The Exalted ‘Chief’ of Titles: The Hilarious Minefield of Senior Executive Recruitment

Recruiting senior executives | Virtualnonexecs

Title: “The Exalted ‘Chief’ of Titles: The Hilarious Minefield of Senior Executive Recruitment”

Every year in the UK, we bear witness to the mystifying migration of the ‘chief’, ‘director’, or ‘VP’. They soar from LinkedIn profile to LinkedIn profile, apparently changing hosts faster than a flitting sparrow. Today, I want to address this peculiar phenomenon: the risk of hiring based on job titles rather than actual skills and experience. So, brace yourselves, hiring teams! We’re about to debunk the exalted ‘chief’ illusion.

Picture this. You’re skimming through a CV, and your eyes get caught on the term ‘Chief Technology Officer’. Immediately, it’s as if angels sing and lights descend from the heavens. The job title just screams expertise, responsibility, and a seniority level that might make even your granny envious. But what if our charming Chief Technology Officer is nothing more than a web developer, donning a fancy hat in a startup that has fewer employees than a country pub on a Tuesday afternoon?

What’s more, they might be ‘winging it’ more than a chicken trying to escape Sunday dinner! It’s not until the ink is dry on the contract and they’re tucked in their new (very expensive) executive office that you discover their level of expertise matches that of a middle-school computer club.

Now don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot to be said for resourcefulness and tenacity. Still, it might not be the best strategy to put your multi-million-pound company in the hands of someone whose primary experience is choosing the best Instagram filter. By the time you discover the discrepancy, you’re in deeper than a mole on a mining mission!

How do we, as organisations, tackle this titanic title tangle? The answer is simple – by adding a sprinkle of vigilance, a dollop of scrutiny, and a good deal of old-fashioned face-to-face interviews. Yes, the ‘face-to-face’ might feel as archaic as your great-grandpa’s false teeth, especially in our Zoom-dominated era. But let’s face it, nothing beats the truth serum of a real-life, no-place-to-hide, eye-to-eye meeting.

Here’s the rub. If a candidate isn’t willing to meet in person, it’s best to avoid them like a questionable kebab after a night out on the town. Sure, they might have a good excuse – but so does everyone who’s ever tried to return a half-eaten sandwich to Tesco!

Now, you might think this all sounds too tough. Perhaps you worry about alienating potential candidates or missing out on the next Steve Jobs, who may just happen to be introverted or located on another continent. Rest assured, real talent is rarely deterred by a genuine show of interest in their skills and experience. And, let’s be frank, there’s more to the next Steve Jobs than a self-bestowed ‘chief’ or ‘director’ title!

Remember, it’s essential not to be bedazzled by grandiose job titles. The Chief of Titles might be impressive at a dinner party or a pub quiz, but when it comes to steering your organisation towards success, you need more than a fancy moniker and a slick LinkedIn profile. You need the real deal – someone who’s got the chops to match the title, who’s more than just a fledgeling trying to wing it.

So, hiring teams, let’s keep our wits about us and our eyes keenly trained on the truth. After all, we wouldn’t want to end up with a ‘Director of First Impressions’ when what we need is a good, honest receptionist!


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