In a larger organization the Director of Finance is the bridge between the CFO, VP and senior managers. They need to be able to ramp up quickly, gain buy-in and likely deliver under tight timelines. Regardless of why you’re in a position to hire a contract Director of Finance, here are some interview questions to help you select an all-star candidate.
1) Why does this role make sense at this point in your career?
It’s critical to establish alignment between your organization and what the candidate hopes to get out of the experience.
Pro Tip: You may also want to start the interview by explaining the genesis of the role. Total transparency is key here.
2) You’ll be leading a system implementation of x. Tell us about your past experience with x and a challenge that you navigated successfully.
State the goal of the position and then determine if the candidate’s past experience will allow him or her to achieve the deliverable.
Read: “What Does it Take to Make a Director of Finance Great” to gain insight into traits that the best directors of finance possess.
3) Explain how you’ve effectively bridged the gap between the CFO, VP and senior managers in the past.
You’re looking for someone who can operate at both a high level and a granular basis. Great candidates are those who have been part of the strategic development for an organization, but who have also mobilized key personnel to deliver a plan on time. Bonus points for someone who’s willing to roll up their sleeves close to deadline to make sure things get done.
4) How would you gain buy-in from a team who knows that you are only in a contract role?
You’ll need someone who marries technical competency with strong interpersonal skills. The candidate’s answer should reveal that they understand that no one owes them allegiance based on a corporate hierarchy. Instead, an ability to work with their team in the trenches and make people better through exposure to their expertise and skill set can be a way to gain buy-in.
Read: For more questions read “Hiring a Contract Director of Finance? Ask These Questions in Your Interview.”
The Director of Finance is a critical role in any organization. You need someone who can stabilize the finance function, deliver in ambiguity and gain buy-in quickly. If he or she leads by example and demonstrates a willingness to get into the trenches if the situation calls for it, then you have someone who will be an asset to your organization.
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