I have come across many companies over my career that, when looking to hire their CFO, require that they have not only CFO experience, but experience as a Chief Financial Officer in their industry.
How would you recommend that I position myself to be hired into an industry that I do not have direct experience as a CFO?
Denied in Denver
When decision makers hire (or make any decision) they choose the path of least resistance. This usually includes making decisions based on their belief system.
Many people making these hiring decisions have the belief that their industry is so specialized and unique that no one coming from outside the industry will be able to learn quickly enough about their industry and will therefore be at a disadvantage.
From what I have seen, decision makers that are able to hire key people from outside their industries usually do so because they have a more convincing factor in making the decision – trust. In these cases, the one making the hiring decision knows and trusts the person that will be coming into the role, even if they don’t have the industry experience.
When companies face ‘change management’ considerations, they are more open to hiring executives from outside their industry to shake things up.
So how do you get hired into an industry you don’t have direct experience in? Use your connections. People that trust you know what you are capable of and will overlook your lack of industry experience.
Thanks for writing,
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