Interview questions for a financial director - The Finance Team

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Interview questions for a financial director

Finding the right financial director for your business can be a long drawn out process. Financial directors are not only responsible for the company’s wellbeing, but they also play an integral role with regard to strategy and growth of a business.

Below are some (Not Exhaustive) key interview questions to ask the potential financial director that will help you choose the best candidate for the position of financial director.

Always plan your interview and try and ask the candidates the same questions as these will provide a benchmark when selecting the best financial director for your company. If your interview process is lacking strategic thought, you’re likely to miss out on valuable insight, both positive and negative, on your financial director candidates. This approach, or lack thereof, could lead to making the wrong hires and lead to future retainment issues. Posing a variety of particular questions will help you uncover the passion, cultural fit, work ethic, and problem-solving abilities of your potential financial director.

We have formulated a list of interview questions for a financial director that will allow you to get more out of your interview process.

What drives you?

By asking this question you are able to get insight into what motivates the potential financial director. Always try and ascertain if they are motivated by the money or the drive to problem solve and create success for the company. Keep in mind, the desire to make money doesn’t necessarily equate to a sufficient drive to succeed or real passion for the business. It often comes with limitations.

What can you bring to this role that other financial directors can’t?

This question allows you to gauge if the candidate deserves your attention. It could be their precise industry experience, achievements in their career, or even their unique personality. How the candidate answers will give you a good indication of the potential financial director’s confidence. This question is important for testing your candidate’s level of confidence — is it too much or just right?

What hurdles or obstacles have you overcome?

Posing this question will help you key into the financial director’s ability to overcome adversity or challenges throughout their career. This question will help judge the tenacity of the candidate. For example, if they were retrenched previously you would want to know why and how they moved forward subsequent to the retrenchment.

What would previous employers have to say about you?

Focusing on what employers and ex co-workers feel about the candidate is essential to finding out whether they’re a match for the position and your company as a whole. Always write down what your candidate shares with you and follow up with their references to see if the descriptions match. Don’t only follow up with previous employers given as a reference. Follow up with previous employers not specifically mentioned.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

This question is of vital importance. You do not want to invest time and money with a financial director that does not have long term goals with your company. If the candidate answers “I don’t know” then perhaps they are not the right executive for the position, however, if they express a desire to grow and be part of your organisation then they are worth consideration. Employing a financial director who is just looking for a “here and now” type of position won’t do you any favours in terms of a long-term hire. Watch out for ‘standard’ answers that sound more like wishful thinking than actual long-term plans.

Are you adverse to working long hours?

Being the financial director of a company can be a stress filled and taxing position. If you are overseeing a company’s wellbeing it may require longer hours, especially for the new hire who needs to familiarise themselves with new systems and processes of the organisation. How the potential financial director answers will allow you to gauge the commitment to the organisation.

What do you know about our company, our competition, and our industry as a whole?

Asking your candidates to sum up your company and their industry knowledge will give insight into how much research they did prior to the interview.  Candidates who do not know much or are unable to respond to this question in some detail are not the type of financial director you want for your business. If the candidate has actually spent time researching your company and the services offered, then they will be able to provide you with a comprehensive answer. It will give you a good indication on the thoroughness and level of dedication of the person being interviewed.

Speaking in broad term, it can take up to six months to find the right financial director for a company due to the rigorous interview processes. The problem is that most companies can’t wait 6 months without a senior financial executive in place to steer the ship in the interim whilst sourcing the permanent Financial Director. There are financial outsourcing companies, like The Finance Team, that can help with this exact challenge. They provide highly experienced financial directors and chief financial officers on a part time or interim basis to ensure the company’s operations and financial department still operate at their peak. These part time or interim financial directors are highly qualified and experienced across a multitude of industries so are able to bring immediate benefit to the organisation.

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