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Rethinking Traditional Search Parameters

Peanut butter and…jelly! But of course. Isn’t that what we assume the pairing to be? Why is that? Generally speaking, it is because we have most likely heard those four words in the same sentence since early childhood.

Such mental reflexive connections may be harmless in some contexts, but imagine that same automatic response when we think about a potential candidate or possible hire and we find ourselves making assumptions about their experiences, qualifications, or ability to perform the job. Ask yourself – am I eliminating an individual from the candidate pool because they don’t align with my programmed reaction, that they don’t seem like they could be the jelly to my peanut butter?

It sounds a bit ridiculous, to be sure, but consider for a moment how often we make unthinking generalizations that result in decisions that perpetuate the status quo and eliminate opportunities that may ultimately enrich our experience or that of our clients. Last fall, Shelli Herman participated in the Network of Nonprofit Search Consultants’ virtual conference where the group heard from Kymberly Garrett of the GarrettSpioni Group on the importance of rethinking traditional parameters for executive search to include candidates that strengthen our competitive edge in the ever-increasing global marketplace of talent. To accomplish that goal, it will be important that we evaluate how we view, approach, and execute our respective game plans.

Can we intentionally set aside preconceived ideas, common perceptions and stereotypes, and the same recruiting or hiring habits? Are we willing to confront our own biases and assumptions? As an association we have made a commitment to incorporate best practices in creating, implementing, and supporting programs and policies that foster equitable and inclusive systems. This commitment requires new thinking and the willingness to go out of our comfort zones and reach across barriers. Kymberly gave us a framework and deepened the conversation for us. This work is hard. It requires open and honest personal evaluation and reflection. In the end, as we learned, the result is worth the effort.

Peanut butter and bananas, anyone?


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