Executive Search: Do CFOs understand the difference between Cost & Value?

Last week I wrote 4 Reasons you should use an Executive Search Firm when hiring your CFO. Cindy Kraft brought to my attention a poll that was running in SmartBrief for Finance. These are the results of the poll.

I agree with Cindy’s analysis of the poll results. I find it interesting that it is OK for CFOs to call every Executive Recruiter when they are looking for their next opportunity, while close to half of those polled don’t see the value in using a Search firm when they need to hire.

Can’t say I’m surprised by the results.

I love CFOs. Heck, they are my favourite people.


Except too many CFOs worry too much about cost, and not enough about value. Unfortunately for these myopic CFOs, this statement applies not only to recruitment, but to many major decisions that they take as a CFO.

Another point I find interesting is that while 30% of CFO see the value in Executive Search, 1/3 of these CFOs don’t know how to sell the value proposition internally.

To the people that responded to this poll, here is my feedback for you based on your answer:

Yes, but I’m not sure there is a worthwhile ROI: Then you haven’t asked the right questions or your search firm isn’t explaining the value of the services you are reluctantly paying for. Either ensure you get value for the search mandates you give them, or work with someone that will give you value.

No, and we do just fine recruiting top talent without them: Congratulations on this accomplishment. Hiring top talent isn’t easy. Be aware that you could be hiring mediocre talent thinking they are top talent. Also keep in mind that while you may be able to attract top talent in some areas of your company, you may still need to hire using an executive search firm for key roles.

Yes, and they are worth every penny to get top talent: I love you. Call me at +1 (201) 961-0838 for your next executive search to receive even more value than you are getting now.

No, but I wish we did: If you took this poll and answered this question, email me to let me know WHY you wish you did.

Thank you Cindy for bringing the poll to my attention (It was in my email inbox, but I didn’t get to reading it). And if you are a CFO and you are not signed up for SmartBrief for Finance, you really should be.


Would you like to receive Samuel’s CFO Blog directly in your email when he has a new blog? Click the SIGN ME UP! button on the right.


  1. says


    Why limit cost vs value to hiring? Isn’t this the ultimate issue for CFOs? I’ll bet you’ll say that the confident and successful CFOs focus generally on value and the more “Controller – like” CFO limits themselves to cost without regard to value. Value is bigger, but much harder to see.

    Thanks for making me think.

    Ken Tudhope

    • says


      No reason to limit the topic to hiring, but it certainly is a good place to start from.

      So let me ask you – what are the other areas that CFOs can better appreciate the difference between cost and value?



  1. […] 2) Outsource key time-suckers. The hiring process takes a lot of time. Many CFOs are under the impression that they can make great recruiters, with the idea that they don’t have to pay a fee. Working with an executive search firm that you trust will not only make the process easier, but will add value to you and your company. (Read: Executive Search: Do CFOs understand the difference between Cost & Value?) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *