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Optimum Talks Blog

Stakeholder Engagement and the Recruitment Process

by Optimum Talent
July 23, 2015

Stakeholder management, consultation and engagement have become increasingly prevalent in the business community as more and more corporations and industries recognize the value of these interactions. Not only is stakeholder consultation a vital component of corporate social responsibility, but businesses that engage with and listen to the needs of their stakeholders consistently out-perform their peers.

This kind of engagement isn’t only valuable to a construction firm building a new road or an oil company drilling in new territory. Stakeholder consultation can also have a profound and positive effect on an organization’s recruitment process.  Here’s why you might want to consider stakeholder engagement as part of your next executive recruitment:

Building Positive Relationships

A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in the outcome of the recruitment.  They might be impacted by the choice of candidate, or have an influence on the future of the organization. When stakeholders are engaged at the outset of the search, they have the potential to impact the direction that the search takes, and this can help to build trust, accountability and productive relationships moving forward. Asking key stakeholders what qualities that they would like to see in the successful candidate, or what indicators of success they will look for after the individual has been in the role for a year can help to shape the job profile for potential applicants.  This is an important time in the recruitment process to address any competing interests or differing priorities in order to ensure that everyone’s expectations can be acknowledged and addressed.

Gaining Valuable Insight and Information

When you’re engaging in an important recruitment, your stakeholders are your strongest resource.    When stakeholders feel free to speak without reservation about the organization that they work for or are impacted by, they will provide a fountain of valuable experience, insight and knowledge into the recruitment as well as into the vision and culture of the organization.  It’s an opportunity to ask questions, gain information, and identify potential risks or obstacles associated with the recruitment from different perspectives.  Stakeholders can provide insight into how the outcome of the recruitment will be perceived, as well as outline any particular opportunities that might be associated with the position.  When you draw on the knowledge and expertise of the stakeholders, it is easier to ensure that the process of recruitment accurately reflects their needs and priorities.  By understanding what a successful recruitment means to each stakeholder group, you can clarify expectations and be better equipped to address criticisms that may arise.

Strengthening Stakeholder Commitment

When the priorities of stakeholder groups and individuals have been well represented in the job profile, it is easier for these individuals to feel a sense of ownership over the outcome of the recruitment.  If the stakeholder can hear their own goals reflected in the goals of the search, they will be more committed to the success of the candidate that is ultimately chosen.  Along with this commitment and ownership comes enhanced sustainability of the organization as a whole. In addition, the consultation process creates a wonderful opportunity to educate external stakeholders about the future priorities and goals of the organization. Committed and well-informed stakeholders are far more likely to contribute to the search process in a constructive way.

Facilitating Successful Candidates

One of the most important outcomes of a robust stakeholder engagement will be the information that you can pass along to potential candidates.  The accurate representation of the organizational culture as well as the key areas for opportunity will provide prospective candidates with an honest look at the position that they are considering, and entice them towards a role where they can make a difference.  The insight into the unique values and perspective will help the recruiter to ascertain whether or not a particular candidate would be a good cultural “fit” for the team and organization as a whole.  Additionally, a well-prepared and non-attributable summary of stakeholder commentary can serve as an excellent onboarding tool for the successful candidate.  This document will provide the candidate with a rare and insightful look at the role that they are stepping into, as well as the opportunity to foresee any potential obstacles or pitfalls before they arise.

When an organization undergoing a recruitment is prepared to listen to and engage its stakeholders in a direct and meaningful way, there are advantages for everyone involved.  Although this extra step in the process can take time at the outset, the benefits are well worth the effort when a successful candidate finds a solid fit with the organization for years to come.

 – Jennifer Huntley

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