My focus is generally on work ethic, how hungry they are, what's their competitive edge, and I look for someone who looks like they can come in and really make a difference through their attitude and work ethic and just really work hard. It's those people I value most because I can move them around over time. It helps them, but it also helps the company if I need someone to fill in somewhere in the company even if it's outside their comfort zone.
7. What are some of your favorite interview questions or techniques to elicit information to determine whether a candidate will be successful at your company? What sort of answers send up red flags for you and make you think a job candidate wouldn't be a good fit?
First, asking open-ended questions and letting them speak a lot so I can tell if they're good on their feet and they communicate well and have a good presence.
Secondly, and probably more importantly, I give candidates real-life examples of issues I'm dealing with and see how they react and how they would address a certain issue. I've even asked people to put together a written report about how they would deal with an issue. Most of the time, if they really want the job, they'll do it. If they don't [want the job], they'll do a shoddy job and that's a red flag.
Besides that, if someone doesn't ask intelligent questions about the company, I know they didn't put the time or the effort in to understanding the company. That's just a huge red flag for me, if they're not prepared.
8. What is it about your current job, at this particular company, that sets it apart from other chief finance positions?
It has to be the fact that we are a growth company, with 20-30 percent top-line growth the past several years and we're expecting to have similar growth going forward. It's the growth and it's the entrepreneurial culture of the company and managing that growth.
CFOs, I think, have an easier time in a slow-growth company, because you're managing cost, you're cutting costs to hit numbers. We're in a very different situation, we're growing and managing. That growth is what keeps me here, it's exciting.
9. What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?
I'm from Baltimore and I'm still an avid Baltimore Orioles fan. Even when they were awful the last 10 years, I was a big fan. So, I like to catch a ballgame or take a walk with my wife just to clear my head.
10. If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?
By nature, I'm a pretty risk-averse guy, so I would never do this into semi-retirement age, which will be years from now, so I'd really like to run a small business. Not a restaurant, that's a little too hectic, but a health club would be something that would be very interesting to me.