The Right Fit

In today’s competitive and uncertain work environment future decision-makers need more than good credentials and experience to realise their career aspirations. And choosing the wrong candidate can be enormously expensive.

New Zealanders consider it their right to work. This stems largely from work force history, steeped in unionism and welfare.
Do well at school, get your qualifications and you are all but there. Loyalty will be rewarded with promotion. No matter that you are bored. One day you might even head the company.
This might have been our employment mindset once. But in the present work climate it is recipe for failure, says recruitment specialist, Terry McCloy.
Today’s executives are continuously engaged in race to stay ahead of the competition. And to do that they must fit the culture and goal aspirations of company.
According to McCloy New Zealand companies are, in the main, up with the play on what executive attributes they need to successfully push their business forward. They have to be if they want to retain foothold in the global workplace. But, he says, they don’t always follow through with the knowledge that harnesses those attributes. “Critical to success today, whether it be in New Zealand or anywhere, is knowing what your organisation is good at and then being able to build team that supports it,” he says.

Creating culture
McCloy, 51, runs Management Search International (MSI) national executive recruitment company he started five years ago in Auckland’s city fringe suburb of Parnell. It has forged links with international recruitment firms in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. In June it won the World Best Practice award from NZ-based Benchmark Communications for its recruitment work with Feltex Carpets. The firm develops “partnerships” with its clients which include Tower, ASB Bank, Vodafone, Budget and Carter Holt Harvey.
McCloy has seen raft of changes in recruitment practice in the 12 years since he was chief executive of marketing company Crown International’s New Zealand office. Ten years ago he believed that the traditional approach to hiring staff based on qualifications and experience had gone as far as it could and needed new direction.
He headed for the United States in search of group touted as being at the forefront of leadership thinking. The advocates were looking at how businesses extracted right results from their employees by creating leadership culture. “Talk abounds about how we are part of the rapidly changing knowledge economy,” says McCloy. “But to be successful in it we need to think about what we do that will give us competitive edge.
McCloy believes companies must assess what and where they want to be against the background of continually changing world. “Those with the best business and value propositions will attract the right people because candidates select the companies they work for as much as the companies select them.”
Much of the methodology or “intelligent recruitment” used by MSI when interviewing job applicants today is based on the findings of those Americans he met 10 years ago and with whom he has maintained contact. They include Dr Jerry Kaber, Dr Randall White and Mike Lombardo.
Their work, lectures and papers on leadership are result of closely monitoring Fortune 500 companies for more than 20 years and measuring what made their managers successful.

Difficult learning
Borrowing an analogy from White, McCloy likens managing company today to travelling down fast flowing river on raft. There is no time to think about consequences. Decisions are made at speed. The successful executives that companies seek are the ones with high degrees of learning agility. The Fortune 500 companies studied, for example, had that agility and were typically five times more successful than those with lower learning.
In recent paper, Seekers and Scalers: The Future Leaders, White, Philip Hodgson and Stuart Crainer said leaders of the future were those who could identify areas of uncertainty and confusion whereas in the past leaders were usually the creators of certainty. Seeking uncertainty embraces difficult learning – an area where there are potential business benefits for company through the development of capabilities by both the employee and the organisation in order to meet challenges. Trouble is, most of us instinctively avoid that kind of learning, say the authors.
It goes back to school days when children raised their hand when they knew an answer to question. The teacher invariably rewarded them with praise. If they didn’t know the answer they kept quiet, avoiding broadcasting their lack of knowledge. It’s much the same in corporate life. Executives facing uncertainty either seek answers or keep quite because lack of knowledge is regarded as weakness.
This lack of knowledge will become the hinge point of management decisions, says McCloy. Difficult learning must be sought. It means learning more about the market business is in, knowing that there is more opportunity out there and finding how to explore it.
“Things that are easily learned may have value but tend to turn into commodities that are useful but not usually competitive,” he says. “If I said to you that your company needs to develop great customer service, for example, we know that customer service is low learning difficulty. You can train people to be pretty darned good at it.
“But if I said to you that you have got to create company where the people are highly innovative in their thinking you would ask; ‘how do I do that’? If you do achieve it, your competitors can’t catch you because this is high learning activity area that they would also need to embark on.”
And that, says McCloy, is the difference between highly successful and average companies. Competitive advantage comes in the area of high, not low learning difficulties. Learning agility is not only measure of an individual’s intelligence quota (IQ) but also their emotional intelligence (EI).

Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence measures an individual’s potential for mastering self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management and how it translates into success in the job.
“It typically looks at those recurring patterns that happen in people’s life because those patterns are predictive of what the future will be for them,” says McCloy. “If you are person who is prepared to look at and learn new things and is open to new ideas you will probably continue to learn and adapt.”
Though examination of people’s private lives is taboo in the recruitment pro-cess, there are methodologies that draw out people’s characters. EI is currently controversial. Experts on the subject say their work has been tainted by writers who have deviated from the facts to write faddish books about it. According to internet websites EI is widely used by companies as recruitment tool and has been so successful for the US Air Force that it is being extended to all US defence recruitment. MSI incorporates EI in its methodology.

The right thinking
Assessing the right person for job doesn’t mean finding the perfect person, as far as McCloy is concerned. There is no perfect person. “What you must have is people with the right thinking. If you have the right thinking you will get the right result.” He suggests looking at it in terms of sports team.
“You have the old cliché that the best team is not team of stars but star team. So you could have team of stars who are the very best people yet they play badly. Then you could have team that has good, highly talented people who are not stars but play as totally star team.”
Recruiters wanting to find star team for technology company, for example, would first need to understand the company’s background. That, he says, explains the need for recruitment companies to forge close and trusting relations or partnerships with clients. They get alongside t

Visited 12 times, 1 visit(s) today
Close Search Window