Market Perspectives

Peering Over the Expectation Gap

Peering Over the Expectation Gap

It’s Tuesday morning around 10:00am and a hypothetical VP of Finance (let’s call her Amanda) is at her desk strategizing about replacing her controller who resigned on Friday. She’d already talked to human resources who promised to post the job online and now she’s wondering what else she could be doing to expedite the process. As Amanda is mulling over her options, the phone rings and lo and behold, it’s a placement agency that happens to specialize in accounting and finance inquiring if she might have any openings.…

Why You Want to Hire an Argumentative Recruiter

Why You Want to Hire an Argumentative Recruiter

When I want to buy something out of the ordinary, something not in a “pick it up off the shelf” category, I inevitably want some market intel before I make the purchase. When I was in the market for a house in Toronto many years ago, I wanted the real estate agent to fill me in on neighbourhoods with the best schools, inform me of the relative resale merits of one property over another, plus give me input on a host of other factors that would help me make the best, most informed decision possible.…

What Real Estate and Recruitment Have in Common

What Real Estate and Recruitment Have in Common

I was walking my dog recently and as I ambled down the residential streets of my neighbourhood I noticed a number of realtors’ For Sale or Just Sold signs posted on various properties I passed. And it occurred to me that on the surface, real estate and recruitment had a few things in common.

In both real estate and recruitment there are two parties involved in every deal. In real estate deals, there’s a person listing the property and the person buying the property.…

There’s Never Time to Do It Right, But There’s Always Time to Do It Over

There’s Never Time to Do It Right, But There’s Always Time to Do It Over

A year or so ago I got a call from the CEO of a $50mm roofing contractor who needed to hire a new CFO. The CEO was the son of the founder of the firm, and had been at the helm of the family business for about five years. Dad had ostensibly retired but still came to the office most days. As much as I think he was trying to let his son run the show, my sense was that the father was still pretty involved in day to day operations and executive decisions.…

Taking Counter-Offers Out of Play

Taking Counter-Offers Out of Play

Let’s take a hypothetical situation where you’re the CFO of a thriving micro-brewing company (since we’re being hypothetical, we might as well have some fun). Your controller resigned a couple of months ago, giving you two weeks’ notice and you’ve been busy trying to fill their chair ever since. And now, finally, after a long, arduous search, you’ve managed to identify one candidate that you think would do a stellar job as your new controller.

You make an offer to this candidate and she gives you a verbal assurance that she’s going to take the job.…

Refereeing References

Refereeing References

Earlier this year, I was working on two different searches that only had one thing in common: in both cases there was an issue with the references of the lead candidates. One of the searches was for a CFO of an owner-managed industrial parts distributor and the other search was for a controller for a small professional services organization. In both cases, the positions I was recruiting for reported to the owner-manager / CEO.

In the case of the CFO search, the lead candidate (let’s call her Jane) had a very solid resume.…

The Value of Benchmarking in Recruiting

The Value of Benchmarking in Recruiting

Let’s start off with a fun fact about benchmarks: the word originates from the chiseled horizontal marks that surveyors made in stone structures, into which an angle-iron could be placed to form a “bench” for a leveling rod, thus ensuring that a leveling rod could be accurately repositioned in the same place in the future. These benchmarks served to indicate elevation and were (and sometimes still are) commonly used as a reference in topographic surveys and tidal observations.

When you google the word “benchmark”,  the very first definition that pops up is: a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed.…

When Placements Go Bad

When Placements Go Bad

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of hiring someone through a recruitment firm who didn’t work out, no doubt you ascribed the blame to your recruiter. Which may be fair but then again, it may not be. After all, if you’ve been around for any length of time in business you’ve probably hired someone on your own, without the aid of a recruitment firm, who didn’t work out. Who did you blame then? Yourself? The person you hired?

When it comes to most hires that don’t work out, there’s plenty of blame to go around and it could be equally attributed to the hiring authority, the candidate or the recruiter if one was involved.…

Skin in the Game

Skin in the Game

A chicken and a pig lived on a farm. The farmer was very good to them and they both wanted to do something good for him. One day the chicken approached the pig and said, “I have a great idea for something we can do for the farmer! Would you like to help?”

The pig, quite intrigued by this, said, “Of course! What is it that you propose?”

The chicken knew how much the farmer enjoyed a good healthy breakfast. She also knew how little time the farmer had to make a good breakfast. …

Who Says You Can’t Get There From Here?

Who Says You Can’t Get There From Here?

A few months ago I was meeting with a prospective client, the CFO of a consumer products manufacturer, to talk about recruiting a controller for their organization. It was an important hire for the company but from what I could tell from my initial discussion with the CFO, from a recruiter’s point of view, it would be a fairly straight forward search.

One of my rules when I’m pitching for a new assignment is that I need to be 100% confident that we can fill the position before we take on the search.…