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Now more than ever, excellent leadership, a clear purpose (and solid governance) are critical to delivering social and environmental impact.

People for Purpose exists to support organisations and individuals who strive to create positive social impact. We provide tailored support to purpose-led organisations and connect them with leaders for executive and board positions who are aligned to their purpose, culture and needs.

Being a non-traditional executive placement firm, we are targeted and passionate about our commitment to make the Australian for-purpose economy more robust, efficient and impactful. This is truer today than ever before, as we rely on our leaders to navigate the unchartered waters we are in, for the foreseeable future.

If you have been considering recruiting your next great leader, but are nervous, given the uncertainty of the world right now, we thought we’d share with you a few tips that might help.

  1. Stick to process. 
    Now, more than ever, following your agreed executive recruitment process is important. Read applicant letters and CVs, conduct at least 2 rounds of interview, test for behavioural and cultural fit. As you’re likely to receive MORE applications during this time, when many senior executives find themselves out of work, it pays to be prepared. Although we often want good people quickly, hire slow and take the time to make the right decision for your organisation. Much research has been published about the cost of hiring the wrong person, and with senior executives it can mean 200-300% of their salary. That’s an expensive mistake. You may be able to tap into your own organisation, for instance. Board members can often support the process, which can take approximately 80 hours. There is evidence to suggest that in particular a structured interview process, that is applied to all applicants equally, along with solid screening qualifiers are helpful tools in the process. We have guides available to support you on your journey, for interviews, reference checks etc. If you would like samples of any of our guides, please email us.
  2. Review your existing process.
    Now is a good time to review your existing executive search process and ensure it is still fit for purpose. Have you interviewed using video conferencing before? How does that differ to in person interviewing? Do you include any profiling or testing? For example, asking people to present a 15-minute strategy idea is a test that can be arranged quite simply. Remember that you are testing for the person’s ability to DO the job, and not their ability to interview using video conferencing, which they may not be very good at. In this case, you may wish to offer a little latitude and consider adding in a few steps, like an informal phone chat or an email exchange over an idea. Get to know them in other ways, given you may not be able to meet them in person. Ensure your interview questions are agreed beforehand and are SPECIFIC to the role, not general.
  3. Allocate a little more time.
    Right now the market is flooded with talent, so any recruitment process is likely to take you a little longer. You’ll need a little more time to read application letters, field enquiry calls and conduct screening calls before you decide who to interview. You might also need a little more time to have open conversations with your team, board and other stakeholders to reassure them through this process.
  4. Seriously consider testing.
    Personality profiling exercises are powerful, especially if you are unable to meet in person and read body language and other cues. And when you are looking for the right person that, often critically, means cultural fit. People for Purpose use an incredibly powerful and insightful Lumina tool, which is based on the evidence of Carl Jung’s research. Even when you want to run the recruitment process yourself, you can access this very affordable tool (which we would highly recommend!) These tests can provide real insights into a person’s style and approach, and often uncover underlying characteristics, such as how they react when overextended, as leaders often are. Reference checking is another key tool in your recruitment process, giving you firsthand experience from those who know the applicant personally. References, when coupled with testing, will give you a more holistic picture of your potential new employee.
  5. Think creatively.
    We’ve recently seen requests from our clients to help them prepare different types of offers to candidates during these uncertain times. They’re still keen to find their next great leader, however with the future still not defined, they’ve needed ways to mitigate any risks that may arise. We’ve sought the counsel of Prolegis Lawyers to understand the best way to achieve this goal. We have now worked with several clients on renewed ways to present offers and contracts, including deferred start dates, part time to future full time offers, and longer probationary periods to ensure they have maximum flexibility post offer.

We hope you have found these tips useful for your executive search. If you are seeking your next great leader, and would like a sounding board or support, please reach out for an obligation-free call with our CEO on [email protected]

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