10 Recruiting Tips to Successfully Hire a Chief Financial Officer

CFO recruiting can be a long and grueling process. Finding the ideal candidate can be a struggle, especially for those who want to onboard the perfect fit for the position quickly and effectively. The onboarding of a new critical C-level executive is not the time to be taking shortcuts. That’s why we at KSM Consulting have composed a list of 10 recruiting tips to successfully hire the right CFO. Let’s get started.

1. Search & Network

A great first step in the process of CFO recruitment is to engage an expert search firm with exceptional industry and board relationships and networks. This executive search partner will help pick out some solid potential candidates. Be sure that they are not overloaded with assignments prior to seeking assistance.

2. Check References

Double or triple-check your candidate’s reference list from a variety of sources. Be sure that their reference list includes outside counsel, audit partners, and board members. Always ask to speak with these references during CFO recruiting. 

3. Develop A Process

It’s imperative to develop a carefully planned internal hiring process that includes interviews with members of the board, cross-functional peers, and finance team members. After all, the board and the team should know who is up for the position. 

4. Vet the Candidate

It’s another integral process to properly vet your candidate through sources you may not have considered. Utilize your internal relationships and external relationships to their maximum potential, and have them check on the credibility of your candidate.

5. Research the Candidate

Always be sure to do extensive research. Extend your research into a candidate’s prior job performance, work relationships, accountability, etc. Leadership track records and key accomplishments are also important factors to research even as far back as their previous five jobs. 

6. Don’t Farm Out

Make the most of reference phone calls on your own, don’t farm them out to your team. Doing this step yourself will allow you to pick up on the tone of voice, hesitancy to answer questions, and overall enthusiasm. 

7. Background Check

Engaging a third party to run a full background check on your candidate is always a good idea. Researching a candidate’s credit history, criminal and civil backgrounds, degrees, certifications, SEC, etc. will often tell you all that you need to know about a candidate’s reliability at their consent.

8. Set Standards

Create a specific and thorough set of criteria and requirements that serve to identify the high-priority attributes your CFO needs. Make these unique to the phase of development or situation your company finds itself in. All companies operate differently to a degree, so be sure that you’re choosing the candidate with the most relevant skillset. 

9. Plan Out Your Interviews

Line up your internal and external interviewers based on how they fit with the requirements and criteria you have established. Be sure to be clear with your interviewers and CFO recruiters on how to draft questions that focus on the issues that must be clearly addressed in the interviews. 

10. Asking the Right Questions

Be sure to ask the candidate hard questions that probe their ethics, values, and leadership dilemmas. For instance, you may ask something like: “Tell me about a time you had an issue with a coworker/board member. How did you resolve it?” These questions are always key. 

Are You in Need of a New CFO?

Hiring a new CFO can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! Use this list as a guide in your CFO recruiting process. You may be surprised how effective even just one of these steps can be. For more information, or to contact a professional talent acquisition agency that specializes in CFO recruitment, contact KSM Consulting now.

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