LinkedIn vs. Resume – The discussion continues

CFO Coach Cindy Kraft blogged CFOs and LinkedIn, the Evolution. The blog discusses the story of a recruitment firm that would only be focusing on working with CFOs that have a LinkedIn Profile.

My readers will know that I am a big proponent of LinkedIn for CFOs (or any other executive). You can read my previous blogs on the subject:

While I am a fan of LinkedIn for CFOs, I think that people that are looking to hire CFOs (search firms included) that focus solely on LinkedIn are missing a large pool of talent.

Today, it is easier than ever to find talent using LinkedIn. This makes companies and some recruiters (retained and contingency firms) take shortcuts to find talent.

Is LinkedIn a great place to find talent?


Is it the only place to find talent?

Absolutely not. (Read: When hiring a CFO, is LinkedIn the place to look? )

Finding talent is easy. Finding the best talent to meet the needs of a company is not. Securing that talent is even harder. Ensuring that the talent is hired, stays and delivers multiples of the value of the cost spent on hiring and compensating that talent is why a company decides to work with a quality executive search firm in the first place.

What lessons can CFOs (or other executives) learn from this?

Executives that are not actively searching for their next opportunity beware: You want to be hired by a company that understands the value of executive search and is willing to retain a quality search firm to not only find you, but secure you and keep you for the long term.

CFOs need to understand these HR numbers.

I was interviewed last week on DriveThruHR with Brian Wempen. (You can listen to the interview here). We discussed the relationship between Human Resources and Finance. Being that the audience was mostly HR people, I challenged these HR people to understand how to become valuable to the CFO and the Finance Team.

This week, I would like to discuss the value of HR to Finance. And I found some numbers to back it up. (Most CFOs I know like numbers).

I spotted this interesting blog by Dr. John Sullivan which brought  to my attention a Boston Consulting Group study which discussed the value of HR Processes on Profit Growth, Profit Margin and Total Improvement.

I recommend reading the entire post to get the full details of which HR Processes add most value.

But I would like to bring to the CFOs attention the following results from the survey.

Recruitment is the most valuable HR function to a company.

OnBoarding and Retention is the second most valuable HR function.

Questions to CFOs:

    1. Do you find that these HR processes are most valuable to you and your company?
    2. Does your current solution (internal and external) provide you with this high level value?

If you’ve answered no, give me a call. We need to talk.


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How a Recruiter sees a Candidate (You may not like the analogy)

I thoroughly enjoyed a posting this week by my friend Bruce Powell from IQ Partners in Toronto titled What To Say (And NOT To Say) When A Headhunter Calls. He gave excellent and practical tips that can be very helpful to people that are either actively looking for their next opportunity, or open to hearing about another opportunity that could be career changing.

The post was nice to read because I’ve heard many of the “Don’t Say’s” as well as the “Do Say’s” in recent weeks. After reading the blog, I posted a comment on Bruce’s Posting on LinkedIn and went about my day.

Some of the other comments that followed disturbed me and got me thinking…

Many people do not understand recruitment.

By this I mean the business of Recruitment.

Recruitment is a business unlike most others. The closest similar business is Real Estate, an agency business where the seller pays a fee. In Recruitment, the buyer (Employer) pays a fee. This means that the Recruiter has a fiduciary business relationship with the Employer.

For more information about the business of recruitment, you can read this Wikipedia posting, or this very useful guide from the Association of Executive Search Consultants.

The unfortunate thing is that many people who have dealt with Recruiters as candidates feel that they do not get serviced properly by them. Complaints of phone calls unreturned, lack of information updates on the opportunity they were called about, and not getting full and timely information that will be beneficial to them are complaints that can be heard over and over again.

And in many cases, these complaints have merit.

Excellent Recruiters like Bruce (and myself), try really hard to build solid relationships with candidates and provide them with the best service possible. However, even Excellent Recruiters have room to improve in this regard (I’m talking about myself here, not Bruce). Excellent Recruiters understand that they need to continually work to improve their relationships with their candidates.

But remember…

Recruitment is a SALES business, and the EMPLOYER is the CUSTOMER.

So if the employer is the customer, what is the individual candidate?

You may not like the analogy, but all you are is INVENTORY.

Not only are you inventory, you are like inventory that is on consignment.

Recruitment is the only business in the world where the ‘product’ decides

    • Which customer they want to go to, if any
    • What they want to get paid
    • How long they will stay at the customer
    • If they will start work at the customer

So, as a candidate, how do you move beyond being seen as only INVENTORY?

Following Bruce’s “Do Say’s” is a good start.

Can you share examples of how you add value to your relationships with Recruiters?

Related Previous Posts:

1 key difference between your LinkedIn Profile and Resume

I have written about whether a CFO (or any executive) needs a Resume in addition to their LinkedIn Profile. I made the point that a resume isn’t always necessary. My friend Cindy Kraft disagreed with me. We can both be right at the same time, can’t we?

