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CFOs Look to Nontraditional Sources for Finance Talent

November 28, 2017

Non-technical skills are becoming more important in finance positions in this day and age. Learn how you can ensure that you have the right skills in place to excel in a finance career.

Companies all around the country continually struggle with finding qualified talent with the needed technical skills. For finance roles, this is a different issue. The technical skills aren’t what’s missing---it’s the softer skills, namely communication and collaboration that hiring managers are seeking nowadays.

What employers look for

Analytical focus- Employers are not limiting themselves to business schools and accounting firms as sources for young financial professionals. Analytical individuals are in high demand, and finance organizations should be looking for people who may not have the desired business background or professional experience but who have the analytical skills, too. Students don’t necessarily need to know how to code, for example, but rather, problem-solve.

Soft skills- Varied soft skills (in other words, “people skills”) are highly valued in today’s job market. The most critical skills are……

  1. Communication skills- Employers want employees with the ability to engage with others both face-to-face and virtually. The role of finance professionals is evolving, so employers are looking for candidates with decision making support. This requires candidates who can answer a question thoroughly but succinctly.
  2. Collaboration skills- How do the candidates anticipate needs by building value-based relationships? When do they seek feedback? When do they change their approach?
  3. Working under conditions of uncertainty- Many employers will simulate business scenarios during corporate training sessions, and many college professors have also started to do this as part of their courses. These simulations present students/young professionals with a unique business situation that requires their attention- there could be a time constraint, scarce resources, limited information, but business decisions still need to be made.

This teaches potential candidates that there is no equation to get to the right answer in the business realm. Most business decisions must be made with no more than 60-70% of the information that ideally would be available. These simulations will make them better communicators, negotiators, and influence makers.

Other things businesses look for in the ideal candidate:

  • Knowing the difference between management and leadership- Management entails controlling a group or a set of entities to achieve an objective. Leadership, on the other hand, is an individual's aptitude to motivate and enable others to contribute toward organizational success.
  • Flexible thinking- Business conditions are always changing, so employers want people who aren’t rigid in their thinking.
  • Ethical practices- Understanding the way ethics applies to all aspects of work is crucial.

Companies all around the country continually struggle with finding qualified people with these needed softer skills. Learn more about this search focus by contacting KLR Executive Search Group, LLC.

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