The “Time-Tested” Due Diligence of Executive Hiring: Why NEDs are the Secret Sauce

Candidate due diligence non-executives

Have you ever bought a product purely based on its glossy advert and then found out it didn’t quite meet expectations? Enter the world of executive hiring. We often rely on well-polished CVs, rehearsed interviews, and references that are essentially “pre-approved testimonials”. But what if there was a way to bypass this superficial layer and delve deeper?

A Journey Through Traditional Hiring

Typically, the executive hiring process resembles a dance, choreographed to perfection. From the moment a candidate throws their hat into the ring, until the CV gracefully lands on a recruiter’s desk, every step is calibrated. The interviews? Well, they’re a bit like first dates. Both parties are on their best behaviour, offering up their most impressive anecdotes and skills. As for references? Handpicked and as rehearsed as a theatre show. After all, who in their right mind would willingly provide a contact who might spill the beans on that one project that didn’t quite go to plan?

Enter NEDs: The Unsung Heroes of Executive Hiring

Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) bring to the table something that’s in short supply in today’s recruitment world: authentic insight. Their vast networks, accumulated over years, if not decades, in the industry, give them a bird’s-eye view. Not only do they have a finger on the pulse of the market’s best talents, but they’ve also observed these individuals in action – the good, the bad, and the not-to-be-mentioned-at-an-interview.

Let’s paint a picture. Imagine if, instead of relying solely on that polished CV and the rehearsed references, you had a trusted advisor whispering in your ear, “Ah, John? Great strategist, but remember to give him his morning coffee before 9. You don’t want to see him without it.”

Why NEDs are Priceless in Candidate Due Diligence

  1. They’ve Seen It All: From boardroom dramas to market crashes, NEDs have weathered many a storm. Their perspective on what makes a good hire goes beyond mere qualifications.
  2. Honest Appraisals: Given that they’re not in the daily grind of the business, NEDs can offer a more unbiased, holistic view of a candidate’s fit for a role.
  3. Beyond the CV: While a CV might tell you about a candidate’s professional journey, a NED can provide insight into their character, work ethic, and those little quirks that make (or break) a team.
  4. Swift Process: With a NED’s network at your disposal, the recruitment timeframe can shrink considerably. Instead of waiting for that perfect CV to float by, you might find your ideal candidate is just a phone call away.

While the traditional methods of hiring have their merits, when it comes to senior executive roles, perhaps it’s time to take a leaf out of the NED’s playbook. After all, in the high-stakes game of executive recruitment, isn’t it better to have a secret weapon up your sleeve? And if that weapon happens to be a well-connected, seasoned professional with an uncanny knack for people, well, that’s just the cherry on top!


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