Straight Answers to Real Questions
Question: After ten years in my current company as CFO, I’ve decided I need a change of venue and pace. I’ve got my resume together and am ready to start my search. How many recruiters should I reach out to and what should I be expecting from them?
Answer: As to how many recruiters you should be reaching out to, the number is only proscribed by your time and energy. Theoretically, there’s no downside to contacting every recruitment firm in the city but of course only a small number of those firms may be in a position to help you. Take a look at LinkedIn’s job postings and some of the other job boards and make note of what firms have been posting CFO jobs over the past few months – that will give you a starter list of firms to reach out to. And of course, talk to your pals in CFO jobs and see who they can recommend first hand.
Once you’ve reached out to a number of headhunters, even if they specialize in senior financial positions, don’t assume that your phone is going to be ringing off the hook.
First of all, even if a recruitment firm has had a posting recently for a CFO position, if they are a contingency based placement agency, it’s possible, bordering on probable, that the position they advertised for was the only CFO position they’ve seen all year.
That being said, contingency firms tend to rely on their stock of resumes for the candidates they present to their clients. They don’t usually do much actual headhunting so if they do have a CFO position on offer, the odds of them giving you a call are pretty good if your resume is somewhat close to their client’s spec.
Retained firms that specialize in senior level financial searches will see many more CFO searches than their placement agency counterparts. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get much more action from them. Retained search firms conduct original research and headhunt on all of their CFO assignments so even if you happen to be in the sector that the search firm is headhunting a CFO for, your name will be one of many that the recruiter will be considering on that assignment.
The last thing you need to know is that of all the CFO jobs out there, only a small percent are in the hands of executive recruiters and placement agencies. If you want decent access to the CFO jobs actually available, you’re going to need to conduct most of the legwork yourself (download our free e-book The CFO’s Guide to the Hidden Job Market, (ww.osbornefinancialsearch.com/think-like-a-headhunter/) and think of the recruitment community as a sidebar to your campaign to find a new job.