Tag Archives: MTCMA

Recruitment: When A Candidates Can’t Say “Yes”

Post by By Rick Dacri, Dacri & Associates, LLC; initially published in the July 2016 MTCMA newsletter

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Finding the perfect candidate to fill the critical position in your municipality is never easy. Search, interviewing, and reference checking can be draining to you and your staff or board. And once you find the “right” one, you’d like to believe your job is over, but it is not. Getting the candidate to say “yes” is the most important part of the entire recruitment process. Without a “yes” everything else you have done is simply practice.

When a candidate cannot say “yes” to your job offer, you have a problem. Be clear to candidates that they have no more than one week, 10 days at most, to render you an answer. Baring extenuating circumstances, without an affirmative, withdraw the offer and move on. Otherwise, you’ll be left dangling and the candidate will likely reject your offer. In my 30 years of executive recruitment, never have I seen a candidates take an extended time to contemplate an offer and eventually accept it—even during periods of tough negotiations. If they can’t (or won’t) make a decision about a job offer, how can you expect them to make a decision about other aspects of the job? Remember, they either never wanted the job or can’t make up their minds—not very good traits for a new employee.

The Board of a large public organization extended a generous job offer to a highly qualified CEO candidate. The candidate was both surprised and hesitant by the offer (red flags). After one week of negotiations, the candidate asked for additional time to think about it (another red flag). Over the next five weeks, the candidate sought multiple clarifications to the terms of the offer and a delayed starting date before the board ultimately pulled the plug. Even though the board’s executive recruiter recommended withdrawing the offer after 10 days, the board continued the process and was shocked that it came to his point.

What went wrong? Here are 12 tell tale signs that your job offer will likely be rejected:
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Filed under executive recruitment, municipalities, municipality, Recruitment, Uncategorized

Municipalities: The Magnet That Draws Candidates to You Creating a Positive Recruitment Brand

 

MTCMA

(This article was written by Rick Dacri and published in the March 2016 MTCMA Newsletter)

Why is it that some towns have a steady stream of quality individuals who want to work for them? In large part, these towns have created and fostered a positive brand. When communities find it impossible to fill open positions or get volunteers to step forward, it is likely a result of having a negative brand.

So what is a recruitment brand? Quite simply, it is the magnet that draws candidates to you. It’s the message you convey about what it is like to work for your town. Every organization has a brand, whether you know it or not. You communicate it every day to and through your employees, the actions you and they take or don’t take, the words spoken or the silence delivered, and even through your physical appearance. Your brand is communicated through your values, beliefs, and your core mission and ideally, from a recruitment standpoint, your brand sends a strong and loud message out to the community that “you’re a great place to work.” Continue reading

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Filed under city manager, Recruitment, Uncategorized

How Unhealthy Cultures Stymie Progress

(This article, written by Rick Dacri, was originally published in the Maine Town, City & County Management Association July 2014 Newsletter)

If you want to understand what truly makes your organization tick, focus on your culture. Former IBM CEO Louis Gestner, Jr. remarked, “culture is everything.” It is the driving force in managing your city or town.

Watch the ways your employees greet one another, address residents, and even dress. Observe their work habits, how they perform their jobs, and their willingness to do more. Understand your unwritten rules, beliefs, expectations and values. All of these will provide you a snapshot of your organization’s personality and culture.

I was asked by a new Town Manager to evaluate two finalists for a community relation’s position. One was an external candidate with years of relevant experience and a positive personality; the other, a long service internal candidate with no applicable proficiency. I asked the internal why she wanted the job, a position very different from her accounting role. She indicated that for the last 10 years she had watched the incumbent do the job and thought she’s like to do the same one day. When the incumbent retired, she assumed that with her seniority, she would be entitled to the job. When I inquired about what she had done over the years to prepare herself for the job—training, courses taken, anything—she looked at me incredulously. She had done nothing, beyond putting in her time. She didn’t get the job.

In this town, an “entitlement mentality” based on seniority was ingrained into the culture. The new manager and his Board wanted and needed a workforce that was engaged, energized, resident-focused and skilled. To get there, the manager needed to move to a performance based culture, built upon education, training and above all excellence. Merit always trumps longevity. Hiring the external candidate was the first step in the process and it sent a loud message to all.

Cultural change is never easy and it is often painful. It takes hard work, time and focus. The new manager was a take-charge leader who was committed to setting a new tone and direction. With an uncompromising approach and support from his board, he knew he had to be an exemplar–modeling and promoting the “new way.”

Creating a culture focused on performance required a powerful tool to both support this initiative and to measure employee progress. We developed a performance management system trumpeting employee recognition, rewarding excellent performance, and fostering employee development. An appraisal system that deemphasized a “report card” approach, while promoting career development, would get employees’ attention and support, begin to unthaw frozen beliefs, and was likely to generate support, acceptance and new attitudes. After all, you cannot raise the level of performance in an organization that floats on a culture emphasizing entitlement over achievement.

While it may be difficult to change behaviors and attitudes once they become the norm, strong leadership can make it happen. The effectiveness of town government, in an era of high resident expectations on bare bones budgets, rests on the shoulders of its leadership and workforce. Understanding your culture is critical. Changing it, if it not consistent with your strategic direction, is paramount.

Getting the best out of your people, nurturing their growth, in an environment based on performance, can be transformative. Promoting this can-do attitude, encouraging an acceptance of change, instills strong peer pressure for the new norms while enlisting the employees’ enthusiasm and dedicated efforts to achieving the town’s objectives.

Step back and critically look at your city or town. If you’re happy with what you see, build on it. If you find yourself falling short of your expectations, do what it takes to change. Your residents, board and yes, your employees will thank you.

If you would like to learn more about transforming your organization’s culture, contact Rick Dacri.

 

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