Board appointment processes are often heavily influenced by people’s personal and professional networks, making it difficult to deliver a truly objective and balanced process. Sometimes, the recruitment becomes solely a matter of “who you know”? Due to the increased complexity of the corporate world and the professional vocation of directorships, Liftstream believes a clearly-structured recruiting process can be constructed, with a forward looking view for the business needs, to attract and recruit board members who will enhance the effectiveness of the board.
Standardised recruitment frameworks, designed correctly, have the potential to eliminate biases by creating a consistent candidate evaluation process. Executive search firms can add value in this regard, however, care must be taken to ensure that an appointed search firm is not conducting a search which purely cultivates the contacts well known to them, or regurgitates the lists it has produced for other searches it might have delivered. Searches need to be fresh, bespoke and delivered in a structured and open way, as to be sure that broad consideration is given to all possible candidate sources. It is a good opportunity for the committee to get some insights into the “best practice” of professional recruitment procedures. It is worth investing in regular communication with executive search firms to clarify the committee’s goals in order to make a standardised process catered to more specific requirements.
Nomination committees can work on the consistency of assessment metrics, assessors and ways of conducting the assessment. Policy Exchange, the UK’s leading think tank, urged committees to include psychometric testing as routine, which will ensure a mix of personalities on the board that can both effectively challenge management whilst building consensus (here). For positions requiring a greater level of technical and financial expertise, standardised tests can help the committee understand candidates’ knowledge and experience level of explicit areas.