You may have seen our first post on Aug 9 where we shared some of our actual experiences in the persistent candidate driven market. Here's what you should realize sooner rather than later and what you can do:

  1. Understand that the population of A Players you’re seeking is much much smaller than you imagine. 

    • As a hiring manager earlier in my career, I imagined that there must be thousands of candidates. I certainly overestimated how interesting it is to work for me and my group while underestimating the effort needed to provide an A Player the opportunity they can’t refuse. It’s the over/under gap. That’s my job. To close it for you!

  2. If you need an A Player who will excel in the role and grow his/her capabilities, figure out what new or stretch career experiences a candidate will gain in the role.
     
    • Don't create a list of must haves and marginal opportunity
       
  3. In the first interaction with a potential candidate, find out how he/she defines an exceptional opportunity in terms of the five F’s – fit, family, fortune (comp), fun and flexibility. 
     
    • Each candidate values these F’s very differently, and then each candidate values these very differently at different times in his/her own individual career.
       
  4. Understand that due to the dramatic change in commute times, the candidate population is likely much smaller. It’s not the whole Bay Area. 
     
  5. Understand that hiring the A Player who is still growing a career and has the CFO role in sight is a much more challenging hire than hiring an experienced CFO. It will take longer. Why?
     
    • The band or population of professional growing a career is very narrow.
      • That caliber person stays in the band a few years then moves up.
    • Once in the CFO slot, the person progresses, but perhaps at a slower rate and may stay in the private company CFO role the rest of his career, serially helping companies scale.
       
  6. Accept that the “stars lining up” must occur for the hire to happen.
     
    • You may need to bring on interim resources in case the search goes longer than you thought.
    • A CEO said to me, “You must have 20 CFOs in your back pocket.” It’s true that at any point I can think of well qualified talent for just about any client role. But the key is “qualified AND INTERESTED AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME.”
    • This is why every search is a combination of the network you know and identifying new talent. A candidate’s shelf life it truly shorter than software.

How To Succeed In Making That Critical Hire

  1. Broaden your thinking a couple rungs beyond that small bullseye you were originally thinking. (Must have a CPA, Must have an MBA, Must have Big Four experience, Must have our industry).
    • Define your high priority accomplishments for the role and then evaluate for potential-to-learn for everything else that's needed for success. It’s more work to evaluate for potential than to verify the already-been-there. It’s more risk to hire someone outside your industry.
       
  2. Be prepared to pay the full market value (for your industry) for someone who would have everything you hoped for but has only some of the past accomplishments. The exception is non-profit where a later career professional places top value on your mission and may have flexibility in compensation
    • If your total compensation is an absolute maximum that isn’t quite market, hire the best A Player you can who will see your opportunity as a stretch and value your coaching to get him/her there. This happens in non profit when they look to bring in someone from the for profit world.

      Email us, we're happy to help strategize, even we you aren't looking to hire outside help for your critical role.