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10 questions for VBrick Systems CFO Paul Hallee

Nancy Weil | March 14, 2011
CFOs are challenged in today's economic times to determine where to allocate a company's spending, says Paul Hallee

I would describe my style as one of cooperative empowerment. My goal is to make the people that work for me feel empowered to take initiative, but also feel comfortable coming to me to discuss ideas, make suggestions or ask for help when they need it. I don't hover over shoulders watching everything my employees do and I don't chew them out when mistakes are made. Everyone makes mistakes and as long as the intent was in the right place, it should be a learning experience.

6. What strengths/qualities do you look for in job candidates?

Ambitious, honest, loyal, unselfish and a positive attitude. Of course, they have to be technically competent as well. But I've found over the years that if you can't trust someone or believe that they have the organization's best interests in mind, it's going to be a short relationship. Not to mention, a positive attitude can help make it a better place to work for everyone.

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?

Other than probing their professional or technical competence, I always ask two questions: What do you like to do? What do you not like to do? Most people think I'm asking about work things, but that's not necessarily what I'm looking for. I'm trying to find out more about their personality and what makes them tick. For example, I once had a sales candidate tell me that she really didn't like initiating contact with people. Needless to say she didn't get the job.

8. What sort of answers send up red flags for you and make you think a job candidate wouldn't be a good fit?

 

Bad-mouthing former employers, companies, bosses and/or fellow employees. If a candidate can't hold themselves accountable for what's happened in the past, that's not an individual I seek to work with. That just tells me someday I'll be your next excuse. It's also surprising how many people don't answer the question they've been asked in the interview. Anytime I hear someone beating around the bush, it's a red flag for me.

9. What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?

I like to read. I usually have a couple books going at a time -- one for enjoyment and one for professional development. I also enjoy just relaxing at home with my family watching one of our favorite TV shows or a movie.

10. If you weren't doing this job, what would be doing?

I'm sure I'd be trying to help another early stage company somewhere. But I've been in finance for 15 years and really enjoy it. And sometimes I even think I'm good at it!

 

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