Recruiters Build Better Boards

June 7, 2019

RECRUITERS BUILD BETTER BOARDS

It’s passing strange that so many organisations that pride themselves on their sophisticated business models and advanced technology, still fall into old habits when it comes time to engage new Board members.

Even in these days where ‘diversity’ has become a byword for all self-respecting organisations, a ‘tap on the shoulder’ for someone sporting ‘the old school tie’ is considered an acceptable way to recruit a new non-executive Director to a Board of Governance. As are referrals from executives and other stakeholders.

And while most of these far-sighted businesses would not countenance appointing a seemingly-qualified acquaintance to the CEO or CFO role, they seem to have fewer qualms when it comes to exactly who is chosen to take up an equally important role on a modern, fully functional Board.

So why would you be better advised to use a specialist recruiter to search out and recommend qualified candidates for your next available Board position?

1. Let’s start with the bottom line - which is where most objections are lodged.

Yes. It will cost you to avail your company of the proven expertise, time, reach, resources and  support of a placement company. But probably not as much as you think. Our Windsor Group – for example – charges a sensible (some might say nominal) flat fee for this service.

Compare that with the costs of any search that you mount internally. A deep and comprehensive search for a skills-explicit, synergistic, values-aligned Director can take hundreds of hours of searching, interviewing, checking and testing until you’re certain that the credentials and the fit are the best they can be. It could take valued staff away from their core business for weeks on end.

Use Windsor’s Board Advisory and we’ll offer you not one but at least three prospective new Directors – each of whom fits your criteria – and with every candidate deemed capable of delivering a great performance. You’ll have everything you need to make the right decision.

2. Recruiters have a wider reach

Using a combination of search methodologies, they’ll search the length and breadth of Australia – and even go beyond if the assignment warrants.

Certainly, LinkedIn makes many potentially interesting candidates accessible to you. But you’re still stuck with the process of checking and cross checking, interviewing, probing, completing the essential psychometric testing and so on for individuals you don’t know. Without the skills, technology and knowhow, this can be a minefield.

3. But, what about market-proven Directors?

It stands to reason that only the most influential non-profits can hope to attract busy, high profile career Directors to their (mainly) volunteer Boards. And even if you are that fortunate, you are still hampered by the need to explore intricate candidate qualities.

For example, at Windsor, these include such characteristics as social intelligence, emotional maturity, curiosity, vision, compassion, a capacity for self-reflection and the ability to sometimes ‘stand in another man’s shoes.’ We draw the candidate on pressures and tension, time management, passions, goals and personal dreams. And as we do, we are putting together a unique jigsaw portrait of that individual’s landscape and function, psychological safety and personality. Then we test his/her chemistry against the culture of your organisation and measure their chemistry against the collective energies (and egos) of your existing Board.

Can you really see you and your internal recruitment panel doing all that?

Recruiters produce results – and stake their own reputations on them.

Experience counts. No matter how long you’ve been in business and how actively involved with your Board and Board recruitment, finding just the right new non-executive Director is hardly something you do every day. In fact, probably not all that often, when you think about it.

But of course, specialist recruiters – like Windsor – having done the job successfully, over and over again, know exactly what they’re doing. It’s their business to know.

Something to think about …

Dave Nerz, President of NPAworldwide, a global recruitment network headquartered in Michigan USA, has this to say:  “If, as an employer,  you are 100% confident that the best candidate for your opening is on LinkedIn, and that your managers can attract and fully evaluate those (best available) candidates …then you are running a recruiting company, not a business focused on whatever it is you do as an employer. You are in the wrong business … “