About Executive Recruitment   


Thomas R. Hawkins, PH.D.  

            ... Briarwood Group Associates


This communication is to provide some insight about recruiting from a recruiter's perspective utilizing the facts about hiring in a ‘not for profit’, or a public or private environment for over several decades.


Recruit means to "form or strengthen an organization by enlisting members or followers."  Experts say you must develop a "recruitment culture" for the organization.


The following is the usual scenario after a search committee that contract's with the Briarwood Group Associates to recruit for the local community organization. This effort may be in concert with a liaison, executive director or by the Board search committee.


In earlier years it was found that at least 50 applications for a position would have to be available to find a capable candidate. This number was even difficult to find in the earlier recruiting years, but most recently, there have been over 100 applications and several times 200 or more, which almost certainly will reveal someone worthy. The use of the Internet, social media and other approaches to reach potential candidates have been productive. Experienced school or community agency administrators are not always seeking another position or ready and willing to move to your community. In addition, the usual cost for the professional recruitment of a trained and experienced  administrator/organizer is sometimes prohibitive for a public organization.


Process to Find Competences and Life Experiences


Finding the correct employee is important. What is the profile for a successful employee? Currently, the Briarwood Group Associates has research in progress and has developed a 'profile' of manager's key characteristics and aptitudes to help the hiring process. The initial screening searches for these characteristics, including the ‘life experiences’ mirroring the job description.  During the processing of resumes, initial screening isn’t based on just looking over the resume, but a detailed analysis, with numerical scoring is used to reach the top twenty that should be reviewed. This process is concurrent with also determining whether the prospect wants to improve communities through an agency position, seek  better education and seek social justice remedies to offset inferior public policies and do a good job. An administrator job description is the paramount vehicle to screen candidates more so than the usual personality traits one may use as a part of the process. Questions about their personal life, family obligations, ethnic, religious or any other possible discriminating aspects that may crop up when questioning the prospect must be handled with care though experienced interview techniques. Avoid any illegal interview questions not approved by EEOC regulations that may occur by inexperienced staff. Therefore, a detailed, documented, and consistent recruitment and interviewing process is necessary for satisfactory and unchallenged results to find your best prospect.


Process and Timetable to Meet the Search Deadlines


Briarwood’s methods of recruiting is cost effective and gets results from the numbers of applications necessary to find someone that stands out for hiring. The methodology is not going to be done easily by volunteer members such as a Board Search Committee or casual, untrained managers. New strategies are continually brought into the system to get more out of the dollar spent for this outsourcing method. There may be applications on hand by Briarwood, from people with appropriate backgrounds, including graduates students, Peace Corp, Vista, Americore and minority candidates. But applications may be lost after being on file for sometime. Current posting and advertising is the effective path for successful recruiting. Applications going to one source, evaluated, and screened with a definitive scoring mechanism becomes very effective as the actual hiring process.


After the best prospects are listed a screening of those people is now appropriate. Key members of the organization’s search committee should now be poised to help the recruiter screen the best prospects to detect the finalists on a day selected. It is highly recommended that officers and lay people agree to help, keeping to the consultant’s recommended process. The only work by the committee, up to that point, is authorization, and then help with the final screening. The Briarwood Group will have recommendations to seriously screen up to twenty candidates that meet the basic requirements for the position. This collaboration is  essential and highly recommended. Put the candidates available through a process that cannot be easily criticized, and can meet EEOC regulations to avoid liability for inappropriate or apparent inappropriate procedures.


Demographics play a part in the outcome for someone wanting to work in your community. Nearly 10,000 applications have been processed by Briarwood Group Associates since 1998. The Briarwood Group Associates have experienced that out of every 100 applicants, less than 20 people (20 %) appear to have the competencies that may work in this public sector field, and few with the actual experience required. After pre-screening using telephone interviews to get these 20 or so, there is the on site screening interview and possibly a re-interview of four or five (5 %) that are called "finalists." After that, there is a hope that at least two (2) or more can be recommended for hire. Orientation dates and the hiring date anticipated must be coordinated. Based on the above statistics, it is obvious that you can’t just find the ideal person because they seem to be nice and knowledgeable. To acquire a candidate without detailed screening and comparisons to each other from a pool of applicants may not lead to a successful professional candidate, but merely provide an assistant to help the organization temporally. Planning is important to avoid missteps in the process.


The detailed process for this work has been developed by the Briarwood Group Associates as a copyrighted process, all rights reserved, due to the unique concept utilized. Details about the process can be provided to the local committee, as requested.


In most searches, in today’s society, there is a keen interest in obtaining a diverse spectrum of applications. Appreciating diversity and attraction of a diverse pool is a concern when advertising. Obtaining minority recruits in earlier years was disappointing. More recently, however, due to a transition from the less responsive and costly newspaper advertising, Internet searches and advertising have produced remarkable results, with greater numbers of minorities applying, thus providing a good cross section of available people. Local, community and regional newspaper ads, intertwined with the response to web sites have enhanced the process and kept costs down.  All applications are processed through web sites and the Internet by e-mail, exclusively.


