1. Don’t get personal too early
In a first interview leave the personal stuff until last. It’s all too easy to find out after five minutes that you support the same football team and feel a bond, which means you end up thinking each other are great! But this isn’t about finding a new best friend – it’s about whether this is the right FD for the business.
2. Talk about a failure
Bring up something you’ve had an issue with and discuss how you dealt with it – get the FD to share something which wasn’t successful with you. You find out a lot more about a person and how you will click as a team when discussing what they learnt, how they dealt with the problem than both of you talking about how well things have gone.
3. It’s not an interview – it’s a meeting
At this level it should be a meeting – not a grilling. This is your peer you are recruiting and they’ve got to want to work with you and the business just as much as you with them.
4. Think before you introduce your chosen candidate to everyone without any input/chaperoning
Really make sure that you, the rest of your board and other key people and the prospective FD understand what the agenda is for further meetings down and across the business. Are these opportunities for input to be given or are you introducing the candidate as ‘the one’? The candidate would do well not to relax too much!
5. A presentation, on a key business issue, to the board
In my opinion, this is always the best way to conclude the hiring exercise. Recruitment is a very imperfect process (‘you haven’t worked together until you’ve worked together’) but this is the closest you can both get to understanding how it might actually be when you do.
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