Jennifer Gaston Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

(1)   Would you choose Warren Chang or Steve Phillips to be Aquamarine’s CFO? How would you think about making the trade-off between “experienced a proven” versus “young and hungry?”

Warren Chang and Steve Phillips are two candidates who are competing for the designation of, CFO. Chang is an experienced person while in comparison Phillips is not that much experienced. However, Phillips is having a drive that is “young and hungry.”

I would choose Phillips to be Aquamarine’s CFO. As Aquamarine is a fast growing company; there is a need to have a drive that can help the CFO to take decisions. Moreover, it is also required that he can work in a chaotic organization; that is constantly evolving in a dynamic way. He is the one who can take the pro-active ownership of the finance department. He can provide strategic plan to the management team as he had experience of working in various capacities of a financial career. He can provide a better direction to the finance team of Aquamarine. As he had worked as an interim CFO of a luxury apparel company, he would have an idea of what is expected from him and his practical experience at other position will help him in understanding how to get results from his sub-ordinates. Even though Chang had expertise, he asked for a compensation package that is higher than the level that Aquamarine is willing to pay. Aquamarine will also be benefitted in terms of compensation payment if they select Phillips. Moreover, Phillips will have a higher tendency of adopting Aquamarine’s culture and mingling with its existing employees as compared to Chang.

Chang is a successful CFO thus; he will take more time to get social with the existing Aquamarine team. He wants to be a team leader while Phillips can even assume the responsibilities by becoming frank with the Aquamarine team. Even though Phillips is not that much experienced as compared to Chang but he has always worked with prominent companies in the financial industry thus has potential to assume any big financial career role easily.

(2)   How would you continue checking references of your chosen candidate for the CFO position? How much of that process should you delegate?

The process of checking reference is very critical as it will give an insight regarding the work approaches of the employee as well as his personal skills. The candidate should also be informed that his or her contacts are being checked.

The search firm should only have the responsibility to assess the credibility of the facts while references checking must be done by Gaston personally.

It is courteous to ask the candidate that he should also give suggestions regarding his decision. Gaston should delegate the responsibility of setting-up calls to given references to any senior manager like Reddings or De Carlo. They must collect the contact information of these references.

She must personally make calls to these references. The call should last approx. 15 to 30 minutes if possible and she must try to get comments on Phillip’s inter-personal skills. She must also try to confirm the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses from the referenced person. She must ask the referenced person on how can she get the best out of Phillips and how can she drive him towards success. Gaston will have to be really careful while deciding whether the person is telling the truth or he is just trying to impress her regarding Phillips.

Best practice in reference checking:

The recruiter will initially have to ask for references from the candidate, so that he can check those references and use their feedback. While reviewing the resume, he should ask for additional references. The interviewer might ask those questions which can entail names, for instance, the past boss, sub-ordinates and colleagues. Within the references’ names, the recruiter must find the people who are candid in their conversation and behavior.

(3)   How would you have handled the conversation with Albert Johnson in your office? How would you have responded to his email?

As Albert Johnson is an existing employee who wants to be a candidate for being the next CFO; he should be dealt with extreme care.

During the conversation with Albert Johnson, Gaston can initially calm him by discussing with him the requirements for being a candidate for the designation of CFO. She should tell him that they are going to formally interview him soon as they are currently in the process of planning the selection procedure. She must affirm that they will keep him notified regarding the process, the schedule of the process and the dates for the interview. She should also ask Johnson to get his resume updated so that he may receive proper considerations......................................

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