As CEO, Board Member, or VP of Human Resources of your organization, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to hire a CFO. Some companies take the decision to perform a search for their next CFO by themselves. This is a mistake. In past blog postings, I have detailed the reasons you cannot afford to hire the wrong CFO, asked if it’s time to replace your CFO and how do you replace your CFO?
When you do a search for a Chief Financial Officer on your own, it is a misnomer to call it ‘search’. What you are really performing is a ‘look’. To find a needle in a haystack, ‘looking’ will not suffice – you need to do a proper, methodical search. And just because you find a needle, it doesn’t mean that it will be the right needle you need to get the difficult job done.
Searching for your CFO requires that you have the resources, network and capabilities to succeed. An Executive Search Firm that specializes in the Chief Financial Officer,
• Understands what you need,
• Knows how to find the CFO you need,
• Actively engages in a methodical and detailed search,
• Has the experience necessary to get your next CFO interested in your opportunity,
• Is intimately aware of the market and ensures that negotiations are fair to both parties, and
• Works after your CFO is hired to ensure that they have the right support in place to succeed.
When you look to hire a CFO on your own,
• You have not done a proper Needs Assessment. Do you really know what knowledge, skills and abilities your next CFO needs? Are you making an assumption, or has an expert made you think more about what you really need?
• You are missing the best CFOs. CFOs that are happy in their job are too busy to be looking at job postings. Without an active search, done by people experienced in gaining the attention of a busy CFO, you are missing what could be the best candidates.
• You are tapping in to your network. This is a good thing. Except does your network really have access to the best CFO that you need? Can they attract the right CFO for your needs that is currently working and happy at another company?
• The CFO you hire will not be a match. You’ve hired a square peg CFO to fit your round hole.
If you have the important responsibility of being involved with hiring your organization’s next CFO, it is important to be honest with yourself. If you are not using a Search Firm for hiring your CFO, you are probably resigned to the fact that any CFO will do.
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