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Anybody need a good CFO?(13 posts)

Anybody need a good CFO?Len J
Jun 4, 2002 5:07 AM
As a result of the economy, I resigned my position & am currently looking for a job. (Good news is that, as part owner, I negotiated a pretty good severance so, for now, it's not about the money.)

I hate the job search process!

Actually, I think I got up on the wrong side of the bed today & am just avoiding getting on the phone & asking for help. (Ego is a terrible thing.)

Anyone have any wild job search stories? I need to be entertained while I avoid the "500 lb phone".

I had an interview a couple of weeks ago. The VP HR, the CEO, & the VP Manuf. and I all around the table. The VP HR & I had really hit it off on the Phone & the VP of Man. & I were really connecting in the interview. The CEO was making eye contact, nodding & generally engaged, but never asked a question. I figured that it was just the way he did it. After about 1 1/2 hour of this, the CEO asks for a 5 minute Bio break and a chance for them to caucus since we had a Dinner reservation in less than an hour. I go out of the room for 10 min or so & out comes the VP HR with a very embarrassed look on his face. He says "Well Len, unfortunatly, we are going to have to end the interview here, it's just not going to work out! The CEO prides himself on knowing within 30 minutes if he can work with someone & he doesn't think he can work with you. The reason we left you out here so long is because the VP Man & I have been trying to convince him he's wrong, but his minds made up, sorry." Unbelievable, (Ad this was after flying me 1/2 way across the country) the most unusal situitation I've ever come across. To top it off the VP HR has given me several other people to contact & has been a great help in my search. I guess it's better to know now huh.

This can really be a strange process, especially when interviewing for the level of position I am.

So what are your weird interview stories?


P.S. Thanks for letting me vent a little.
Jun 4, 2002 5:40 AM
Sometimes job searching is a bit like dating and equally as strange. Think about it, you are meeting to decide whether to spend 1/2 of your waking life together, a lot like a marriage. A rule of life I've developed that applies to both employment and personal relationships is that "you never really know someone until you break up with them." That's when people's true colors show.

I moved to Fresno from Missouri five years ago to get married. I didn't have a job lined up, and I wasn't even licensed in California. I allowed myself 30 days to find a job, but didn't really start looking for 2 weeks.

On the 30th day, I had lunch with an older real estate broker friend of the family. Half way through lunch she said that her former son-in-law is a lawyer, and she went to a pay phone in the restaurant to give him a call. She came back and said that he'd meet with me to give me some ideas, but he wasn't looking for anyone right now.

I went to meet with the guy named Ted. He spent an hour telling me all about his firm, and asked only a few questions of me. I thought to myself "this is a total waste of time." He said he had breakfast every morning at a certain diner, and I said I'd meet him for breakfast the next morning if he wanted.

I met him at 6:30 the next day. After 5 minutes he offered me a job at the salary I wanted, and I started working right after breakfast. It worked out well, and I became his partner two years later.

Sometimes it works out well. You just have to find a fit. I agree that you pretty much know it or not in the first few minutes.

The Interviewing FallacyAllisonHayes
Jun 4, 2002 6:36 AM
Count your blessings!

This CEO has fallen into the biggest pitfall of interviewing, which is basing a hiring decision upon one's first impression. (I believe HBR had some articles a couple of years ago on this subject.)

Often, those who do well in this type of interview are those who are charmers and svengalis, who know how to respond well with pithy remarks, but too often lack the substance to do the job in the long run.

Effective interviewing today is scenario based: "tell me what you would do in the following situation..." And everyone is asked the same set of questions.

Also, "Don't Hire Anyone Without Me," Quinn

Today's employers know that savvy job seekers are capable of Oscar Winning performances during interviews. But how can they separate the real performers from the imposters? Don't Hire Anyone Without Me! gives employers the ammunition they need to master the science of hiring.

Learn how to avoid the most common pitfalls of hiring such as making decisions based on skills alone, or on having a "gut feeling" about a candidate. Most interviewers do not take into consideration basic human behavior and motivation principles when making hiring decisions. By understanding the relationship that exists between an interviewer and the applicant and using it to your advantage, you'll quickly be able to ascertain skills, motivation, and whether the applicantis well suited for a given position.

Good luck, particularly at your level. Keep us posted on how it is going.
The rest of the story......Len J
Jun 4, 2002 6:46 AM
I talked to th HR guy a few days later and gogt the impression that the real issue was that the CEO is slightly insecure & that my experience intimidated him. He is young, about 35 & has never worked anywhere else. The business is a family business that recently sold to a Private equity firm & He apparently is feeling a little "over his head".

