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June 2, 2023
Read time: 4:07 minutes
In order to hire better CFOs, you're going to need to be more intentional about interviewing.
I've hired quite a few CFOs over the past 7 years of running a firm. Some of them have been total flops while the most recent have been home runs.
One key difference is that I got better at interviewing. Today I'm going to share 4️⃣ non-obvious tactics I've learned that have resulted in better CFO hires.
My hope is that you will avoid costly bad hires by learning from my mistakes.
#1: Know Thyself
Before you begin interviewing - in fact, before you even post the job - define YOUR values.
Don't think about them.
Don't type them out.
Write them down.
Like the OG that you are.
How can you hope to hire someone that aligns with you and your values if you're not even clear on what your values are?!?!
My team's values are:
• Value driven
• Growth minded
• Heart of a teacher
We use our values list to screen potential employees but also vendors and clients as well.
10/10 suggest you do the same.
#2: Who Do You Look Up To?
I can't take any credit for this one. It comes straight from my best friend Grant after he made a bad hire.
His advice was to ask applicants who they look up to and why.
Grant suggested asking applicants who they admire and who they try to emulate. Grant went on to say that he then asks himself "Would I enjoy working with or hanging out with that person?"
In particular, look at the types of values that the aspirational person embodies. Do they mirror your own values?
If not, this should be a big red flag for you.
#3: A Passionate Zoom or Loom
The first step in our application process is submitting a resume.
If a candidate seems qualified, I'll ask them to submit a 1-2 minute video. Nothing crazy, I just ask them to explain why they're passionate about CFO work. I tell them they can record it on Zoom or Loom.
This accomplishes three things.
First, it requires effort. Not a ton of effort, but effort nonetheless. This shows me if they're actually interested in the position.
Second, it allows me to see how they show up on video. All of our client meetings are on Zoom, so a video gives me a bit of insight as to whether they can communicate on camera.
Finally, I want to see if they're actually passionate about the work or if this is just a paycheck for them.
Here are 2 pro tips to keep in mind:
1. I like to first send them a video of me explaining why I'm passionate about CFO work. This helps set expectations.
2. I'm intentional about not over producing this video. I encourage them to follow my lead. This exercise isn't about them showcasing their video production skills. Rate their submission accordingly.
#4: Invest in a Face to Face
Spend the money to fly them to you or vice versa.
This is usually the last step in the interview process for me. I'll usually do it when I have the candidates narrowed down to the final 2-3 people.
Nothing beats shaking someone's hand, sitting across from them, and having a face to face conversation.
I like to do the interviews at a restaurant. Why? Because I want to see how they not only interact with me but also with the restaurant staff.
I'll be the first to admit that this is expensive. But it's way less expensive than hiring the wrong person. They can be cancerous for your team and for your client base. And this is even more important if you have a small team or a small client base. You can't afford NOT to invest in making sure each new hire is a home run.
If you can't afford to do a face to face, then save up a few thousands dollars. It shouldn't take too long to sock away a couple of g's.
Building and growing a great team is one of the most rewarding things I've done as a CEO. But a bad hire can kill the good vibes fast.
By adopting a few best practices, you can minimize the risk of a bad hire as you build an amazing firm.
Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
1. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of nearly 150 fractional CFOs.
2. The CFO Academy - This is a 7 week deep dive into the exact playbooks that I use to run my firm, KFE Solutions.
3. If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out:
→ The CFO Report on YouTube (if you love video)
→ The CFO Report on Apple Podcast (if you prefer audio)