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CFO Coach: Are You Poachable?

  • By Cindy Kraft
  • Published: 2012-07-27

A recent article in The Wall Street Journalwarned about “the CFO poach.” You know what that is, right? Recruiters who make it their daily sport to steal top-notch CFOs away from their otherwise satisfied positions with the dazzle of an even bigger and better opportunity. And trust me, recruiters thrive on winning the poaching prize.

But that scenario begs the question: are you poachable?

Are you gainfully employed?

True or not, the perception is that if you are still employed, it is because you are among the best of the top talent in that space. Rarely, if ever, are A-players let go. Rather, A-players MOVE of their own volition.

There are very qualified and top-notch unemployed finance executives and CFOs. However, the reality is, if you aren’t employed you can’t be poached.

Do you have value positioning?

I really can’t stress enough how important it is to understand the difference between features (what you do) and benefits (how you deliver), and then ensure that benefits (your value) drive your messaging.

A typical career track for a finance chief is a degree in accounting or finance, a CPA, an MBA, a stint in accounting (public or private), and then they climb through the ranks with ever-increasing responsibilities. Those are features. They are what you and every other potential candidate have. They are the things that are assumed and expected. They position you as a commodity even if they are part of the requirements of an open position.

Value is rooted in your ability to solve problems and challenges, mitigate risky situations, resolve issues that are obstacles to profitability, and take away a company’s pain. When you are positioned from value, you are also positioned to get the best opportunity at the highest salary.

Are you known?

You can be the greatest thing since sliced bread in your organization, but if the people who need to know about you OUTSIDE the company don’t even know you exist ... you won’t be poached.

While Finance Executives are still leery of social media, having a complete and compelling LinkedIn profile isn’t an option today. It’s a necessity. Even if it isn’t the “first” thing a recruiter looks at, eventually it will be viewed to affirm credibility. No presence? No affirmation. No credibility.

Beyond online opportunities, those finance chiefs who want to build branded visibility have several other options. If you enjoy writing, consider positioning yourself as a subject matter expert via a blog. If you have some area of finance expertise, perhaps you could be a speaker or panelist at industry conferences. Instead of being a card-carrying member of an organization, step up and assume a leadership role.

If you are gainfully employed but you are not routinely getting calls from recruiters about opportunities that are a great fit for you, a definite step up from what you’re currently doing, and which would allow you to do more of what you most enjoy doing... maybe it’s time to ask yourself, “where are all the poachers?”
Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach. Reach Cindy at Cindy@CFO-Coach.com, 813-655-0658, or at www.CFO-Coach.com. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2015 Association for Financial Professionals, Inc.
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