3 Tips for Hiring a Payroll Software Specialist

Hiring a payroll specialist today demands finding candidates with a high level of technical savvy and software experience. According to Software Advice, 83 percent of job advertisements for payroll specialists required some degree of software knowledge for the position. Companies of varying sizes are increasingly relying on payroll software. As a result, companies are hiring dedicated, software-savvy talent to ensure that their teams are getting paid on time and staying in compliance with state and federal regulations. There’s little room for error. In fiscal year 2014, the EEOC obtained $296.1 million in total monetary relief through its enforcement program prior to the filing of litigation. Here is a closer look at how employers can get the right level of technical expertise when hiring for this important role.

Reflect Your Position Priorities in the Job Ad
Depending on the organization, the role of a payroll specialist can look quite different. At a medium-sized company, a member of the HR or finance team may be responsible for all aspects of payroll from determining compensation to processing payroll, in addition to other human resources responsibilities. At larger companies, an individual may be dedicated to managing just one aspect of the payroll process. In your job descriptions, it’s important to outline the roles and responsibilities for the specific position as well as related knowledge and experience. If you are using an applicant tracking system, the software may have a template that you can use as a starting point. Generally, candidates should be comfortable working with financial information, have an understanding of the payroll process, and a working knowledge of relevant regulatory information.

Determining Your Software Knowledge Needs
As discussed above, companies are putting increasing importance on candidate’s knowledge and experience using payroll software. There are numerous ways to measure this when looking at a candidate’s background. One is general software and technical savvy, including programs such as Microsoft Excel. Another is to focus on previous experience with payroll applications. Payroll applications may be best-in-class standalone applications or integrated as part of a broader HR product suite. If you’re already using a specific application, hiring candidates with a working knowledge of that specific product may minimize training needs and increase productivity.

Questions to Ask During the Interview
When you’re hiring a payroll specialist, you may wish to evaluate their overall understanding of the payroll process. How do they manage complicated challenges that arise? What is their stance and practice regarding privacy and confidentiality, since they’re handling sensitive personal and financial information? Does their understanding of the regulatory environment match your company’s industry, locations, and other needs? Finally, your interview questions should explore their previous software experience and skills.

To determine how technically savvy a candidate is, ask them to describe their previous experience. Give specific examples and ask how they would solve a problem. Remember that software is always changing. How willing and able is the candidate to learn new software packages, or adapt to major upgrades in an existing core program? Ask pointed questions about their previous software transitions and how they managed these and learned new information.

A payroll specialist is essential to keeping your employees paid accurately and on time, as well as staying in compliance with regulations. With an increase in the technical resources used in most payroll departments, asking the right questions will help you find a technically savvy candidate who can make the most of your payroll software packages and ensure you meet your business goals.

2 thoughts on “3 Tips for Hiring a Payroll Software Specialist

  1. Thank you for the post! If I were to finally start the company I want to, this would be a great article to help me feel better about the overall hiring process for payroll services. As far as actually locating top payroll service providers, would you ever reference an online PEO Directory? Or what are the best places to look?

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