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What Makes a CFO Recruiter Great?

Kristin Bachman
4 min read

As a company grows, it needs a powerful C-suite to guide its way. Just as important as the Chief Operating Officer (COO), a CFO is the top financial position in a company. Filling a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position can be challenging and lengthy. There’s serious competition for top talent, and finding the right candidate can be time-consuming and costly.

Employers needing a new CFO may use an executive recruiting firm to help locate a quality candidate. Companies should perform their due diligence when choosing a recruiting firm — not all of them are created equal.

This article explores the factors that employers should consider when partnering with a recruiting firm, what a CFO recruiter does, and what to look for in a recruiting firm partnership.


What does a CFO recruiter do?

An executive recruiter must find the most influential visionaries for the company. C-suite recruiting requires a special skill set, great connections, and the ability to match candidates with a long list of company requirements. Finding highly qualified CFO candidates takes experience, skill, and determination. We might argue that the best CFO recruiters are part mathematician, part salesperson, and part human resources manager!

CFO recruiters must form solid connections with employers, understand their requirements for the role, and accept the hiring timeline. Then, they must find and screen top applicants, link the two parties, and manage the negotiations. It's far from simple, especially with the hiring challenges in the current market. A 2020 study by Jobvite finds that 58% of recruiters find a lack of qualified candidates to be their biggest challenge.


Key characteristics to look for in an executive recruiter

Choosing a recruiter that can help you find a senior-level finance executive that meets your needs means knowing what to look for upfront. Finding the best recruiter can give you access to better talent, thus helping you fill your role more effectively. Here are four characteristics to look for in an executive headhunter:

Has a vast executive network

Choose a financial executive recruiting firm that’s been in the business several years. Hands-on experience placing CFOs enables recruiters to build numerous relationships with the types of executives you seek for your role. An executive recruiter should have a long list of contacts along with the candidates’ preferences for job positions, companies, and benefits. 

The best recruiters can offer you insight into the candidate before you ever decide to interview them. At the same time, recruiters know what their CFO talent pool considers to be a dream job. Accessing this intel saves you time and resources by only spending time on applicants that could be a good fit for your company's needs.

Uses tools to speed up the CFO executive search

Manual processes are time wasters. Your CFO recruiter should have processes that automate these tedious processes to reduce the time to fill a position. Using tools that maximize efficiency helps recruiters spend more time finding qualified candidates than handling busy work.

Some tasks normally automated are background checks, applications, and onboarding. Before choosing a recruiter, ask how they leverage automation to make their processes more productive and efficient.

Provides personalized recruiting services for your organization

Your company probably won’t find a top CFO if your executive search company employs a one-size-fits-all approach to finding your candidates. Reputable companies like Hunt Club tailor their search methods to each organization's needs and offer support along the way to make any necessary adjustments. This methodology may include referrals, digging into their established candidate relationships, and leveraging technology. The recruiter should use your specific needs to find the job seekers that best align with your role.

Offers continuous support throughout the executive search

You should expect check-ins, updates, and support during every part of the search process. Ask your CFO recruiter how they will keep you informed of progress, what you should do if you have a question, and what their typical cadence for staying in touch is. 

It's important to note that there should be multiple ways for you to reach them to ask questions or report issues during the recruiting period. If it's hard to get a hold of your recruiter or they seem unwilling to answer your questions, you should look for another partner.

Average salary and compensation for CFOs

An executive staffing company will need information about the role to target candidates from their talent pool properly. The fight for top talent is tough, so you must ensure your salary and compensation are within a competitive range. According to Salary.com, the average yearly salary for a CFO is approximately $417,000.

Of course, compensation expectations differ depending on the company's size and location. For example, Los Angeles, New York City, and Dallas locations may pay more for a CFO, while smaller areas like Shreveport, Lexington, and Kansas City may pay less. Also, some companies offer other compensation for CFOs that may include hefty bonuses and stock options.


The 4 CFO profiles explained

The CFO job description may vary across companies and industries; one company might need a particular skill set for their CFO role, while another company may need totally different competencies. Similarly, some CFOs have certain challenges and priorities that those in other industries could never imagine. Identifying which profile you’re hiring for can help your recruiter find the best talent that fits your unique role. You can bucket your CFO profile into one of four buckets:


1. The financial mastermind

This CFO profile offers broad experience in all things related to the position. You can count on a financial mastermind to join the leadership team and immediately begin making a mark on several areas of the company’s financial picture.

Startups, companies trying to scale, and companies with a less-than-stellar financial department can all benefit from a financial mastermind CFO to build processes and set the standard protocols for controlling, compliance, planning, and reporting.


2. The multi-talented jack of all trades

This CFO profile usually offers experience gleaned from their work at multiple companies throughout their career. In addition to financial functions, a jack of all trades may have experience in marketing, operations, and other vital aspects of the business. However, they may not have the level of technical expertise that the financial mastermind does. Companies that need a person who can influence decisions and help move company initiatives forward may get what they need with this CFO profile.


3. The achievement leader

An achievement CFO profile means the person will focus on making changes that create efficiency and productivity to produce measurable results. This person is probably not a first-time CFO. One of their main focuses is usually standardizing processes to create cohesive processes. Companies that need better analytics and metrics to measure progress and drive growth would benefit from an achievement leader CFO.


4. The change agent CFO

This CFO profile usually offers experience with mergers and acquisitions. They offer strategic insight into how to reallocate resources and create seamless transitions during periods of change. Businesses and industries experiencing significant disruptions may find a change agent CFO to be their best choice.



Find your next CFO with Hunt Club’s help

Finding the perfect CFO to manage your company’s expectations and work with its leadership team is essential to maintaining your growth trajectory. Working with a reputable executive staffing firm can fast-track you to bring in top talent. Specifically, a CFO recruiter can analyze your needs and use their deep talent pool to find the person who best fits your role. 

Do you need assistance finding your next (or first) CFO but don’t think a traditional staffing firm will meet your needs? Partner with Hunt Club and let us use our relationships with subject-matter experts to help you source, qualify, and hire talent. We will function just like part of your team to help you find top performers who will contribute to your organization’s success — contact us to learn more.

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