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CFO Interview Questions
Chief Financial Officers (CFO) are the heads of a company’s financial department. They’re typically highly experienced professionals with graduate degrees. Their role has a large scope so the best candidates should be knowledgeable in many aspects of business.
The first step in planning an effective CFO interview is to determine the risk stage of your company. Are you mostly taking steps into the unknown with high market, product and financial risk (product change, modernizing, downsizing etc.)? Or are you in a phase of healthy stability where your environment and near future hold few surprises? Risk always exists, but CFOs who can deal with all types of risks simultaneously in a turbulent time have different qualities than those who can help the company flourish when risk is easily manageable.
Use the following questions to determine the candidate’s experience with risk and their willingness to deal with it. Listen to their answers and follow up with probing questions. Do they talk about stability in an appreciative manner or do they prefer rapid changes? The following list also includes situational and behavioral questions to evaluate the candidate’s soft skills such as leadership, critical thinking and strategizing.
Operational and Situational questions
- What would you do if revenue forecasts for next year decreased?
- If you had to decide whether a possible investment is profitable, how would you do it?
- Explain the evolution of the product of your current/previous company. Give me an example of a landmark decision that was made in the product strategy and your opinion of that decision
- What type of customer does your company sell to? Has it changed?
- What is a pricing or packaging decision that the company made and what was your view on that decision?
- What was the personality of the company you were just working at and did it fit you?
- Give me an example of your investment strategy when funding departments during the annual budget cycle
- What do you think was key to your current/previous company’s success?
- What are two metrics a CFO should always monitor?
- Tell me about a time when you faced conflict with stakeholders. How did you resolve it?
- Recall a time you showed excellent leadership in managing your department
- Describe your most important contribution to your current/previous company
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