Tag Archives | interview

Hiring Process is Getting Longer

hiring process is getting longerA recent article in the Wall Street Journal reports that employers are taking longer to pull the trigger on hiring decisions than in years past. According to the article:

  • the average job in 2014 sat vacant for 27.3 days before filled; this is compared to only 15.3 days five years ago
  • the average interview process took 22.9 days in 2014, up from 12.6 days in 2010

Hiring Process is Getting Longer

One of the trends cited as a possible cause for this phenomenon is the growth of non-routine jobs requiring judgment and creativity. As routine, task-based jobs are becoming automated, the need for highly-skilled workers with good judgment is increasing. To identify applicants best for a certain position, employers are increasingly relying on skills assessments, personality tests, and background checks to assess an individual’s “soft” skills.

Reasons for Longer Hiring Process

Another possible reason for additional time spent in the interview process is the increasing emphasis on culture. This has become a determining factor of company success. Companies such as Zappos, Google, and Starbucks have a highly-defined culture. Therefore, they spend a good deal of time with prospective employees to determine whether or not the individual will “fit”. Zappos offers all new employees $2,000 to quit.  From Zappos.com:

Yes, we do offer new hires $2000 to quit. We really want everyone at Zappos to be here because they want to be and because they believe in the culture. If they know they don’t quite mesh with our culture, we don’t want them to feel stuck here, so we give them an option. Less than 2% of all prospective employees end up accepting the offer.

A company so concerned with fit as to offer to pay people to leave might take their time finding the right person.

Across the economy, the average time it takes to fill open positions is lengthening.  So whether you’re looking for a job or seeking to fill an open position, expect it to take a while.

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hiring process is getting longer, Reasons for Longer Hiring Process

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The 3 Most Important Interview Questions

important interview questionsPreparing for a job interview can be intimidating. What should you wear?  Will you be able to find the place?  How early should you arrive? But probably the most terrifying concern of all is “What questions will they ask?”.

3 Important Interview Questions

Bernard Marr wrote a great article on LinkedIn that can help take some of the stress out of preparing for your next interview.  He contends that most interviewers are really only trying to establish answers to 3 key questions:

  1. Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?
  2. Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company?
  3. Will you fit into the team, culture and company?

Aside from that one oddball interview we’ve all had, most interviewers truly want to get a sense of who you are, why you want the job, and how you’ll fit in.  They may come at each of these questions from a variety of angles, but all paths of inquiry really lead back to these essential issues.

To learn more about what’s behind each of these questions as well as the ways an interviewer may ask them, check out Bernard’s article here.

Download and access your free white paper, 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team to determine which candidates are the right fit for your company

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How Not to Get the Interview

resumeWhen we’re conducting a CFO search for clients, it’s not unusual for me to read through (yes, I actually read them) hundreds of resumes looking for people I’d like to get to know better in an interview.  Through the process, I sometime feel a little like Goldilocks;  some resumes are too long and detailed, some are too brief, and some are just right.

How Not to Get the Interview

So what makes a “perfect” resume?  Every reviewer is different, but there are definitely some basic guidelines to follow to give you the best shot at making it to the interview round.   In his LinkedIn article, “The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes and How to Correct Them”, Laszlo Bock, SVP People Operations at Google, outlines 5 of the biggest “don’t”s when crafting your resume.  They are:

Typos

Either they bug you or they don’t.  Some people get really upset at the notion that an otherwise perfect candidate might not get chosen due to something as small as a typo in a resume. Bock’s point about typos is that some reviewers may interpret them as a lack of attention to detail. The fix is easy; proofread your resume from bottom to top or have a friend take a look with a fresh set of eyes.

Length

With resumes, less really is more. Not only does conciseness ensure your entire resume will be read, it demonstrates your ability to boil things down to their essence.  As Bock writes:

A crisp, focused resume demonstrates an ability to synthesize, prioritize, and convey the most important information about you. Think about it this way: the *sole* purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. That’s it. It’s not to convince a hiring manager to say “yes” to you (that’s what the interview is for) or to tell your life’s story (that’s what a patient spouse is for). Your resume is a tool that gets you to that first interview. Once you’re in the room, the resume doesn’t matter much.

