· 2 min read · Features

Search for CIPD chief executive: we need to cut through the stereotyping and find a superhuman HR champion


My friends have recently bought themselves a new puppy; it took them only one visit to the rescue centre to pick it but nearly a year to decide to do it.

I can still hear them saying that man's best friend quickly asserts itself and attempts to become pack leader in your home. So it helps to choose wisely and not to rush into a decision you will later regret.

Whether it's the size, good with children, good with other dogs, levels of energy or lifestyle fit it all needs to be assessed to ensure you have made the right choice and you will have a wonderful long term experience.

Choosing a potential new pack leader is always a stressful exper­i­ence. Some organisations develop slick interview pro­ced­ures, others hire expensive con­sult­ants to do quick short listing and others rely on 20 minute psychometric tests to do the job for them. Yet to pick the puppy that can't figure out why its evasive tail keeps running from its mouth we can take a year.

At the CIPD, sadly Jackie Orme has had to step down and I am sure she does so with our good wishes for a speedy and full recovery. And now our ilustrious institute is looking for a new chief executive.

And not just any chief cxecutive according to the advert.

This chief executive is not only to be confident, insightful, global, driven, ambitious, visionary, credible, inspired, strategic and international they also have to be highly visibility, high profile and able to speak for the profession on stage and on air. They are going to represent our profession with Government and with a co-joined passion for people and aptitude for business.

I can't wait to see the results, when I first heard of the opportunity I feared the institutional 'old guild' would close ranks on us and we would see the selection come from one of the many internal lieutenants or worse from the myriad of old school HR professionals currently enjoying consultant status.

But having read the job advert I am drawn to the old adage that every organisation gets the leader it deserves. The organisation that is described in this advert is the perfect place for new and exciting HR professional. It is presenting an organisation focused on creating a lively innovative community, it creates pictures in my mind of a largely online professional body that is planning ahead and considering long term solutions that really deliver change.

All we need is a selection process that ensures we can cut through the stereotyping and reach into the heart of each applicant to find someone who can not only be the superhuman HR champion graphically portrayed in the advert narrative but just as importantly we need someone to turn around our failing commercial revenue. We need someone who can inspire and re-launch our diminishing branch networks and we need someone with the capability to think differently and see a CIPD that is returning to a focus on membership services, education, research and branches.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was as I got closer to the end of the page. I was reaching the last part of the advert where I anticipated seeing a recruitment process outlined in a manner that was nothing short of a profound statement of intent, a declaration of purpose. And there it was, my heart was pumping my hands shaking as my eyes reached those miraculous instructions:

'If you are interested please send your CV to…'

Graham White (pictured) is HR director, Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust