I often say recruitment is an art and a science. The science is important. I advocate rigorous assessment and due diligence to test suitability, experience and capability of candidates; but it’s the ‘art’ that is more important in my view.
It is the work we do to test ‘fit’ – will they work well with stakeholders and particularly members – where the key to success lies.
I know this because we see candidates who are successful in one organisation and then move to another where they are not. It is therefore clear to me that it is a poor fit with context, values and people that usually leads to their demise.
Using more strategic and deep-dive assessment we can test capability and competence to a detailed level. Through due diligence and referencing, we can check claims of delivery vs reality and through interview and interaction we can check broad fit with the agenda.
To assess true fit requires senior employers, particularly members, to be highly personally involved in the process. It is only through honest dialogue about values, style, expectations and objectives that employee and candidate can really assess their mutual suitability.
So, as a recruiter, I’m keen to advocate truly open and honest conversations, particularly between leader/mayor and prospective chief executive officer/managing director.
These conversations often need to walk the wire of politeness and probity and can be uncomfortable, but if they ensure that candidates and client can confidently walk away or move forward, I think they are worth it.
Julie Towers is managing director of Penna Recruitment Solutions