How to Spot a High Performance CFO for Your Company


To become a successful CFO a very important trait is to have strong relationship skills along with a suave ability to say no in circumstances which demands rejection. Senior financial officers should have an impressive array of nuanced strengths, business vision, and ability to build and manage strong working relationships without compromising on ethics, independence, neutrality & objectivity which is very much pertinent to fulfil their fiduciary responsibilities.

Deep Expertise:

Talented CFOs keeps themselves abreast with the knowledge on latest updates on audit & compliances besides being experts in financial reporting, planning, treasury, capital structure, corporate portfolio management and capital allocation. Besides these important job functions, the seasoned CFOs also deftly handle the role of company spokesman with regards to investor relations and in communications to the board.

Handling performance management of the organisation with elan is also one of the key traits of a successful CFO. A rock star CFO is also quite adept in raising funds from financial institutions and investors.

In reality a CFO cannot possess all the qualities and talents mentioned here. He can be either a finance expert or a generalist or a performance leader or a growth champion.

A high performance CFO job is multifaceted and the type job role varies from organisation to organisation. Therefore it will always be prudent to work with a seasoned placement consultant to undertake a SWOT analysis of a prospective candidate to actually determine whether he or she is fitting the bill

A Great Team Player:

CFOs are expected to collaborate with the CEOs and other important stakeholders in the organisation in designing business strategy & competitiveness, maintaining regulatory compliance & investor relationships, handling capital management & financial reporting.

 Therefore it is desirable for him not to have any iota of ego so that an organisation is not plagued by any business disruption in the long run.

Assessing and articulating the behavioural competency of a prospective candidate applying for the role of a high performance CFO is not an easy task and hence lot of organisations seek the expertise of top executive search firms who are armed with behavioural and talent assessment tools to determine the right person for the right job.

Capability To See The Big Picture:

A CFO should be tech savvy so that he can check out what’s going on in his business in real time. Top CFOs collaborate with CIOs and IT departments and play key role in implementation of ERP, PLM, CRM, Custom Business Application Software, Analytics and other advanced technologies to get the best out of their business and charting business strategies in to financial strategies by simplifying and interpreting data. Hence before selecting a potential candidate as a CFO it will be prudent to judge the technology viewpoint and functional prowess of the candidate. Sometimes the in-house intelligence of an organisation cannot comprehend the tech savviness of a prospective CFO hence it is always safe to vet the entire process via a seasoned executive search agency who have the means and methods for ascertaining the competence of the candidate.

Understand Operations:

To optimally derive results and effectively handling P&L, CFO’s should be well acquainted with the operations of each and every department to have a clear knowledge of the organizations entire portfolio of businesses. They should have a keen understanding and capability to implement key operational KPI’s, not just financial metrics to achieve performance goals throughout the organisation.

Also they should have a knack and requisite functional experience in order to identify an operational problem and analysing its root cause to solve the issue.

On boarding a CFO in your organisation needs thorough planning and business objectives should be clearly defined so that he or she can truly help in optimizing the outcomes. Inducting a talented CFO can go a long way in evolving your organization with a strong balance sheet.

How to Reduce Your Recruitment Costs – Top Tips that Work

With the market growing more and more competitive, it is becoming increasingly tougher to find good candidates for positions. Many companies are going for recruitment agencies to get the best employees for their vacancies without losing a lot of time and effort in the process. However, recruitment costs can be quite high and it is important to keep your expenses in check. Here are some top tips that can help you to reduce your recruitment expenses.

Work on the career section of your website

The career section is one of the easiest and best ways to attract new candidates. Whether you have a startup or a Fortune 500 business, it will be worthwhile to put all the relevant employee information on your company website and attract new candidates. Place all the necessary details, such as about job openings, role and responsibility of candidates, type of working ambience, perks, salary info etc.

Train your recruiters and make them experts

Few recruitment agencies actually understand the needs of client companies, and keep selecting and sending candidates who do not really fit in with your advertised job positions. It can be a better idea to hire some good recruiters, and then train them to turn them into experts. This will help you to get professionals who are mindful of your specific business needs, and find employees who really match the profile.

Build a wider network

It is a good idea to attend a few industry events related to your business, and build a network consisting of HR as well as non-HR professionals who can help you find good employees for your business.