Formatting

Your resume isn’t the place to get creative (unless you’re applying for a position in design or such).  Standard fonts, margins, spacing and such make for an easy-to-follow document that will get read in its entirety.  Reviewers know when you’re trying to cram a bunch of info on the page by using small margins or tiny fonts.  Bock also suggests saving your resume as a PDF for easy viewing across platforms.

Confidential Information

Trying to skirt or flagrantly violating confidentiality guidelines of current or former employers is a big no-no according to Bock.  After all, how can the prospective employer expect you to uphold their confidentiality rules if you’ve name-dropped in your resume?

Lies

Big or little, lies will always catch up with you.  Even if you get the position, you probably hope to be promoted some day and those little white lies will come back to haunt you.  It’s too easy these days for people to check up on you, so it’s not worth fudging, even just a little.

As I said before, all resume reviewers are different.  But avoiding common mistakes can help make sure that your resume gets full consideration. What do you think about Bock’s guidelines?  What would you add or subtract from the list?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Determine which candidates are the right fit for your company using our 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team.

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Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Recruiting Manual Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan recruit the best talent as well as avoid hiring duds.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

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The Hiring Process is a Two-Way Street

Reading through resumes, interviewing candidates, and narrowing down to the ideal few candidates are critical aspects of hiring a new employeeEmployers may feel like they are always in full control. But the job candidates have a significant amount of control as well.  The hiring process is a two-way street.  A company creates a concise list of ideal candidates. Likewise, the best job candidates usually have a few potential companies as strong candidates to hire them.

The Hiring Process is a Two-Way Street

Before selling your ideal candidate on the job, make sure that you are confident that they are the right candidate for your job position.  In order for you to convince your ideal candidates to choose your company, remember this:

While you are interviewing them, they are interviewing you. 

Can you convince them of why your job position is the best fit for them? How can their talents and skills have a positive contribution to your company?  Can you offer them unique benefits that no other company can come close to? If you want the strongest, most desirable job candidates to choose you over other job opportunities, you need to inspire them in your company’s values, goals, and mission.

The hiring process is a two-way street.  While those strong job candidates are in your presence, realize that they are assessing you just as much as you are assessing them.  Make a unique impression so that your company is at the top of their list.

In order to determine which candidates are the right fit for your company, download and access your free white paper, 5 Guiding Principles For Recruiting a Star-Quality Team.

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Access your Recruiting Manual Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan recruit the best talent as well as avoid hiring duds.

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Choosing a Software Dealer

See Also:
How to Evaluate IT Systems
Technology Assessment Criteria
Technology Strategy for Small to Medium Sized Companies
Backup and Disaster Recovery Solutions
How to Respond to an Imminent Disaster Threat

Choosing a Software Dealer

Choosing the people to partner with you in software selection and implementation is very similar to getting married – with a few exceptions that you’ve just thought about.

Criteria for Choosing a Software Dealer

When you are looking for a dealer, we believe the criteria should include the following:

• The dealer should be a true partner, not an adversary, in the software selection and implementation process. The dealer has implemented more systems than you want to face in your whole career. With experience comes wisdom.

• During this process you will be revealing the inner workings of your organization from sales and salaries to balance sheets and inventory. In order to be truly effective in designing a system that is exactly right for your application, the dealer will need to completely understand your business.

• Trust and communication is paramount – for both sides.

• The dealer should fit in with your corporate culture. You certainly don’t want a clash of values to taint your installation.

• If you have that strange feeling in the pit of your stomach when you are meeting or talking with a prospective dealer, listen to it. Your intuition is probably correct.

• A dealer that is invested in delivering the absolutely right software for you will not be putting the hard sell on you. In fact, the dealer that truly has your interest at heart will be the first person to say that their software isn’t going to meet your needs.

