Hiring with Confidence

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6/2/20235 min read

a sign that says we are hiring and apply today
a sign that says we are hiring and apply today

Welcome back to advice from a CEO. I've been a CEO, president, executive in charge for the last 15 years. I've owned a ton of companies. The last company I was part of was doing nine figures annually. I'm sharing this advice with you because I've seen such bad advice out there on the Internet. I thought it was time for somebody that's actually managed hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of employees to give real advice. So today let's talk about hiring employees. I actually hate the word employees because it's kind of like a, I don't know, caste system in which, you know, you're better than they are or some crap. I really enjoy the term team members because that's really what they are. You're asking somebody to be part of your team. And so when you're looking at hiring somebody and obviously I'm jumping ahead assuming that the need is there so you can talk about the need of whether or not as an example I'm okay in accounting meaning that I understand it I understand a lot of gap even though I'm not a licensed CPA.

I've been around a long enough I've read enough financial statements, then I'm pretty good at it. But do I like doing it? Nope. In fact, I'm in the process right now of hiring a CFO for the company I'm a president of. And I'm doing that because I know they're gonna do a better job than I am in terms of managing the cash. So I guess, I don't know how much I wanna jump into accounting right now, but you'll have the CFO. A really good CFO is a fortune teller. They can actually see what the numbers are and have those numbers tell them a story and be able to share that story with the other executives in the company. A controller, typically a really good controller, is a historian. They understand what's happening, they keep you out of trouble, and they can look backwards and tell you what happened in the past. I have a treasurer. Treasurer is probably one of the most underrated positions because they manage all of your cash. Sometimes depending on the size of your company, the controller and treasurer might be the same person. The CFO also might be the CFO, controller, and treasurer. You can be profitable, but if you do not have cash flow, you are dead. Cash flow is the oxygen to any business. So you got to have a stellar accounting team, and that's why I'm in the midst of hiring one.

So let's talk about hiring one. I am NOT a fan of placing a job ad. I'm just not. Typically I'm not looking for the person that's looking for a job. I'm looking for somebody that's awesome, that is working for somebody else, that's kicking butt. And you know what? When whether I make the outreach, somebody from the team makes the outreach, or I use a recruiter or a recruiter-like service to make the outreach, I want somebody that's awesome that says, hey, I'm sure you're happy right now because you're not looking. Maybe they are, maybe they're not. Maybe they've just decided it's not worth moving jobs right now because that's a pain in the butt. But here's the opportunity. The opportunity at a CFO level, as an example, could be equity, could be phantom stock, it could be some type of profit sharing, because they're going to be highly responsible for the success of your company. And so one of the things in hiring employees is once you establish obviously not only the job description of what they're going to be doing, I think it's very wise to set up 90, 180, and 360 day goals, so they obviously know coming in what is expected of them and how you're going to determine success. I think it's really important to give them as much information as you can up front that you feel comfortable sharing in the interview process itself so they're well-versed. But the last thing you want is somebody to come in and be like, oh I didn't know that, I don't know, I'm making this up, right? I didn't know that you guys were hybrid, three days in, two days out. I really want to be in the office five days a week. It doesn't work for me. I know it's kind of a lame example, but it's just one example of making sure that they understand every facet of your company before they say yes. Because the worst thing you can do is put in all that time and effort into hiring somebody, especially a senior executive like that. And then they get in and they're going to make that decision right away. The stats on how fast people make a decision, whether or not they're staying or going, will blow your mind. And so I try to make sure all of that up front. And then you've really got to decide being really targeted in your search of what you're looking for.

So as an example, going back to the CFO position, typically a CFO is a CPA. They've come up through an accounting firm. Typically, you'll see the big four out there. So they got recruited out of college there. Typically, they go into audit. And then from there, they'll jump into a major corporation through their accounting department just because of the scale of that accounting department. And then from there, you'll see them probably jump out to a controller, maybe a VP of finance-esque position for a private company, and then start working their way towards CFO. If that's what you're looking for, and typically you'd be looking for that if you're a much bigger company. If you're a smaller company, what you really want is a seasoned executive that really understands your culture, believes in your culture, believes in your vision and your mission, and they're going to help execute it. They're just not going to stay in the county. As I said earlier, they're going to follow the story of what the numbers are saying, and they'll follow them through. If you've got a really healthy culture, that means people aren't siloed, and they're not staying in their departments. And so you really want to figure this out because if you were to hire me as a CFO, which that would be a bad idea, but let's just say you did, and you're expecting me to jump across departments but I came up through a traditional accounting piece, I'm not going to. Maybe, maybe I could see a percentage of the people I'm talking about based off of their personality that they might just naturally do it, but the larger majority of them are not. They're just not. So, biggest thing when hiring employees is you've got to really spend some time here. I would highly recommend, I think on the CFO search that I'm currently in, I don't know, I spent a couple hours really thinking about what I wanted in terms of a job description, what I want them to do, how I'm going to measure success. What does that person look like, both from a personality standpoint, from a cognitive standpoint, and then from an experience standpoint? And then you go out and figure out how to go find them. I would highly discourage you from just running an ad if that's your only source. Think of it no differently than selling, whether you're a service or you're a product. Think of it no differently than that. I mean, my goodness, if you only use one avenue of trying to sell your product or service, good luck to you. Love to hear your comments, your thoughts. If you want me to go deeper into any of this, I'd love to do it. If you want me to go deeper into any of this, I'd love to do it. I look forward to talking to you all real soon. Take care.