While LinkedIn Profiles are great for building personal brand and getting attention when looking (or not looking) for a job, there is one key difference between the LI Profile and your resume.

Your resume – needs to be updated when looking (actively or passively) for your next role.

Your LinkedIn ProfileMUST always be up to date.

 Why MUST your LinkedIn Profile always be up to date?

I will give you insight into something that annoys your favorite Executive Search consultant.

Companies hire my firm (Stanton Chase International) to help them hire the most appropriate executive. When working on a mandate, I use LinkedIn (in addition to other tools and methods) to do research on the people that I would like to speak with to see if they are a potential fit for my client.

Do you know what happens when I’m looking for someone who could be interesting for my search, yet they are no longer working for the company they say they are working for on LinkedIn?

They miss an opportunity.

Do you want to make sure you are found when people have an opportunity for you?

Keep your LinkedIn Profile up to date.


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The best time of the year to hire is…

… Summer.

Most people would think that summer is the worst time to hire because people are on vacation and business slows down over the summer months.

From my experience, summer is the best time to hire. Executives are spending less time in meetings. They have time do the important things they haven’t had time for the rest of the year; like planning for their human capital needs, meeting with and hiring the key people they need for their team.

If you’re an employer – don’t push off your hiring for the fall. Take advantage of the lull to hire the best people for your team.

If you’re looking for your next challenge – don’t assume no one is in the office and hiring now. Summer is a great time to network and re-engage with the people that know you, like you and trust you.

Have you ever taken advantage of summer to hire or be hired?

The Value of “Thank You”

Most parents drill their children to say “thank you” when receiving something from someone. People that meet children judge their parents favorably when the children are polite and say “thank you”.

There is a good chance as a child your parents ‘strongly suggested’ you write Thank You Cards for birthday and other gifts received from relatives and family friends.

In today’s age of instant communications, is saying “Thank You” a lost art?

People say “Thank You” all the time. “ty” is the new “Thank You”. However a text message or email or LinkedIn message is easy, and has less impact. How you say Thank You is important. Taking effort to communicate your thanks is much more effective than saying these two words in passing.

When you want to make a difference and want to be remembered, go out of your way when saying thank you. This applies in a job interview context as well as networking. The cost of a card and a postage stamp is minimal compared to the return you receive on being remembered and staying top of mind.

Stand out from your peers. Buy a set of cards and stamps and keep them on your desk. Use them liberally. Write notes with meaning and value in your own handwriting. I guarantee an excellent return on investment.

When was the last time you sent a Thank You Card?

Does a CFO Need a Résumé?

Focus has its benefits. So does the world of social media.

Working in Executive Search, I have focused on delivering human resources of the financial kind to companies for over 11 years now. For the past couple of years, I have put significant time into a sustained and targeted social media effort to let companies (new, current and previous) and CFOs know that I understand them.

As part of this focus and effort, companies ask me to help them hire their CFOs, Chief Financial Officers ask me to help them build their finance teams, and Finance Executives reach out to me when they are in between career opportunities.

When I speak with CFOs, they ask me for my feedback on their résumé. Although I can say that I have read thousands of résumés in my career, I do not consider myself a résumé expert. From time to time I may have a piece of advice that could make the document more effective, but this is not where I add value to a Finance Executive in search of their next opportunity.

On the topic or résumés, I came across a couple of items that piqued my interest recently.

CFO Magazine published an article by David Rosenbaum entitled No Résumés Required. The title interested me. The article was interesting and worth reading, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be about. It did give me the impetus to write this blog piece, so I’m grateful to CFO Magazine for publishing it and to David for writing it.

Cindy Kraft wrote a blog titled I Just Disagree…, where she discusses her disagreement with résumé experts who recommend regular modifying of résumés depending on the position job applications. My comments on Cindy’s blog caused her to disagree with me (finally – we see eye to eye on many topics). It wasn’t actually a disagreement, but when someone says “Interesting perspective, Samuel” what they really mean is…

The premise I made in my comments on Cindy’s blog were:

CFOs who are working don’t need a résumé to attract a new opportunity. All they need is a well done LinkedIn Profile. If the person that finds them needs a résumé, they can use their LinkedIn Profile as a base. I’ve interviewed many quality people based on their LinkedIn Profile alone.

If a CFO has really done their homework and is visible, marketable and branded, the only time they need a résumé is when they are actively looking for their next opportunity.

In essence, there are 2 types of CFOs that can be hired.

  • Employed
  • Unemployed

The Unemployed CFO certainly does need a résumé, because it is (for now, this may change in the coming years) the recognized tool of a job seeker and the people that take employment applications.

The Employed CFO does not need a résumé, nor does he or she need to take the time to prepare one. They are not looking for a job. What an employed CFO needs is to have an appropriate Personal Brand developed, which includes, but certainly not limited to, an effective LinkedIn Profile. When I’m looking for CFOs, my research is wide and varied, and is based on the needs of my client. Whether an Employed CFO has a résumé or not is irrelevant to me. What is relevant is their experience. If they have a proper Personal Branding strategy that leaves an appropriate digital footprint, it certainly makes it easier for me and my team to find them.