Create a solid ‘Employee Referral Program’

This can be a great way to hire people who are known to workers you know, and there is more credibility and reliability involved. Plus, it can also be a good way for existing employees in your organization to make some extra bucks.

Lower the attrition rate

Team leaders or managers often require soft skills for reducing worker attrition. By using proactive methods, bonuses, perks, work at home and other attractive features, you can reduce the rate of employee attrition and cut down on recruitment expenses right from the source.

Hire recruitment firms with domain expertise

Conduct interviews to hire only a recruitment company that has expertise in your domain, so that you have HR professionals who understand the business requirements of your specific industry and select the right candidates for your business.

How An SME Can Build A Great Employer Brand Part -1

How An SME Can Build A Great Employer Brand Part -1

What is the secret recipe in building an excellent employer brand? If this question is put forward before the top management of an SME, most of them will not be in a position to give a convincing reply. The reason for this is most of the organisations simply don’t know that what it takes to achieve the feat

Not many of the SME organisations focus on building their brand as an employer. Though most of them spend lavishly on marketing activities centred around their products and services and sometimes on operational aspects, most of the times they hardly care to project themselves as a brand which genuinely cares about their business workforce. This causes discontent among the employees and results in increasing attrition levels.

So let’s discuss about the secret recipe in building a great employer brand

Employee recognition and branding:

Employees expect recognition of their work, apart from salary and perks, the recognition factor is the most important aspect that keeps them motivated and binds their emotions with the company. Every employee has a unique story to tell and the collective contribution of the employees keeps the growth engine of the organisation running.

How an employee dispense his / her daily job functions? What motivates him / her to put 100% of his / her effort? What is the impact that the employees contribution had made to the company, the fellow employees and the society? How his / her work has impacted the growth of the organisation? All these are interesting information can be woven in to quite an engaging story and shared with the world.

These stories can be shared in the website or under corporate blogs or in social networks to highlight the employees contribution and it can also be construed as mark of gratitude on the part of the employer. These stories in due course of time get shared, liked and commented by users thereby augmenting the employer brand visibility.

An experienced Human Resource consultant can ideate practices and policies that can aid in greater bonding among company and its employees.

Treat your employees well:

Employees want respect from the employers. The behaviour of an organisation should boost the morale of the employees. They should be given the freedom to do innovative thinking. Their ideas and thought process should not be stifled, rather they should be encouraged to think out of the box and put forward their suggestions in front of the organisation. Appropriate Employee grievance and redressal forums should be there in the organisation aided by websites or intranet applications that can swiftly solve their problems. If there is any grievance that has been aired on the social media or review portals by a disgruntled employee, it’s the duty of the management of the organisation to investigate the root causes of discontent and provide a suitable explanation with facts and figures.

Also keeping a strong social media presence in platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin with information regarding the organisation and its people projects the organisations open and also shows that the organisation welcomes constructive criticism.

Give your employees a great workspace:

Employees love cosy workspace. The organisation how small it may be should not compromise on the office infrastructure. An employee spends most part of the day in office and hence they expect to work in an workspace which is vibrant, clean, hosted with necessary infrastructure such as workstations, climate control and little bit of privacy. The employees should feel proud of their place of work so that they can share stories of their working conditions with their known circle of friends near and dear ones`

Proper salary and incentive structure:

An organisation should see to it that their employees are paid well and salaries revised taking in mind the inflationary figures. In many review sites disgruntled employees complain about their organisations practice of providing low salaries. This only brings disrepute to the company and buyers lose their confidence in dealing with these organisations. Also its utmost important that salaries are disbursed in time so that employees don’t have to worry about their financial commitments.

Again, not many of the organisations SME organisations are qualified to draft appraisal policies that can balance the expectations of employers and the employees and hence it would be prudent to consult a seasoned Human Resource Consulting company to aid them in this process

Invest in their training:

In this ever changing business world skill sets become obsolete within a short time span and hence it’s pertinent to arm your employees with the most sought after skills in their area of expertise. This boosts up employee morale and employee gets a sense of satisfaction that the organisation thinks about their personal growth and invests in making them more agile.

