Check

Checking references is a quick and easy way to check for any red flags that didn’t arise to this point in the hiring process. Great insights can be provided by former colleagues and employers.

Crafting an Offer: Salary and Benefits

The average Controller salary offered by employers increased for 4 out of 6 consecutive quarters in the United States. In the last quarter, we see a decrease of 2% from $97,994.85 to $96,042.12 compared to the quarter before, which is the biggest decrease in the past 6 quarters. For Controller positions, the most common benefits job seekers reported being offered by employers include: healthcare insurance by 48.7%, paid time off by 41.7%, dental insurance by 39.0%, vision insurance by 34.8%, a 401k plan by 32.1%, discounts by 8.0%, and stock options/grants by 3.7%. While still relatively rare, more and more employers now offer flexibility benefits, including location variety, maternity leave, sabbaticals, somewhat remote, flexible working hours, mostly remote, fully remote, and paternity leave, to attract and retain Controller candidates to their organization.

Background Check and Drug Test

According to self-reported job seeker feedback, 26.6% of the employers conducted a background check, and 13.0% of the employers conducted a drug test prior to the hiring of their Controller candidates.


When you’re ready to hire a Controller, SimplyHired is here to help with your next steps. Our Human Resources Information System (HRIS) provides onboarding tools and other essential HR tools. From document signing to time off tracking, our HRIS will help you seamlessly move a Controller candidate through the hiring and onboarding process.

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