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Sit vac… only the best need apply

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger
I look at the senior management recruit ads out of curiosity rather than intent these days. There was a time when I took a serious interest in any executive level post no matter where it was located although having grown up in the north and worked extensively in the Midlands I would not consider London. That is until I saw this post advertised.
“ I’m not afraid to take someone with potential who may need a little development. But they need to have the values that align with ( name of organisation ) values – the desire to tackle inequality and to work for social justice.”
The advert highlighted this quote from the senior manager who would be directly line managing the successful candidate. It immediately made me want to know what else this individual had say. Adverts for senior post usually emphasis experience, qualifications and skills not potential and values. This seemed a very personal advert not something drafted by recruitment consultant or from a template provided by HR. It made me think, “this is some one I could work for.“ This is why the advert was very cleaver because there is a lot of evidence that people leave managers not organisations. This advert turned this finding on its head and worked from the position that people join organisations because of managers.
As I read on I realised that the organisation was being described like a person, rebellious, energetic, very dynamic and ambitious. The implication being that the ideal candidate would also poses these same characteristics. Who doesn’t see themselves as a bit of a rebel? Energetic and dynamic so much more action oriented  than the overused and passive, “passionate”. Ambitious you bet.
I was seduced. Next they went on to give a profile of the cross section of people who worked for them. Each one illustrated one of the characteristics, the young man who had first come to their attention as a member of a group wanting to know how the organisation was going to improve the quality of lives of local people. He had seized the opportunities the organisation offered and quickly moved up the career ladder. The female manager whose energetic and dynamic interventions had really made a difference and had been recognised as such inside and outside the organisation. There were more but these two were enough to convince me there was substance beyond the rhetoric.
Further into the additional information there was reference to the head of, “Equalities and Disproportionality”. I was unfamiliar with this as away of describing HR. It was the use of the word. “disproportionality” that caught my attention and made me wonder why the organisation had chosen this word. Which I assume was the intention, make people think about it. An other example of recognising the task is to come up with new ways of telling hard truths.
I would like to meet these people, I could defiantly fit in here, I recon I would have a good chance of getting this post.  Even if nothing came of it the interview would be interesting.

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