The recruitment process for chief executives is “daft” and results in the wrong person being appointed, a senior recruiter has warned.
The use of short, single interviews conducted by a panel does not allow people to show the breadth of their skills, according to Hamish Davidson.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors (ACSeS), Mr Davidson called for something more like the private sector’s method of multiple informal meetings rather than the single panel interview which could sometimes be as short as 40 minutes.
“It is a truly daft way to appoint and that is the reason we get so many mistakes,” the former Rockpools, Veredus and PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant said.
Although the private sector way of doing things could often take much longer, as much as six or nine months, Mr Davidson said he would like to see a compromise between the two and called for local government to use initial screening interviews.
He also criticised the way employers often failed to actually contact the references provided by candidates.
The panel system was also problematic, he added, because it sometimes created “a lowest common denominator” effect which meant “they didn’t make an inspired appointment”.