Examination of Witnesses(Questions 1340-1348)|
THURSDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2003
1340. Obviously we would be interested if there
were something like that.
(Mr Davidson) So would we!
1341. You talked earlier on about vested interest
in another context. Is there any truth in the supposition that
it is in your vested interest or a perverse incentive for you
to enhance the status and therefore the salary of these jobs because
of the percentage you get for your fees?
(Mr Davidson) In many cases it is a set fee rather
than a percentage. Although percentage fees are used more commonly
in the private sector, in the public sector set fees are more
common, so an increase in salary would have no impact.
1342. You have covered it a little bit already
but what advice would you give to somebody who wanted to be noticed
by you? What are the tricks of the trade?
(Mr Davidson) One thing is to write in. It is interesting
that people in the private sector are much more used to approaching
recruiters than in the public sector. That is one thing to do.
Another thing, as in any other situation, is to network, get out
there, be seen as an enthusiast, non-cynical, positive, optimistic
and someone who is keen to change things and do things. That is
very easy to do actually.
(Ms Cawley) One point just adding to that is that
we are probably more accessible than many of our competitors in
that in our advertisements we give the name of the consultant
and the direct line and e-mail. People will reply and say, "I
am not interested in that job but I saw your number, can I talk
about how I make myself known to you?"
1343. I was going to ask about that because
I thought the whole idea if someone made themselves known to you
is they were not good enough to be headhunted. I thought the whole
purpose of the exercise is the person who gets headhunted says,
"I am too important to apply for a job, these people will
come and ask me."
(Ms Cawley) It may be in the old- fashioned, stereotyped,
pin-striped suit, working in the City way, which of course we
are all against, but nowadays we are just as keen for people to
approach us. Clearly they might not be particularly high-calibre
individuals in which case we will be terribly polite and say,
"Thank you, we will come back to you if there is anything
of interest", and they might never hear from us again. However,
we have come across a lot of very high-calibre people through
informed contacts and people coming up to us at conferences. We
attend dinners and networking events for the professional bodies
that we each belong to.
Kevin Brennan: "Headhunters" is not
a very good name for you.
1344. You had better leave the forms then; I
do not need a call! Could I just ask one final thing, we took
evidence from the NHS Appointments Commission, which is an innovation
because here is the taking of a bit of public appointments out
into a separate commission, which seem to be doing innovative
and outreaching sort of things. Would it be your sense that it
would be a good idea to have such a body to do all public appointments
so that they would develop the expertise, they would not be the
inert body that you describe the Public Appointments Register
as being? From your experience of this area, would that be a way
(Mr Davidson) Certainly there would be some advantages
of greater clarity to the community that is involved in these
appointments as to what the processes are and who is involved
and who is responsible for what, because as it is perceived it
can be unclear in that regard. Certainly by bringing some greater
coherence to some of the processes major advantages are very likely.
1345. Do you do those kind of appointments now?
Have you done chairs of health trusts?
(Mr Davidson) We have done some of those in the past
but not recently.
1346. That is what I was going to ask. Have
you lost those because of the arrival of the NHS Appointments
(Mr Davidson) No, the NHS has been a much more closed
shop to recruitment and has more typically attended to appointments
from within itself and has tended to use external agency recruitment
far less in the last number of years.
1347. Absolutely finally, so we do not lose
anything you might want to tell us, as we are trying to think
our way through any improvements to the public appointments system
that might be required, is there anything that you could add to
that you have not already said in terms of a recommendation or
a suggestion? You have made several along the way very helpfully
but I do not want you to leave without extracting everything from
(Mr Davidson) We will have an opportunity to reflect
on the questions you asked and to submit some further written
evidence, which we will take advantage of doing particularly to
reflect further on areas where we might elaborate in a more focused
1348. That is very good and particularly Kevin's
suggestion that you might give us research on the correlation
between successful public organisations and the use of headhunterswhich
you could publish if it was to your advantage!
(Mr Davidson) Or squash it otherwise!
Chairman: Thank you very much indeed for coming
along. I think we have had a very interesting session. Thank you