I do count my blessings on this one & chalk it up to a good practice experience.

anybody need a college grad? IB majorFender
Jun 4, 2002 7:28 AM
I'm being flied to san francisco this afternoon for an interview tomorrow. This would be my first job upon graduation. wish me luck people!!
Oh crap.rideslikeagirl
Jun 4, 2002 7:51 AM
REALLY sorry to hear that.

And, you're's a good thing you didn't get that other job. Jerk.

So, are you seriously willing to relocate for a job?
No choice really..........Len J
Jun 4, 2002 7:56 AM
No need to feel sorry, sometimes it's just the right thing to do. I'll end up where I'm supposed to be.

Relocating is pretty certain. At my level the narrower the geography, the fewer the opportunities. So I am just letting go of the outcome, working the process & trusting that I'll end up where I'm supposed to be.


re: Anybody need a good CFO?harlett
Jun 4, 2002 10:28 AM
len.when we moved to california for my work emma needed to find a new job-- she had been successful and had started to build a national reputation out of new york-- at a long dinner with my father we worked out a strategy of networking that within 2 months had produced 8 job offers-- my friend, pick up that "500lb" phone!
.i can vividly remember my father talking about accepting all the aspects of job searching and learning from them-- this particular statement still stands out in my mind..
no no no no no no yes...getting a new job in just a matter of collecting some no's--
now len, we both know that you'll find a job that will present new opportunities for you and your relax, enjoy the process and teach us all about what you "learn"-- *S*


btw.your father day suggestions made me recall many a love project i've done for mothers' and fathers' day.when we give from a honest heart we connect directly to the others heart--
100 no's followed by a yes........Len J
Jun 4, 2002 10:44 AM
Your father has it pegged.

Your also right about it being an interesting learning process. I think I was just feeling sorry for myself, I'm all better now. ;-)

"when we give from a honest heart we connect directly to the others heart" Well said, the best gifts I've both given & received have been the hardest, but also the most honest. I've tried to teach my kids that it's actually easier (& not nearly as meaningful) to spend money on a gift, but it means more when the gift is part of us.

Thanks for the encouragement...friend.

I'm ready for a "yes"Tig
Jun 5, 2002 1:12 PM
In fact, I'm ready for just an interview! 3 months without an interview (the ones with headhunters don't really count) is starting to bring me down finally. I've been to job fairs, applied for tens of near perfect match positions as well as many others that are at least close matches, and my resume is excellent. You know its bad when temp agencies don't have hardly any positions and some are already going out of business.

The one thing I can't change is the crappy job market here in Houston. This place used to be one of the best and easiest cities to find a great job. Now after Enron, Reliant, Compaq, Dynegy, and El Paso have all had major problems and layoffs, the local job market has dryed up.

Each day I'm thinking of new ways to find open positions or network through more connections. If I don't get something going by late July, we could lose the house. My wife might have oral cancer, to make not having medical insurance an even greater problem.

Sorry for moaning and whining, but I have to get it off of my chest and don't want to burden my wife with more worries. She has been a great supporter through all of this. Only now after 3 months is it starting to get to me. I won't let it keep me down though!

"Success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom." I plan to not just bounce, but fly!
Sounds like you deserve one!Len J
Jun 5, 2002 4:45 PM
Sorry to hear about your situitation.

Are you only looking in Houston or have you looked elsewhere? I learned a long time ago that jobs come from the strangest places, and the larger the geography you look at the more opportunities.

What are you looking for?

e-mail me at if you want to discuss further.

Sorry to hear about your wife, I hope she's OK.

stuck hereTig
Jun 6, 2002 7:42 AM
I have joint custody of my 6 year old son, and I have him each Wednesday evening and weekend. I couldn't stand being away from him. Otherwise I'd consider looking somewhere else for an IT job. I'm an NT and LAN systems administrator.

Dallas has plenty of jobs, but Austin is in bad shape recently. There ARE jobs here, but I believe there are dozens of applicants responding to each opening. I guess I haven't reached my quota of no's yet! After whining in here yesterday, I motivated myself to double my effort. Everything happens for a reason, and I'm sure I'll get my chance soon.

stuck hereLen J
Jun 6, 2002 8:35 AM
Sounds like you have your priorities straight, congratulations.

e-mail if you want to communicate with someone going thru some of the same things, Unfortunatly, in a job search, you have to choose who you "let your guard down" with.

Good luck to you, I'll be thinking about you.