Values centred recruitment
Recruitment of staff is one of the most important decisions a company or organisation can make; Get it right and the money spent on the recruitment process and in inducting and developing the successful people will deliver a good return. Get it wrong and not only is that money wasted, it can cost you money when the person exits the organisation. I have been involved in recruitment processes for a number of years, in both the private and public sector and I thought I’d share a success story in terms of recruitment.
I have been the Chair of Trustees at an Outstanding (Ofsted rating) school for over ten years years, during that time I have overseen the processes for the recruitment of two Headteachers and been involved in the recruitment of two Deputy Headteachers. All of these appointments have been successful with the chosen person adding real value to the leadership of the school.
How did we do that?
Firstly, we agreed that the person we wanted had to demonstrate values and behaviours that were in line with the values and ethos of the school so, recruiting for personal values became the key principle. Our rationale being that, as long as the person had the minimum qualifications required for the post then anything else could be gained via training and development – personal values are much harder (some say impossible) to train and develop as they come from within.
Secondly, we agreed that the key stakeholders should take part in the process – in this case we involved the children and the staff in the assessment exercises.
Lastly, we agreed that if, after all the assessments, we felt that none of the applicants were a good fit then we would not appoint and would re-advertise. I am amazed at how often I hear people talk of appointing someone who they had doubts about when that person proves their doubts to be correct.
The children, staff and trustees were involved in helping to write the advertisements this is what they came up with:
Our children would like a Head Teacher who:
· Values children’s opinions.
· Is firm but kind and sets clear boundaries
· Is a good and courageous leader
· Wants the children to be happy at school and have fun
Our staff and trustees want a Head Teacher who:
· is an inspirational leader with a track record of improving outcomes for children;
· has a demonstrable commitment to excellence and continues to build on successes;
· is approachable and values, encourages and nurtures the development of all school staff;
· has empathy with the staff and helps them to strike a good work/life balance;
· leads by example and goes the ‘extra mile’ for the staff and children;
· exhibits and encourages best practice in the classroom;
· believes in providing a rounded education of pupils through sport, the arts and other activities;
· brings in their own experience to take the school from strength to strength;
· has high expectations of themselves and others and leads the school’s professional learning community with enthusiasm;
· fosters close links between home, school and the local community and has a genuinely inclusive approach.
I don’t think any external consultant could have come up with a better and more fitting list.
The first phase was the application form – we wanted more than just a list of statements and wanted examples of where the applicant had achieved some of the above. This process gave us our shortlist.
We also involved the children, staff and trustees in some of the exercises at the assessment centre and took their feedback into account when making the final decisions.
The children in particular showed an amazing ability to sum up their thoughts and feelings succinctly.
On two occasions we decided not to appoint and started the process again, widening the criteria so that more people could apply.
Whilst I wouldn’t say that we got everything right first time, we are committed to continuous learning and with each iteration we tweaked and changed things and got the right person.
I firmly believe that this was well worth the effort and the results bear that out.
I wonder how many other organisations get their key stakeholders involved in their recruitment?