Colin Williams, Partner at DWDG

We recently worked alongside one of the businesses that we support to “Get on and Grow” to recruit a new member of their Senior Leadership Team.

This is a fast-growing, ambitious business and this appointment is a critical component of their growth plan.

We have recruited an individual who seems a really great fit in many ways but going through this process made me experience déjà vu on some learnings. Namely the critical things to focus on when recruiting at this level, which I thought I would share.

Characteristics over Competencies – now of course both matter, but at this level the difference between success and failure generally relates to an individual’s characteristics. It is a common myth that understanding and identifying these is difficult, however focusing an interview on them and getting some simple psychometrics to support the analysis (we pay less than £100 for a 16pf Psychometric profile – which is a robust and informative tool) is well worth the effort.

Covering Letter over CV – the CV tells the story of the past but the covering letter is a great indicator of the present. It also tells a good deal about the attitude that supports the application and level of investment that an individual has focused on your organisation. Often standard letters are written and sent with a CV and I know one thing for sure, I would not want someone in a leadership position in my organisation, who seemingly just ‘bungs out a few CVs’ as their personal marketing strategy!

Attention to detail over quality of experience – I always say that a well-managed recruitment and assessment procedure will flush out the winners. This is not just about what happens in the formal elements of the process but what you ‘notice’ about a candidate as they navigate their way through the process. When recruiting for six figure positions, if someone is happy to present error ridden documents and not follow simple instructions relating to an assessment procedure, there is not much hope when for when things become more complicated.

Widen the base of the assessment – I am a fan of employing other relevant stakeholders in the assessment process wherever possible. This has so many advantages and not only mitigates recruitment bias but it also gathers evidence of skills, though asking candidates to demonstrate their ability applied to some real happenings in their prospective work place. We can all talk a good game so it is good to have some evidence that candidates can walk the talk before getting them to join up.

Of course recruitment is never a perfect science. In fast growth businesses it is however such a critical element, it is well worth actioning the above to ensure you stand the best chance of getting it right. The cost of failure can of course be horrific – but we will save those stories for later, unless anyone wants to share in the meantime?

If you liked our article and are looking for strategies to get on and grow your business, click here to contact us at DWDG.