I keep on being amazed every week when finalizing my team’s CFO Moves blog, and finding that CFOs who are being hired have a weak LinkedIn Profile, or none at all. In some ways, it makes me wonder how these CFOs get their new job. (Read: When hiring a CFO, is LinkedIn the place to look? ) It does prove that CFOs get their next career opportunities from various sources, but mostly from people that already know them and trust them.

Unemployed CFOs need marketing materials. A solid résumé is still necessary today, in addition to proper Personal Branding.

Employed CFOs do not need a résumé. They just need to have a proper Personal Branding Strategy. If a recruiter asks them for a résumé, they can politely mention that they are not actively looking for an opportunity at this time, and would ask them to refer to their (always) current LinkedIn Profile as a substitute.

Companies hire people, not résumés.

Why work with Stanton Chase to hire your next CFO?

CFO Search is a topic that I am passionate about, and have written about before touching on topics such as:

4 Reasons you should use an Executive Search Firm when hiring your CFO

When hiring a CFO, is LinkedIn the place to look?

How do you replace your CFO?

New CFOs and the Entrepreneurial CEO – How to make it work

CEO and Investors: Are you ready for your First CFO?

(You can read all my CFO Search related topics by clicking on this link.)

You will notice that in these blogs I discuss why you should be using an executive search firm to hire your Chief Financial Officer. I have not, to date, written about why you should work with Stanton Chase to hire your next CFO.

I could list generic reasons here, but the reality is that as a company looking for your next Chief Financial Officer, you have challenges in your search that are specific to your situation.

This is where the CFO Search Team at Stanton Chase can help.

If you are looking to hire your next CFO, before you make your decision on an executive search firm, you should consider Stanton Chase.

For more information on Stanton Chase’s CFO Executive Search Practice, Process and Team, complete the form below to receive a copy of our brochure.

CFOs & Recruiters, Redux

My friend Cindy Kraft wrote a blog yesterday called “Recruiter Relationships“. The topic is near and dear to me, so I had to comment as I couldn’t help myself. You can read my comments on Cindy’s blog and add to it if you’d like.

The topic of CFOs and their relationships with recruiters is not a new one for me. I’ve written about it before here, here, here, here and here.

This paragraph of Cindy’s got my attention:

What a waste of time for all concerned when recruiters contact CFOs for opportunities that are obviously not a good fit. Which begs the question, who is responsible for ensuring that recruiters can make an assessment based on a crystal clear value proposition and fit for culture?

So who is responsible?

Companies hire recruiters. Recruiters are working a search for a CFO using what they believe is the best approach to help the company hire. If the wrong approach is used for hiring a CFO, it is the company that hires the recruiter that bears the responsibility. If they chose the wrong type of firm for their CFO Search, then it shows that the company may be more interested in factors other than the right CFO for their needs.

Who do you think is responsible?


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Where do CFOs Move the Most?

When we started the CFO Moves Blog in September 2011, our goal was to track CFO Movements (Hires, ‘Unhires’ and Appointments) across the United States on a weekly basis. Our information comes to us from news releases and articles, as well as information provided to us by companies and CFOs.

The information reported weekly is not a report an all CFO Movement in the country, but is (in my opinion) an indicator of overall CFO Movement. The good news is that CFOs are continuing to get hired in this economy.

I will continue sharing insights we have learned from our CFO Moves Blog. Last month we shared some valuable insight on the relationship between CFO Movement and LinkedIn. (When hiring a CFO, is LinkedIn the place to look?) In the coming weeks, we plan to share some more details on what we learned in 2011. (If you don’t want to miss any of our insights on CFO Moves, click the Sign Me Up button on the right column of this page to receive our blog in your email)

Here are two indicators of where CFOs move.

1) Geography

Almost one-quarter of all CFO Movement reported was in California. The next 4 states with high CFO Movement were New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Florida. We also noticed that almost every state was represented in our CFO Moves Blog in 2011.

What we learned:

• CFOs are hired all across the United States. States with larger populations have a higher proportion of CFO Movement.

• California and Massachusetts have over twice the proportion of CFO Moves than they do of their percentage of the population of the United States. We believe this may be due to the higher proportion of growth companies (hi-tech and bio-tech/healthcare) in the market.

2) Publicly Listed

Considering that most of the information we received for our CFO Blogs came from press releases in 2011, we found it interesting that the majority of companies (51.7%) were not publicly listed.

What we learned:

• CFO Moves are not only reported by publicly listed companies, which are required to let their shareholders know about major executive moves, but are also reported by non-public companies.

• Non-public companies, which include venture-backed, not-for-profit entities and subsidiaries of publicly-owned companies, see PR value in letting the world know about their CFO Moves (The CFO: PR Rockstar?)

Do you have any insights or questions on these points that you would like to share? Please share your thoughts below.