Using Metrics for CFO Hires

Article by:
Ben Baldwin
EO Toronto

As the owner of a hiring software firm, I know how hiring mistakes can impact good companies. On the surface, a high-level employee like a CFO can seem extremely qualified, but it doesn’t take long before you notice the warning signs, like flexible ethics and insubordination. Honesty, integrity and ethics are important for all employees, but they are absolutely critical for the CFO. You may not always like the news you’re getting, but it’s much better when you know you can trust it.

Three years ago, I hired Jamie, my first “C-level” employee. We started him in the role of CFO, and thankfully, everything worked out. Hiring Jamie was one of the best decisions I ever made, but it could have easily been the worst. How did we avoid a bad hire? I focused on the metrics. A good friend is the head of scouting for a Major league Baseball (MLB) team, and I’ve always been fascinated with his ability to analyze players using statistics. Unlike MLB scouts, hiring managers measure a worker’s behavioral attributes, not his physical attributes. I’ve found behavioral statistics to be incredibly useful and accurate at helping to predict future job performance.

Here are three ways any EO member can hire a great CFO by leveraging the right metrics:

  • Build a hiring checklist to capture what outputs and behaviors you’re looking for from your new hire. Be as objective as possible; there are free online tools to help you determine these behavioral metrics, like Shl’s Occupational Personality Questionnaire.

  • Use a hiring assessment to determine how candidates score relative to behavioral norms of top-performing CFOs. It’s important to select an assessment that detects when someone is trying to manipulate their employment application to appear more desirable than they really are.

  • Implement a consistent interview template and scoring guide that will help you uncover past achievements that demonstrate an ability to accomplish your desired outputs. It’s also important to ask behavioral interview questions for those attributes where your candidate strays from the top- performing CFO norm.

  • Hiring the right CFO has helped us drive successful growth, but hiring the wrong one would have been disastrous for our business. Now when we hire for a position at this level, we’re clear what we’re hiring for, we follow a standardized hiring-selection process and we measure job fit by utilizing metrics-based tools. Following these simple steps helped us hire a winner and avoid hiring a dud.

    Ben is the co-founder of ClearFit.com, a hiring firm that offers patented software tools to make hiring easy for small businesses. To reach Ben, you can e-mail him at ben@clearfit.com.


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