The organisations should motivate their employees to share their acquired knowledge in non-sensitive matters in the public domain such as blogs, or authoring books and online content, training videos, publish papers and participating and speaking in technical events. Motivating employees to participate in these types of activities by organisations not only enhances the profile of the employees but also the employer brand.

These are some of the factors that an SME should keep in mind in designing practices and policies that can make them unique among the vast number of organisations. Reputations are hard to build and any wrong move can break years of hard work in building a great employer brand. Organisations might sometimes falter in their endeavour of effective employer brand building due to lack of necessary expertise and hence a helping hand of a reputed HR consulting company is needed to tide over the problems and obstacles.

We will discuss more about how to implement practices that makes a great employer brand in our upcoming editions.

How To Hire A Great Business Leader?

How To Hire A Great Business Leader

An organization needs people at the helm to achieve its objectives. Running an organization deftly is not a one man show, rather team work and this is the driving force that makes a company great. A team lacking a leader is like a ship without a rudder. Total chaos will reign over a team in the absence of a spirited and talented leader.

But leaders are hard to find and it needs a keen observation on the part of a talented placement consultant or a hiring manager to spot the right talent among the masses.

So what makes an impressive business leader? A great business leader is one who has the creative acumen, initiates action, takes calculated risks, motivates employee, creates confidence, builds morale, ability to think beyond and gets everyone involved.

These are the 5 traits that a recruitment consultant or a hiring manager should look for in hiring a business leader`

Great listening skills:

A candidate applying for leadership roles should have great listening power. He / She should have the inherent ability to take out the wheat from the chaff. He / She will come across lot of discussions and data in his / her day to day job role, but needs to have the acumen to only filter out the productive information in an optimized way. A seasoned hiring manager should initiate simulated discussions with the candidate on topics related with the job role in a short time span to figure out his / her responses and listening skills. If the guy is too eager to throw a response then the candidate might not be the one who can fit the bill.

Great decision making skills:

An in-depth interaction should be done with the candidate exposing him / her to different situations such as asking his / her view point on a particular real life problem that has occurred in the company and asking his / her opinion on that matter about how to solve it. If the candidate’s answers are vague then it’s highly probable that the candidate might not be a good fit for leadership roles. On the contrary if he / she  gives a solution that is agile, reasonable and to the point then the candidate is having good problem solving skills and fit to work at the helm of a team.

Knows how to move forward gracefully:

A great business leader knows that instead of playing blame game on a particular setback he / she should move forward irrespective of the obstacles. Hence a seasoned recruitment consultant should discuss with the candidate about his / her experiences in handling issues and setbacks in his / her past assignments. Recruitment Consultant / Executive Search Agency can also enquire about his / her view point in solving a particular problem to find out how the candidate reacts with the factors emerging out of a simulated situation.

Leverages networks:

Networking is an important aspect of a great leader. The person should be having good PR skills in order to take the business to a greater height by communicating effectively and improving relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, strategic partners and even competitors. An experienced top level hiring manager can gauge the networking ability of a candidate through his / her body language, analytical expressions, presentation skills, personality traits and psychological signals during an in-depth interview process, reference and social media checks and through his / her personal industry contacts

Strong desire to reach the next level:

As INVAR Kamprad the founder of IKEA said, “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow” So during the interview process the restlessness of a candidate has to be felt with respect to his / her ideas for a better tomorrow in his / her area of expertise. His / Her  hunger to scale new heights has to be gauged and his / her antecedents of achieving targets in an innovative way in his / her  earlier organizations has to verified in order to come to a logical conclusion of fitness for leadership roles.

Emotionally stable:

To be a successful business leader one must have the ability to stay focussed on their ultimate objective while keeping their emotions in check.  On face to face interaction a person’s emotional intelligence quotient can be assessed through various psychometric tests such as:

  • Traditional cognitive ability test which assess verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning
  • Game based assessment
  • Short 10 -12 minute timed separate ability tests
  • Tests mapping candidates profile with the benchmark of the target organisation

Powerfully passionate:

Most of all, great business leaders are passionate about whatever endeavour they are undertaking. In the words of Oprah Winfrey “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from doing what excites you”. There are six ways to identify a passionate candidate for leadership roles.

