A Perfect Fit

The demand for finance talent may be soaring, but candidates refuse to settle for just any job.

Spencer, meanwhile, finds herself with two extremely attractive
offers. One is a senior revenue accountant position with
WebTrends, a small, private-equity-backed Web analytics company
that recently hired a CFO with experience in initial public
offerings. The other is an assistant accounting manager job at a
big public semiconductor company that guarantees job rotation
and is offering a 13 percent higher salary, plus a signing bonus.

Spencer prefers the culture of the smaller company — she
immediately clicked with her potential boss and closest co-worker,
and the office layout was much more cheerful. But how can
she justify leaving nearly $10,000 on the table? A true accountant,
Spencer calculates how much time and gas it will take to drive 25
minutes to the semiconductor company’s campus and compares
that with the 15-minute walk she would have to the smaller firm. Subtracting out the $900 and 240 hours annually helps take away
some of the sting. Then she negotiates for a big signing bonus to
help make up the difference. “Basically, what sold me on WebTrends is that it’s a growing public company, and that creates a
lot of opportunities,” she says, adding that she also “can’t imagine
getting bored” there. (Spencer started on September 5.)

Luger, meanwhile, considers an opportunity he likes — as a
financial analyst at a real estate investment trust — and has interviewed
with the company’s CFO, chief administrative officer,
and executive vice president of operations, among others. Three
weeks go by without an answer. Finally, he writes to the CFO
(with the blessing of his recruiter) to reiterate his interest. Again,
he gets no immediate answer. “One of the things these companies
forget is that it’s someone’s livelihood,” says Luger. “This
isn’t a little game. This is my life. This is my career.”

So with the clock ticking on his severance, Luger pursues
another position, this one with a San Diego–based subsidiary
of Ledcor, a construction company headquartered in Canada. While he wasn’t initially interested in the industry, he is
intrigued by the chance to be the sole finance guru on a four-person
team. Two weeks later, he has an offer to be a financial
analyst. After negotiating a better title (senior business analyst),
a bigger salary than the company’s initial cap, and a reasonable
start date (October 4), Luger takes the job. Among the many
things that got him to yes, says Luger, is the company’s flexibility. Working remotely is fully accepted, he says, and the people
he interviewed with spoke freely about how they have engineered
work to fit with their personal lives.

As for Scott Whitehurst, he backed out of talks to be CFO
of Bausch & Lomb’s $1 billion European division, and decided
to aim for a corporate-CFO slot. An opportunity to interview
for one with a San Francisco technology firm is waiting for him
with the same recruiting company. The job could be “perfect,”
Whitehurst muses, but he’s still reserving some enthusiasm. “If
I get an offer and turn it down,” he says, “I’ll have to admit to
myself that I’m just not ready to go back to work.”

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