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Management recruitment pointers

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Whether being selected for a new job or attracting the best people to work in your organization, both the prospective employee and the employer need to go the extra mile in a hiring situation. Surprisingly, the vast majority of both organizations and job seekers make no special effort to stand out.

To compete more effectively for top-notch managers, organizations should consider these success factors:

Define success criteria

The criteria on which job performance will be based must be clear and known to the new manager. The employer needs to define the success criteria for the position so it is evident to all parties what success is.

Measure performance

It is not enough to tell a job candidate, "We?ll know success when we see it." A strategic plan usually demonstrates that a group of people (hopefully the board) has assessed needs, prioritized actions, and established a plan to measure an executive director's progress. Answer this question: "In one year, what must the manager accomplish to earn a favourable review, salary increase, and bonus?"

Know thyself

Organizations have reputations. In professional networks such as the Canadian Society of Association Executives, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Meeting Planners International, and others, people will warn off their colleagues if a prospective employer has an unfavourable reputation for such things as high staff turnover, a negative work environment, unrealistic expectations, etc. Just as the candidate needs to be self-aware of the strengths and weaknesses they bring to a job, an employer must also know how they are perceived in the marketplace and take steps to overcome any deficiencies.

Treat candidates well

Remember, as an organization, you?re making a first impression too. Common courtesy includes returning phone calls, letting people who have been interviewed know where they stand, providing information to help the job applicant make an informed decision, and treating people fairly and courteously.

From the job seekers perspective, here are a few important points for consideration:

Be realistic

Reality check: the majority of applications employers receive for a given job opening are not qualified for the job. If ten percent of the candidates have the specific requirements being sought, the employer will probably not look beyond this "A-list". If you?re going to stand out, do so as the most qualified applicant.

Do your homework

Exercise the same due diligence checking out your prospective employer as they will evaluating you. Sources for information include the prospective employer (website, strategic plan, annual report, etc.); Internet searches; allied organizations or international counterparts; headhunters; and professional association networks.

Sell well

How well did you sell yourself at your last job interview? Consider this true case:

The candidate came to the interview as one of three finalists. She prepared a binder, without prompting, for the hiring panel containing her application, a competency grid matching her qualifications to the position?s requirements, an article she wrote for the interview on the value the organization she wants to join brings to Canadian society, her understanding of the current strategic issues for the organization, and appendices including a recent performance appraisal from her last employer. Guess what? She was offered the position.

Don't play games

If you play games, you won?t be taken seriously the next time. And, as we all know, the charity sector is a small world. An example of game-playing would be going through the entire hiring process only to use a new job offer to better your current situation. Resume fraud, misleading answers or other attempts at misrepresentation may constitute just cause for dismissal. Write your resume and approach interviews anticipating that every claim, detail, and accomplishment will be verified. Be mindful of your reputation.

Content is © Jack Shand and is reprinted with permission.

Jack Shand, CMC, CAE, is president of Leader Quest, a management consulting firm providing expert advice to not-for-profit organizations since 1997. Leader Quest specializes in executive search/staff recruitment, strategic planning, governance, and organizational reviews. Jack can be reached at 905-842-3845 and 1-877-929-4473, or jack-at-leaderquest-dot-com.

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