Companies under fire for recruiting ‘stale males’ for exec roles

The preoccupation with appointing new recruits with the right ‘cultural fit’ for executive roles means employers are missing out on talent, recruitment experts have warned.

A new survey, based on in-depth interviews with 100 board directors and HR chiefs, reveals that half of respondents believe cultural fit is the key factor in recruitment decisions.

Yet 60% of those polled by recruiter Executives Online said they had trouble finding people with the right experience, while more than a quarter said they couldn’t find the people managers they need.

Firms need to take a closer look at their recruitment and HR policies to prevent lazy headhunters automatically putting forward “safe” candidates, according to Norrie Johnston, managing director of Executives Online.

“The end result is what many refer to as ‘pale, male and stale’ recruits,” he said.

Zena Martin, managing director of diversity consultancy Acknowledge Communications, said organisations that flourished were the ones that genuinely and actively recruit candidates with a new perspective.

“Rather than looking for new blood that fits your existing culture, be willing to change your culture,” she said. “Otherwise, not only will your management teams be stale, but so will your revenues.”

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