  • Discuss about hobbies and interests of the candidates
  • Assess his / her ability to maintain work life balance
  • Evaluating his / her  set goals for professional growth
  • Inherent signs of generosity
  • Test His / Her mettle
  • Digging out the thrill factor

The ways and means discussed above are some of the practical approaches in determining the competency of a candidate for leadership roles. The list is not exhaustive and organizations should also continuously strive to implement rational and quality hiring practices as per their business processes to prevent any costly unwanted surprises that might hinder their progress.

7 Ideas For Recruiting Top Talent For Startups

Start-ups are the Life-Line of Indian economy. A thriving Startup ecosystem opens up job opportunities for millions, thereby continuously rejuvenating an economy. A Startup up also opens up non-conventional job opportunities in the market. For example, the advent of E-Commerce, economy opened up quite a large number of non-conventional job opportunities in the field of delivery, warehousing, operations which are filled by talented individuals.

The startups implement business ideas which are generally quite new in the market. Most of the times they have concepts which are fraught with risks, operations which are volatile, shortage of funding & lack of branding and reputation. All these factors make top talent hunting for a Startup a daunting task. A wrong choice can land you in a soup resulting in bad results for your company. Today we will discuss about the … top tips for on boarding the best talent to contribute in a Startup which can aid to a profitable balance sheet.

A) Explain your business vision in detail:

It is imperative that your vision is thoroughly shared with your candidates so that their vision is aligned with your business objectives and they understand your goals and objectives. Not only this is beneficial for all other team members but it can make you feel confident that someone who will be joining is perfectly aligned with your thought process and consequently he / she is visualizing a growth path for himself / herself as well as the Organisation.

B) Thorough testing of skills:

It does not matter what is written in the CV, how many degrees are mentioned or accomplishments highlighted. At the end of the day the recruit has to be productive for the organization and for this, skills, practical knowledge and positive mind-set of a candidate are the foremost criteria. The candidate has to be subjected to tests and for getting a sneak peak of his / her productive capacity.

A seasoned Placement Consultant can aid a Startup organization to draft relevant questions and add value in remote of face to face discussions that can test the technical and psychological competency of a prospective recruit.

C) Quick decision:

If you want to close a position then it’s advisable to do it quick, since lingering the matter might make it an unfruitful exercise, since you never know who is going to snatch your shortlisted talent

D) Give the candidate a sense of security:

If you want a select a candidate who you think can act as a catalyst in your business and chart its success than it is imperative that the guy experiences a sense of job security and understands that your firms growth path is not stagnant and rather the candidate feels that he / she is embarking on an exciting journey which will elevate his / her career.

If the guy is not feeling the vibes of job and growth security from your organization, chances are there, that he / she  is choosing your company only as a stop gap and will immediately jump ship as and when a perfect opportunity lands in front of him / her.

E) Employee benefits:

You are a Startup and have to succeed in your endeavour. You cannot do that alone. You need a talented and agile workforce. But the talent is always in short supply and your plans might get snapped due to shortage of key talent.

So to attract skilled manpower, you have to offer something that sounds great. Some of the benefits that the Startups can offer include

  • Health Insurance facilities
  • Stipends for upgrading skills
  • Food coupons
  • Incentives
  • Bonuses
  • Free Gifts
  • Memberships
  • Stock Options

Quite sadly, many a times just to save some bucks; Startups tend to skip some of these benefits that are vital in attractingthe right talent.

F) Presence in the cyberspace:

TheStartup need to be interactive in the internet with proper informative web portals highlighting their products & services. Modest presence in LinkedIn, Facebook, QA forums, blogs, review sites, Google local listings are a pre-requisite in attracting talent that works

G) Offer challenging assignments:

Smart employees want to delve deep in to challenging opportunities. The Startup hiring manager should give a brief idea to the candidate about the big, stimulating and ambitious goals associated with his organizations current assignments to bring excitement in the mind of the candidate. Once the talented candidate feels the bigger picture, it becomes easy for the Start-up to lure him / her to his organization.

The tips discussed above can definitely help an organization in attracting great talent with minimal risks and in small budget. These systems are not hard to implement and once these processes are in place, a Startup owner can always find talented candidates flocking to join his / her organization`

We will discuss more ways and means on how to on-board achievers & winners in in our upcoming editions. Till then Happy Recruiting.