Recruiting is clearly a job for senior managers

07 Dec 2011 00:07 | Deleted user

“Recruiting is clearly a job for senior managers …”

Interview by Alessandra Zocca

Alessandro Molinaroli, Senior Manager at ERIC SALMON & PARTNERS - Milan .

PWI – Mr. Molinaroli, how do you define "talent"?
Mr. Molinaroli – Talent is an opportunity that individuals may decide to exploit (or not) to further develop their contribution to the overall growth of themselves and the community they belong to (a company, in most cases, but also a local community). In this respect, a talented person is not “doomed” to use his or her talent but has the freedom to decide if and how to use his/her talent. For this very reason, I am convinced that pledges and personal initiative to use talent are strictly individual and can only be marginally influenced by the external environment.
All the literature about the war for talents has to be reviewed, in this light, as organizations can, in the best possible case, shape an environment which favors and promotes the individual use of talents. In other terms, you cannot oblige Lionel Messi (*) to be Messi, but FC Barcelona (football) did its best in order to help Messi use his talents at best.

Alessandro, is “leadership” a talent in your opinion?
Mr. Molinaroli - Leadership is a talent, as it envisages a higher than average ability to:
a) generate consensus around ideas brought about by an individual
b) to convince others to follow these ideas.
So, communication and “steering, guidance” are key to shaping and exerting effective leadership. Unfortunately, despite a flood of literature and education about leadership, business as well as politics seems to have less of this talent than in the past. The present Euro crisis is more than anything else a leadership crisis and the same concept can be applied to business, where mantras have been followed without any critical attitude.
Business leaders, like Enrico Mattei – the founder of ENI, the largest Italian company, or Steve Jobs are first and foremost those who go beyond evidence (a big oil & gas company in Italy, a country without natural resources?) and common thinking (icons as the easiest way to define ideas and concepts) That is why they last forever, while others quickly fade away from our memory.
Anyway, just a few leaders are more than enough: followers are, in this respect, at least as important as leadership. Too many leaders are an indication of entropy: what a real leader must do is to identify his “successors” and provide them with the support needed to lead the transition. Ideally, it is exactly what Jesus did with the Apostles in order to ensure the most effective transition from him to his “earthly” organisation, which is the Church.

Scouting for, attracting, selecting and recruiting the "right" and talented people is a crucial and vital process for a company, isn't it?
Why then - often - do companies assign these responsibilities to employees with a lower seniority position and age? Don't you think that ensuring the company has the optimum human resources to fulfill the vision should be a responsibility of senior management?

Mr. Molinaroli - Recruiting is clearly a job for senior managers, they are the only ones who have the maturity and the experience needed to assess people, without being influenced too much by appearance. Of course, junior assistants are useful in the preliminary screening, but should not be entrusted with the final decision.

Which are nowadays the key factors of recruitment?
Mr. Molinaroli - Key factor is industry and functional knowledge and “hands on” experience. Companies are focusing on those candidates who are more likely to deliver results.

Which are the key competencies, qualities and professional background of the best recruiters?
Mr. Molinaroli - Best recruiters are those who are able to “read the mind” of candidates, having of course in mind the kind of “book” (i.e. company) the candidate should write.

Which are the differences between recruiting as Head Hunter/ interim or within the company ?
Mr. Molinaroli - Head hunters (or better ‘executive search consultants’) and internal recruiters work at their best when they work together. Head hunters know the labor market and the expectations of candidates much better than internal recruiters do. On the other hand, these latter know the company’s actual needs much better than the head hunters do. Therefore sharing information is the key to ensuring successful recruiting.

How has recruitment evolved in the last few years (in terms of relevance, globalisation, organisation structure, processes)? How, in your opinion, will recruitment evolve in the next ten years?
Mr. Molinaroli - Recruiting has changed a lot over the last 10 years. It is now a more competitive process, with a significant amount of searches being “disintermediated”, i.e. managed by companies using key people in the business community and leveraging on social networks.
However, the new tools and media will never be able to replace the ability to advise and run comparative assessment which is inherent in the executive search process.

In the light of the EU Parliament resolution regarding women quotae, how do you envisage the impact on recruitment?
Mr. Molinaroli - Women quotae are beginning to impact the recruiting process, as companies are more open and willing to recruit women. However, I do believe that an equal opportunity employer should never differentiate on the basis of gender.
However, I do believe that overemphasizing, a sort of “compensation by law” for fewer opportunities given to women in the past, will be of little help for women themselves, as some people could even believe that some women are making career in the boardroom because they are women and not because they are clever managers.

(*) Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi is an Argentine footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and captains the Argentinan national team. Messi received several Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations by the age of 21, and won in 2009 and 2010. His playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi as his "successor."

  Short Biography
Alessandro Molinaroli is currently Senior Manager at ERIC SALMON & PARTNERS – Milano.

He gained a Degree in Business Administration with a specialisation in Organisation Design at the one of the most prestigious Italian universities, Università Commerciale “L.Bocconi” – Milan

Previously his career has developed through working in the following positions:
•    Contract Professor of Organisational Systems at the University of BERGAMO – Faculty of Engineering
•    Senior Manager - CMS Division (Change Management Services) with ANDERSEN CONSULTING (now ACCENTURE) - Milan
•    Senior Manager at CONSIEL (Telecom Italia Group) – Milan and Rome  
•    Hired within the High Fliers Program at BANCA COMMERCIALE ITALIANA – Milan

Disclaimer - Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of ERIC SALMON & PARTNERS – Milano, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.
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