Interview Your Software Dealer

As in all businesses, there are great software dealers and not-so-great ones. During the initial call or interview, here are some ideas for questions to ask:

• How long has your company been in business?

• How many active clients do you have?

• How many installations of this software have you successfully completed?

• What are your points of difference from your competitors? (This is where the smart dealer tells you about the innovative ways they do business. Look for innovation that makes sense for your organization.)

• Tell me about the most challenging installation/application you have completed for a client. (The choice of example will tell you volumes about the company. Be sure to follow up with questions about why this particular job was so challenging.)

• How did you meet those challenges? (What you are looking for in this question is innovation, clear problem solving skills – not finger pointing and shifting blame.)

• The last time your company was not selected for a contract, what do you think was the deciding factor in the prospect’s choice? (This is an invitation to whine. If the dealer steps into that space, you know that’s only the beginning of the whining. The dealer should talk about shared responsibility here and own their part of it.)

• Will you be able to give us a projected Return on Investment?

Meeting with a Software Dealer

When the dealer makes the cut as a result of the call or first meeting, it’s time to have a meeting with your Software Selection/Implementation Team. (For more information on building your team, please see WikiCFO article How to Choose New Software.) The purpose of this meeting is to give the dealer a clear understanding of your reasons for the software search, the challenges that you currently have, and how you plan to proceed with this project. Expect loads of questions from the dealer. In fact, the questions the dealer asks will give you some insight into how he/she will approach your project. We believe that this is the time for us to discover all of the issues the prospect has leading us to ask “What else?” ad nauseam.

Beware of the dealer who whips out the laptop and starts demonstrating software. This first meeting is not the time for a demo, it’s a time to listen to the prospect and understand the issues. The time for demonstrating is later, after the dealer knows the solution he/she has is exactly the right solution for you.

Rules of Engagement

While each job is different, we have found that clearly setting expectations makes the whole process move more smoothly. So, let’s look at a few Rules of Engagement. These rules apply to both parties.

1. No guessing. It’s back to the communications issue again. As partners, the expectation is that both parties will be sharing the vision, answering lots of questions, and keeping our communications clear. In other words, straight talk always. We’re all in this together.

2. Respond quickly. It’s about respect – for everyone’s time and it’s simply common courtesy.

3. When we look good, you look good. All of us want this project to be successful. We share the challenges and triumphs.

4. Be responsible. Do what you say you’re going to do and deliver on time.

5. Don’t take ourselves too seriously. Absolutely this is a serious project. Yet there’s always room for laughing at ourselves, relaxing a little, and having some fun – you know about that dull boy Jack.

In our world, we believe that the selection of the dealer is the most important decision a company makes in implementing new software, right after the decision to investigate the ware purchase.

Learn how you can be the best wingman with our free How to be a Wingman guide!

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Due Diligence

See Also:
Due Diligence on Lenders
Auditor
Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)
Audit Committee
Loan Agreement

Due Diligence Definition

The Due Diligence definition is an extensive qualitative and quantitative look at a company. It helps company leaders make the best informed business decision about a company. Furthermore, Due Diligence is often associated with audits, where it is required before a public offering. In addition, it is associated with mergers and acquisitions to reduce the risk in the market for these activities.

Due Diligence Meaning

Due Diligence often becomes necessary when a large transaction is about to take place like a merger or loan agreement, or when the company’s financials are going to be presented to the public. Oftentimes, due diligence requires the assessment to be both qualitatively as well as quantitatively.

Qualitative Due Diligence

A qualitative act of due diligence may be to assess the mental state and capability of the management. This can be done through the following:

Quantitative Due Diligence

In comparison, quantitative due diligence includes thorough investigations of the books and records. This can range from asset appraisals to day to day transactions. A thorough understanding of internal controls and its effectiveness also become necessary to ensure the risk for the business is as low as possible.

If you don’t want to leave any value on the table, then download the Top 10 Destroyers of Value whitepaper.

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