Q: I've spent the past couple of months trying to recruit a part-time FD. I've found the best candidate for the job but there's a drawback: he's 64 and undoubtedly sees this role as 'winding down'. Knowing that he's got a limited corporate shelf life, should I take him on?
Jeremy says: Whenever you take anyone on - however highly qualified - there's an element of risk involved. So, yes, there's certainly a possibility that your 64-year-old semi-retired FD will see this job as a cosy, undemanding way of getting out of the house for a few hours every week. And even if he turns out well, he might not want to stay with you for long. You can't be certain.
But my very strong instinct is that he'll be just about the most satisfactory person you've ever employed. He's probably missing his old job badly; he liked his work and was extremely good at it. He probably wanted to stay on but company protocol obliged him to retire. And there was probably a Young Turk, much favoured by management, snapping at his heels. If you offer him this job, he'll be acutely aware of the doubts you might have about his age and level of commitment – and will be utterly determined, as a matter of pride and principle, to prove them totally unfounded. To start with, you might even have to encourage him to relax a little. Health permitting, he could still be with you in 10 years' time.
Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems at firstname.lastname@example.org. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.