On occasion, a community specifically seeks to find a minority. Initially, not every community organization has a specific reason for the type of person they want to insure success. The best prospect is most important. It remains to be seen, however, who will be selected according to the generic and specific requirements, and the outcome of an objective/subjective process many minority applicants, particularly African American, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern candidates have been interviewed in the screening process and have been hired. Yes, minorities are being hired, including women and are doing well.


The local community perspective about hiring should always be the paramount consideration in regard to the above review since the local community usually provides the leadership that moves the organization and pays the bills. The main concern is to find the best variety of prospects available at that time and have a good idea what the community and organization needs for the environment and demographics at the time.


Community Self Interest, Marketing and Organization Strength


As a part of the recruitment program, dealing with hundreds of people in the process, another result is an interest in the community and the power of people joining together for a common cause. How can someone get involved in promoting the organization, whether hired or not? This happens, at times, particularly with the finalists not hired who live in the community. The new employee should have the capacity to be an advocate for the best public policies and procedures  for excellence.


Another result of the commitment to get someone hired is to form or strengthen the organization. True recruitment should also be from within the organization, through members of a search committee that can be 'on hand' to go through the process. A local candidate may also be forthcoming, and this local identity, perhaps, an intern, should be ready and available to go through the screening process. The Briarwood Group process disallows favoritism, cronyism or any other ‘ism’' that may come from critics. Seldom does an inexperienced recent college graduate (intern or not) make it as a finalist for an executive position being interviewed to satisfy fairness, unless that candidate has a background in real world life experiences to match the position.


Sometimes, a strong supporter of a ‘local’ candidate may usurp the recruitment process to push a candidate through to hire. At times this strategy works. A split vote by the board, due to ‘no hiring  process,’ handicaps the new employee with split support. This favored candidate may have been hired, in any event. Without a fair process the competitive advantage in hiring the best candidate disallows the support necessary to do a good job, even if this candidate was the best fit for the position. This  "event" doesn’t strengthen the organization, or the community.


Search committees are sometimes open to getting someone experienced recommended by a board member, parent organization or consultant. The search committee many times wants a process to avoid complications when 'one of their own' wants the job, as well. A cut down version of the recruitment process can be adapted to this occasion, using the finalist screening procedure, but with all the ‘bells and whistles’ in the process. The Briarwood recruitment process could help an authorized administrator if they have the sole 'power' to hire, to show good faith and to prove that the best available person was recommended to the board. There have been a few occasions that actual ‘supervisory parent organization’ or umbrella, central office recommendations have been met with some contempt, since the local committee wants 'ownership,' although the local organization may then want the parent organization to guide and train 'their person.' Hire the best person with a process and train accordingly. Find out who the best person really is

 regardless of the source of recommendation. The local recruit, the intern, the good local prospect or someone 'spotted'  is still possibly the one that will be picked for the position. Everyone, including the new employee, may be happy with the result especially if they 'won' the position through a legitimate, objective/subjective process, by the search committee and their consultant.




Considerations about Recruiting Cost Effectiveness


It takes about sixty (60) workdays to find and hire someone, utilizing methods that promote nationwide interest and exposure. In addition, there is a cost benefit analysis to consider if you want to have someone travel across the United States for an interview. Usually, but not in all cases, applicants may seek travel expenses for long distances. This may not prove cost effective. A regional perspective prevails for the screening and final interviews but there have been several exceptions.


Local and national organization grant applications to obtain funds for recruiting have described the amount of work that goes into recruiting, screening applications, hiring and retaining (training) a candidate. Recruiting, once started, is an everyday procedure that must respond to incoming interests, questions, and applications.


It should be noted that applications become stale after about 45 days, and if the recruiter doesn’t make some contact, and be consistent in tone and demeanor, either by telephone, an interview or e-mail, the candidate may be no longer available.


The Hiring Proposal and Contract


In some cases, although the finalists have been accepted and the 'best one' is propositioned with a contract, the candidate has misgivings about location, the community, salary and/or benefits or surprises which squelch the deal. Then the search goes on. In the meantime many phone calls, e-mails and discussions are forthcoming. How the finalists are handled, the liaison from beginning to the end of the process should be consistent and without undue influence or unexpected barriers: e.g. additional job requirements, unexpected costs, withdrawing of benefits, trying out different strategies to reduce costs that are different than the job announcement prescribed earlier etc. The liaison (contact) for the finalist must be the same person throughout the process. A candidate must have been studied in regard to their present position and salary, their salary requirements, your organization's ability to provide benefits, and whether you are going to provide moving expenses. You may provide opportunities for living arrangements or areas to live in the community etc. Remember your second or third ranked finalist may be the employee hired if you have a good recruitment and evaluation system, if the first placed finalists "got away."


All in all, the recruitment process is complex, but, if done correctly, will enhance your community organization. Contact us...get a quote. We will surprise you and fit your budget.


Briarwood Group Associates   www.briarwoodgroup.com_______________________


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