Recruiting governors can be a challenge for any organisation within the Further Education sector. Part of my challenge is to ensure this process is enjoyable, seamless and relevant for both my clients and my candidates.
From my perspective, this is achieved through a stage of key steps but, ultimately, it is about communication, getting to know people and being honest.
I get to know my client by meeting with them in their environment. This gives me a real feel of the organisation – it may only be a snapshot, but it is always the first impression that lasts.
I ask probing questions so I can get real information about the board culture; to understand what the true time commitment is, what is the financial situation and the nitty gritty of the challenges ahead.
This all gives me a real insight and the knowledge to be honest with my candidates and the ability to create a positive yet realistic story about the board, the college and the expectations of the role.
In return, I like my clients to be honest with me, to tell me exactly what they want from the process and who it is they need engaging onto the board. Sharing their weaknesses so that I can plug these gaps and bring relevant expertise to them as prospective candidates.
Becoming a Further Education Governor, the logistics
Using this information, I then spend time to reflect on the people that I will approach regarding the opportunity. I carry out research on the organisations in the locality that are of a similar size to the client and those that will have relevant expertise held within the organisation.
I look at the logistics of people reaching the client: how far will people travel from their workplace, is it close to a motorway or in a city centre, near a main railway station or down a country lane? All elements that are important when candidates are volunteering their time; as simple as it might sound.
So, now fully armed with information and a list of prospective contacts, the important work commences.
I find the success of this is about getting to know your candidates and being honest. Finding out who they really are; what are their interests and what lies behind the backbone of their CV?
Also, it’s important to consider the board meeting schedule and how it will fit with their outside commitments: how long does it take from their office to board meeting venue? And so on. All information that helps me make a professional judgement as to their suitability to join a board and the suitability of a board for them. It is a two-way relationship and, if it doesn’t match, then nobody is a winner.
Throughout the process, I support my candidates in any way I can. This could be answering questions, CV preparation or constructive feedback on their applications. It all helps in building my relationship with them and hopefully gaining a positive outcome.
Recruiting the best Further Education Governors all comes down to communication, getting to know people and having honest conversations. This is the recipe for success!