28 January - non-executive directors

31 January 2022

[Reflecting on the interview process] “There’s a problem with individuals who think they know best. They’ve never had proper training or development on how to select. You can give them all the tools in the world, you can give them a matrix, but they will just not use it. I was on a recent interview panel where the chair decided he was going to dictate how it was going to be run and wouldn’t take any advice from anyone. The individuals weren’t even asked the basic questions like why have you applied, why you and what skills do you bring?”

“The one question I will always ask is what do you understand by inequalities in the NHS? Rarely do I get a straight answer. Inequalities are avoidable and preventable. 70% are floored by the question ‘tell me of an equality that you reduced in your last job and tell me an inequality you reduced for the community’.”

“You cannot avoid the tap on the shoulder. People here will know that when they go for an interview and they don’t get it, six months down the line they find out who got the job and why they got it and it was nothing to do with matrix. Don’t blame the person that got the job. It’s the institutional structures that we’ve got to break down and somehow, we’ve got to find a way in the NHS to bring independence to people who have got a voice to stand up to people like their chairs and executives.”

[On how to attract the right candidates]: “The first thing I do is start six months before the appointment. I advertise and promote it myself. My NEDs so the same and all the staff find out about the vacancy. We would then have open days where people can come and find out about the job. I would make sure my executives are open for conversations with the applicants. Then the final trick is you do not commission head-hunters to find someone. You commission a recruitment agency to find you someone that adds value to your department, and you tell them, ‘I want you to get diverse candidates’ but I’m going to hold myself to account that diverse candidates apply.”

These meetings are by invitation and are open to all NHS non-executives directors, chairs and associate non-executive directors of NHS providers. Others may attend by special invitation.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about these webinars, please contact: events@good-governance.org.uk