EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

One of my friends used to call me “the can do” guy. (Now he calls me “Mr. Chairman.”) I know he meant it in the nicest possible way and I suppose that in many respects I am the can do guy. There really isn’t much that I won’t tackle. Perhaps it comes from my Midwest self-reliance or the fact that I worked construction in my youth. (Or perhaps it is my wasted adulthood as a sailor?)

All of this leads me to believe that regardless of what it says in most job postings, I know that with enough time there are few issues that I couldn’t solve. (And, they would be lucky to have me!)

However, am I really qualified for all of them? Clearly I am not. But how does one go about drawing the line? More importantly, why is it important that as a job applicant I take the time to make such distinctions?

The reading of job descriptions is more art than science. Most position descriptions are not especially well written. Are all the requirements real? (Do you really have to be 6 feet tall?)

Still, they are what they are. And, you need to read them carefully IF it is important.

Let us take off the table immediately most job leads from the major job boards. The truth is that if they have been foolish enough to expose an opportunity to the public at large that they are going to get bombed. The odds for your candidacy are very small, so if the job is where you would find it convenient, you fit the general description, and you have the time, you have nothing to lose. I would suggest you have at it.

Within our little society that we call The FENG, it is most important that you TAKE THE TIME to read and reread any and all position descriptions to which you are planning to respond if it has come from me or another member and it is preceded by “qualified members only, please use my name.”

These are the golden opportunities only available to members of our august body. If members play too loose with the “rules” we run the risk as an organization of alienating not only members of the search community who have placed their trust in us, but you also run the risk of embarrassing one of our members who has “bragged” about us to those offering great jobs.

In these cases we need to be concerned about the greater good. What are the must haves? If you don’t have one or more of the must haves, consider not responding. Search firms get paid to deliver a specific result. If just a capable person could do the job, the client wouldn’t have engaged a search firm and agreed to pay them 30% of base pay. To earn their fees they take great pains to deliver EXACTLY what the client asks for. No exceptions.

Are all of the “must haves” valid? That is often not for you to say.

Perhaps you have something in your background that is so overwhelmingly appropriate to the position in question that it may in fact be sufficient to override one of the must haves you are missing. If the industry is a small one and that is where you achieved most of your experience, exceptions can and will be made.

No one is ever a perfect fit based on the job description. In truth, even the final candidate.

What we are trying to achieve is the best result for everyone. When dealing with strangers, you are not at risk of offending anyone. When dealing with friends of your friends, due caution and thoughtful consideration are very much in order.

As a rule, hitting 75% of the points and most of the important ones is key. This is what works best and will ensure that The FENG will continue to be a well respected organization and a resource for those seeking talented financial executives.

A big goal, but then, I was never one for taking on small challenges and I am sure you aren’t either.

Regards, Matt

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