Why recruiting from your leadership network isn’t always the best approach 

Brexit, COVID and now a looming recession – the last few years have been incredibly hard for businesses of all sizes, and it doesn’t look as though it’s going to get any easier, at least not in the short term. 

But despite the difficulties we are all facing, there is one thing that remains true – recruiting someone from your leadership network is not necessarily the right approach. Yes, it might be easy, and might feel like the right choice at the right time, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for the future of your business. We take a look at some of the reasons why. 

1. You risk hiring the wrong person

Obviously, this is a risk no matter who you hire, but it’s why your company should have a recruitment process is place. While recruiting from your leadership network is undoubtedly an easy option, a robust recruitment process will help: 

  • ensure you hire strategically by choosing someone who has the right skills for your company’s needs both now and in the future
  • you choose someone who will remain fulfilled and motivated in the role which in turn will improve retention and boost productivity
  • save your company time and money

By just going for a ‘quick fix’ you risk hiring someone who, admittedly may be great in the short-term, but is fundamentally wrong for the long-term.  Your recruitment process is there for a reason. Use it.  

2. You’ll fit the person to the job

Every job requires a different set of skills and attributes and with the business world currently going through unprecedented change it’s more important than ever to ensure those skills are fit for the future. Hire from your leadership network and there is the very real risk that you will make the job fit that person and their skill set, rather than the other way round.  Once again this is why it’s so important to have a robust recruitment strategy in place and to stick to

3. You’ll miss out on ‘hidden gems’

In today’s changing climate it’s more important than ever that critical business hires are based on market intelligence and insight, which is why you should seriously think about talent mapping. Talent mapping isn’t just about identifying key people who could do the role, but rather about bridging the gap between your company’s goals and the people you will need to reach them. This proactive approach to recruitment can help identify those ‘hidden gems’ who could really help deliver your company’s future success. 

Our talent mapping services are both intensive and evidence-led and help underpin strategic and tactical decisions. If you would like to find out more about our talent mapping services, please get in touch. 

4. You’ll end up hiring for the past and not the future

 “In time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties”. Most of us are familiar with ‘The Peter Principle’ and it’s never truer than when hiring for a leadership role. Yes, someone in your leadership network might have had great success in the past and have the right skills and attributes to continue that success but do those skills and attributes translate to the role you need to fill now? 

And as we have covered previously, the leadership skills needed by future leaders are likely to be very different from the ones needed today, so does that person actually have the skills necessary, not just for now but for the next five years? 

Undoubtedly, most of your leadership network will have exemplary CVs, but considering  someone who doesn’t necessarily have loads of past success, but has ‘potential’ could be the smarter option and is part of the reason you need a robust succession planning strategy.  After all, Mark Zuckerberg had no business experience when he started out and look at him now.   

5. Your leadership team could end up lacking diversity 

The good thing about leadership networks is they are normally made up of like-minded people; the bad thing is they often lack diversity. Chances are the people in your network will hold similar views and have had similar experiences, and as we mentioned previously hiring like for like isn’t necessarily the right strategy.  Ideally you need to hire someone who brings with them a greater depth and breadth of experience along with different perspectives and ideas.  And of course, the more diverse your leadership team the easier it will be to attract and retain top talent. 

With all the changes happening in the business world at the moment, recruiting from your own leadership network can seem the quickest and simplest solution;  however if you truly want to build a company that can weather whatever lies ahead, have confidence in your succession planning strategy, stick with your robust recruitment process, and focus on your long-term business goals. Do that, and you’ll find the right person for the role each and every time. 

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