EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Enlightened self interest

Given that the newsletter is still a little short these days, I thought I would repeat and expand on some thoughts I have had over the years as to why we share job leads.

If I may quote from our website:

The basic purpose of our group is to give individuals who have been Chief Financial Officers, Controllers, and Vice Presidents of Finance, Treasury, Tax, or Mergers & Acquisition, an opportunity to share job leads with their fellow financial executives. We make every attempt to provide leads that are useful by inviting members of our network to participate in leads in which we are ACTIVE candidates.

While at first blush this approach may appear counterintuitive, the value of any lead is in its freshness. Time is the enemy. Keep in mind that you are never the only candidate. If a recruiter is going to submit other names, they may as well be friends of yours.

We operate on the theory that in today’s world, by the time one is no longer a candidate for a position, it is effectively dead on arrival. The sharing of only old leads is a disservice to all involved. I believe that our bond of friendship and trust makes the sharing of active searches possible. I will not in any way police or monitor your performance on this issue. You will need to make up your own mind regarding the value to you of your FULL participation.

Our lead package is never to be shared with non-members for the following reasons:

First, membership is free, so anyone who you feel should participate in sharing our leads need only contact us. Participants should understand the principles of our group, because in many respects they run against the ingrained tendencies of financial types to be secretive. As new members discover almost immediately, there are typically others in the group who know about each and every lead, so it pays to share.

Second, and related to the first is the word participate. Those listening in on our leads and membership directory without PARTICIPATING are doing those who ARE actively participating a disservice. Some of our leads are specifically noted for distribution to others. For the most part, these are less senior positions.

However, those leads which include “please use my name in contacting” and generally speaking leads for positions being handled by retained search firms, are not for distribution outside of our network. Recruiters are always afraid they will lose control of a search by having it broadcast too widely. Confidentiality and professionalism is vital on our part to keep recruiters as allies in our respective searches.

Each member is asked to abide by these guidelines.

With regard to “please use my name” leads, it is asked that you only respond to positions for which you are reasonably qualified. If the compensation is clearly beyond your level, or if the criteria listed don’t represent at least a 75% match with your background, consider not responding. It is important to all of us that we not “wallpaper” our retained search leads.

So much for the “party line,” all of which is true, and all of which I hope everyone will come to accept as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And, as I have been heard to say, “Better a friend gets the job than a stranger.”

The enlightened self interest part comes into play with regard to the fact that we are always trying to build personal relationships. There are relationships with other members to consider. There are relationships with search firms to consider. And, there are relationships with networking contacts to consider. All are enhanced and strengthened by sending highly qualified friends from our august body out into the world.

The most powerful words in the world are “please use my name.” They not only provide a more open door for other members, they also enhance your stature with those you send their way.

Just think about the fact that if you post a lead your name will be repeated perhaps 50 times. If that doesn’t burn you and your background into the memory of the person on the other end, I don’t know what will.

If you hold your business contacts close to your vest and never share them with another person, just how likely is it really that they will even remember you? The truth is that only by using your business contacts frequently do they have any real value to YOU.

If you have concerns that those responding will in some manner “burn” the person recruiting for some position, coordinate it yourself. Yes, it will involve a little work, but it may be worth it if it lowers your concerns. You are not obligated to forward all who respond. You may sit in judgment if you choose. If the job in question is one that also represents a fit with your background, it can make sense to do this. It is the world’s easiest way to build your very own “inner circle of friends” of those who share your background, interests and strengths.

At a minimum, you may want those applying to call you or at least share their interest in the position you have posted. Sharing knowledge is what The FENG is all about.

Sharing leads is not just what we do, or your obligation. It is just plain smart!

Regards, Matt

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