Four Reasons for an Extended Job Search

In a recent phone conversation with a prospective CFO client, he asked me how long a job search might take. It’s a firebomb question, and the truth can be discouraging. It might take 3 months, 6 months, or more than a year. Because I want my clients to be reasonable in their expectations of what is ahead in that land mine known as “job search,” I am truthful with them.

My expertise is in creating a cohesive value message and giving my clients the tools to conduct an effective job search. However, the job market is the job market and the hiring process is incredibly flawed. That said, there are a few reasons why a job search can take longer than it should. These are my top 4 reasons why a job search may be extended … and age is not one of them.

Position you are seeking

There are limited Chief Financial Officer opportunities. In fact, opportunities are limited across the board in the C-suite. Add to that fact that hopefully you are seeking the right-fitting opportunity and not just any opportunity, and you can reasonably expect that your job search may be longer than you would like.

At the risk of beating a dead horse …

Lack of planning

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Because it can take time to secure that next right-fitting opportunity, it is incumbent upon a serious executive candidate to create and execute a job search plan in anticipation of a move well in advance of actually needing or wanting to move.

Keep in mind that the passive candidate (one who is open to new opportunities AND employed) has much more power (to negotiate a compensation package) than does the unemployed candidate. I am not saying that is right or fair; merely, that is the case more often than not.

One mitigating factor to my last statement is …

Strength of your network

I’ve covered this in my prior blog post. I find one of two things typical with my finance leaders. Either they have no network or they are not using their network effectively. If you truly want that next, right opportunity … the strength of your network and the effective use of your network matters.

Geographic area

You miss 100% of the opportunities that never cross your path. When you throw too narrow of a net in your job search, i.e., too small of a geographic area, the pool for those limited opportunities shrinks even further.

Two things happen when a geographic area is expanded. You may hear about …

– a dream opportunity in a location you just might be open to considering; or

– an opportunity right smack dab (that is a southern term of precision) in your preferred geographic area.

If you want to discuss how I can help you maximize your unique value in order to leverage your power positioning, give me a call.

Copyright CFO-Coach 2017


Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach and America’s leading Career & Personal Brand Strategist for Corporate Finance Executives helping clients understand their marketability, articulate their value, and position themselves as the clear and compelling choice. She is a Certified Reach Personal Brand Strategist, Certified Reach Online Identity Strategist, Certified Career Management Coach, Certified Professional Resume Writer, and Job & Career Transition Coach. Cindy can be reached via email, by phone 813-727-3037, or through her website at


CFOs, Gen Y’s, and SMAGs

There’s a fascinating (well at least I thought so) post on Antisocial Recruiter Networking by Michael Goldberg, a talent acquisition leader. His article is based on a New York Times article on the effects of social media on our kids.

What in the world does that have to do with you? Stay with me for a moment.

Last week’s poll in SmartBrief for CFOs was around using social media in the workplace. There was a 50 / 50 split between those who had a social media policy in place or were investigating one and those who had a firewall prohibiting it or were just clueless. 

There is so much to lose on both a personal and professional level for executives who choose not to embrace the power of Web 2.0 technology. Social media is here and it’s trending north. 

When kids get cell phones at the age of 8 and spend all day texting and FBing friends … recognize they are your potential hires when they graduate from college. Young adults are, and will be, more tech-savvy than any of us old-timers can ever hope to be. Will they want to work for an executive team that has a strict anti-social networking policy in place or is clueless about what engaging with the public and customers or clients through social media can do for the business? If you did manage to hire them, would you expect them to stay in a culture of dinosaurs for long? Recruiting is expensive. Recruiting top talent … and keeping them … is painful.

And for finance executives who still have years left to contribute to a brilliant career … will you ever be able to compete with a social media savvy 45-year old finance executive candidate when you are 55? I hear “age discrimination” bandied about frequently. No question it exists. Some of it though is brought about by a defiance around change. It’s not how I got to the top and I have no intention of learning/using/participating now. 

Isn’t it great that we have free will and free choice … accompanied, of course, by taking responsibility for our decisions! 

BTW, SMAG = Social Media Age Group

The War for Talent, Part 2

The War for Senior Executive Talent is just beginning to heat up. Interesting, and useful, information in the article, "Baby Boomer Brain Drain Looms."

–– The long-dreaded era of Baby Boomer retirements has finally dawned, and with the oldest Boomers turning 62 this year, the fallout may reach epic proportions in the early years of the next decade.

Where “age discrimination” used to be rampant, up-and-coming top–performing senior executives with a clear and compelling marketable value proposition will be in hot demand.

–– That means many companies will be hard-pressed to shore up their finance functions with leaders as experienced as those they have had until now.

Those passive candidates who are in demand will have even more opportunities coming their way, with salaries and incentives to match their potential to contribute.

–– The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over the next 10 years there will be a 15 percent decline in workers age 35 to 54, concurrent with a 25 percent increase in demand.

Statistics validate that the War for Senior Executive Talent is indeed heating up!

And the importance of grooming successors is growing. Coaching, mentoring, and grooming those coming up behind you is the single most important thing you can do for the future generations (our children and grandchildren).

–– "We are seeing movement now, a real urgency that even 18 months ago did not exist," said David de Wetter, senior consultant for human resources transformation at Watson Wyatt Worldwide.

There is still skepticism about a shortage of talent in the States … just wait another 18 months. While commodity candidates may still be denying a shortage of talent, top–performing candidates will have their choice of opportunities.

Which makes me wonder how that will impact the current statistic that the average tenure of a CFO is currently a mere three years!

–– Another shift, according to de Wetter, is that some companies are moving away from grooming specific people for specific future executive roles in favor of a more fungible approach. The idea is to create leadership pools, composed of people who display qualifications as leaders that are transferable enterprise-wide.

This is such an interesting concept. Given the community– and colloraborative–mindedness of the Baby Busters and Mosaics, this strategy might actually work! “Leaders often remind us that what got us where we are is not the same stuff that will get us where we want to go.” George Barna

–– Losing any top talent is bad enough, but corporations face the very real fact that they will lose a majority of their top talent in a very short time span.

That projection should scare most companies while making A–players jump for joy. Of course, if you are a top–performing finance executive who can’t be found by the people who need to know about you … there might not be any reason for you to jump.