Interview tips and questions to ask FDs & CFOs - FD Recruit

Interview tips and questions to ask FDs & CFOs

Conducting interviews for FDs or CFO positions requires careful consideration and adherence to best practices. Here are the ten most important things an interviewer must do when interviewing Finance Directors or CFOs.

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10 Essential Tips for Interviewing Finance Directors or CFOs 


Conducting interviews for Finance Directors or CFO positions requires careful consideration and adherence to best practices. As these roles are pivotal to an organisation’s financial management, it is crucial for interviewers to follow key guidelines to ensure a successful selection process. Here are the ten most important things an interviewer must do when interviewing Finance Directors or CFOs, enabling them to make well-informed decisions and select the most qualified candidates for these critical positions. 

1. Understand the Role

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the Finance Director or CFO role within your organisation. Familiarise yourself with the key responsibilities, required qualifications, and specific skills necessary for success in the position. This knowledge will guide your interview questions and enable you to effectively evaluate candidates. 

2. Prepare Relevant Questions

Craft targeted questions that assess candidates’ technical expertise, strategic thinking, problem-solving abilities, leadership skills, and communication capabilities. Tailor the questions to evaluate specific competencies crucial for Finance Directors or CFOs, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of candidates’ qualifications. See our sample interview questions.

3. Assess Technical Competence

Evaluate candidates’ technical competence in areas such as financial analysis, risk management, regulatory compliance, and financial reporting. Seek examples of their experience and accomplishments in these domains to determine their proficiency and ability to handle complex financial matters. See our Finance Director and CFO Assessments.

4. Evaluate Strategic Thinking

Assess candidates’ strategic thinking abilities by asking about their approach to financial planning, growth strategies, and aligning financial objectives with broader business goals. Look for individuals who demonstrate a forward-thinking mindset and the ability to drive financial success through well-developed strategies. See our Finance Director and CFO Assessments.

5. Analyse Problem-Solving Skills

Finance Directors and CFOs must possess strong problem-solving skills. Present candidates with hypothetical financial scenarios or case studies that require analytical thinking and strategic decision-making. Evaluate their ability to analyse complex problems, propose effective solutions, and consider potential risks and implications. 

6. Assess Leadership Competencies

Evaluate candidates’ leadership competencies by asking about their experience in leading finance teams, managing stakeholders, and driving organisational change. Look for individuals who can inspire and motivate others, foster collaboration, and effectively communicate financial strategies and objectives. 

7. Gauge Emotional Intelligence

Assess candidates’ emotional intelligence by asking behavioral-based questions that require them to describe how they have handled challenging situations or conflicts in the past. Look for individuals who exhibit self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with colleagues and stakeholders. 

8. Consider Cultural Fit

Assess candidates’ alignment with your organisation’s culture, values, and work environment. Finance Directors and CFOs often interact with various departments and stakeholders, so finding someone who fits well within the organisation is crucial. Evaluate their compatibility by exploring their work style, values, and ability to adapt to different settings. 

9. Utilise Scenario-Based Questions

Incorporate scenario-based questions that simulate real-world financial challenges, risk management scenarios, or strategic decision-making dilemmas. Evaluate candidates’ ability to think critically, make sound judgments, and propose effective solutions within these scenarios. 

10. Conduct Thorough Reference Checks and Background Screenings

While interviews provide valuable insights, it is important to supplement them with thorough reference checks and background screenings. Contact references provided by the candidates to gain additional perspectives on their performance, skills, and work ethics. Conduct background checks to verify the accuracy of their qualifications, certifications, and employment history. 


By following these ten essential tips for interviewing Finance Directors or CFOs, interviewers can conduct comprehensive and effective interviews that lead to selecting the most qualified candidates for these critical positions.

Remember to tailor questions to evaluate specific competencies, assess both technical and soft skills, and consider cultural fit. Combining a thorough interview process with reference checks and background screenings will ensure the selection of Finance Directors or CFOs who will contribute significantly to the organiation’s financial success. 

View our sample FD & CFO interview questions and also see our recommended recruitment timescales for guidance on timetabling and planning your interview stages.

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