Straight Answers to Real Questions
Question: I’m the CFO of a $50mm Tier 2 auto parts manufacturer. I’ve recently had to go to the market to recruit a Controller. I’ve looked at a number of candidates and there’s been one person in the process that I’m especially keen on because she would be an excellent fit for us personality wise. That being said, she’s not a perfect candidate. She’s got a lot of what I’m looking for – she comes out of a manufacturing environment and generally speaking she has a well-rounded background.
However, I want to bring in a new ERP system next year and she hasn’t had experience managing that kind of project before. In addition, she’s hasn’t had much hands-on direct management experience. I’d really like to hire her but I’m concerned that it may take her a long time to get up to speed on the ERP conversion and managing a larger staff. Any thoughts?
Answer: When I’m interviewing people, when I ask why they want to leave their current position, I get a fairly predictable range of answers. And of all the answers I get – “My boss is a jerk”, “My company is being sold”, “I think I’m underpaid” – by a large margin, the most common answer I get, especially from younger finance and accounting professionals and managers who are on their way up the career ladder is “ I want more challenge” and/or “I want more opportunity”.
If the person you want to hire is as sharp as I suspect she is, I’d venture to guess that if she had all of the experience you are looking for – lots of hands on management and experience with ERP conversions – she probably wouldn’t be interested in your position. The opportunity to learn something new technically and face new management challenges are tremendous inducements for someone looking for a new position.
Hiring authorities do themselves a disservice by trying to hire for 100% of the job they have on offer. In most cases, they won’t be able to attract the calibre of person they’re looking for. And if they do happen to hire a good person with all of the experience they’re looking for, unless the hiring authority can offer some new challenge or opportunity sometime in the first year or so, they run the risk of their new hire getting bored and possibly looking for a new job.
A good rule of thumb is to hire for 70% of the job you need to fill and knowing that the 30% of the job that your new hire doesn’t know is part of the reason they’re accepting the position.