Key milestones & timelines for hiring an FD/CFO - FD Recruit

Key milestones & timelines for hiring an FD/CFO

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The key components and timings of an FD & CFO recruitment process

According to industry research, almost half of all senior recruitment processes fail at the first attempt, incurring both time and financial costs for businesses.

This failure is often attributed to candidates withdrawing due to prolonged recruitment timelines, process delays caused by interviewers’ unavailability, and a lack of timely feedback at various stages. Here, we outline the essential components and recommended timings for a successful FD & CFO recruitment process. 

For senior hires, a meticulous recruitment process is essential to ensure you select a candidate who will be pivotal to the organisation’s success. However, you will also need to be highly organised and be able to act efficiently enough to sustain the commitment of top FD & CFO candidates. 

The best candidates will have several options and they will only want to join organisations that give the highest priority to their FD or CFO hiring strategy and it is perceived this is demonstrated through a well-structured and efficient recruitment process. 

Dropout Rates: Based on our findings (across hundreds of prior FD & CFO assignments), recruitment processes exhibit varying dropout rates depending on their duration: 

  • Processes lasting 4-8 weeks from start to finish experience a 15% dropout rate. 
  • Processes taking 8-12 weeks from start to finish witness a 33% dropout rate. 
  • Processes extending 12-16 weeks from start to finish result in a 47% dropout rate. 

Please note: Based on our experience, it is typically the most highly desirable candidates who tend to account for the majority of dropouts, which underscores the importance of eliminating any inefficiencies in your recruiting process. 

Key Components for Success:

  1. Preliminary Planning: Before initiating contact with candidates, complete administrative tasks to streamline the process. Create a recruitment timetable to coordinate everyone’s involvement and block out diaries in advance. 
  2. Shortlisting & Selection: Your recruiter should allocate approximately 3 weeks for shortlisting, with the first half dedicated to outreach and the second half to vacancy briefing conversations and pre-screening interviews. A shorter shortlisting period may lead to missing potential candidates, while a longer one might cause candidate disinterest or competition from faster-moving companies. At FD Recruit, we’ve already researched and mapped out over 90% of the Finance Director & CFO market in the UK and have contact details for many of these candidates, minimising time spent on data compilation which expedites the outreach part of the process. 
  3. Interviews & Offer: Maintain an efficient recruitment timetable by spacing each stage a week apart. This ensures momentum and allows time for preparation and feedback between stages. For presentations, schedule them in the later interview stages when candidates are more engaged. Provide feedback to candidates within 24-48 hours of the interview, even if a final decision is still pending. 
  4. Contracts & Onboarding: After receiving a verbal agreement, promptly send offer letters and contracts for formal acceptance. Consider using electronic signing software to expedite this process and prevent delays attributed to postal services. 

Efficiency and organisation are paramount in FD & CFO recruitment processes. By following these key components and timings, organisations can optimise their recruitment process, attract top candidates, and secure their commitment swiftly and effectively.  

Download our proposed milestones and key component checklist which will help maximise your chance of success. 
Also, see more detailed guidance for individual FD & CFO recruitment components on pages 3-15 of our client resources section

Use our proposed milestones and key component checklist to help maximise your chance of success

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