Evidence-Based Selection Assessment
The President/CEO of a 2,000 employee service organization requested our help in identifying which of its external candidates were most appropriate for its vacant position of Chief Financial Officer. This organization was in a major transition and recognized that this was a critical decision for them (as their future financial stability depended upon making the “right” decision about their next CFO). They were extremely concerned about who they should hire after having been “burned” in the past by hiring someone who the organization’s leaders all agreed was “perfect” for their needs and who had all of the technical expertise they desired. They sought the independent counsel and objective expertise of an outside party who would help them to “hire with their heads” and not just on their gut reactions.
We identified that the finance department was in need of a major turnaround, as the receivables and payables were several months behind. The previous CFO had been terminated and they needed an experienced CFO who would:
1. Salvage those people, processes, and systems that should be kept,
2. Fix what could be fixed,
3. Replace everything else as cost effectively as possible within very short time frames, and
4. Accomplish these without disrupting what was working.
Then we interviewed their top two candidates, prepared an Executive Briefing summarizing our findings, and discussed the candidates’ relative qualifications with the President/CEO. We offered specific suggestions to the selection committee as to how they could learn more about each person’s appropriateness.
Both of the candidates initially appeared to be excellent choices for the position. However, upon delving deeply below the surface with each person, we determined that one was much better suited for their unique needs.
More specifically, we found that the successful candidate:
1. Was better able to “see the big picture” while understanding and attending to critical details as needed,
2. Was more decisive and would make accurate decisions about who he should replace, retain, and promote, and
3. Would be more likely to establish clear priorities and implement corrective action plans.
The Result: The President/CEO shared that we provided them with a very efficient process to help them make an accurate and informed hiring decision. He praised the service we provided and shared with us that the processes used were invaluable, as these “forced them” to be much clearer initially about their needs and expectations for the new CFO. The process also helped reveal much more in-depth information about each candidate than they would have ascertained with their traditional hiring practices. This additional information enabled them to hire the right person who was able to achieve the financial performance expectations they had established.