The driving force behind any transport Talent or Recruitment team is to find and hire the best person for the job. However, this is rarely as simple as connecting the dots between a CV and a job description, which can result in the genuine best candidate being overlooked, or a close but not quite qualified candidate landing the role.

No transport organisation wants to miss out on the opportunities of a perfect-fit senior leader. But seeing beyond the job description and pinpointing the nuances that give someone an edge can be tough. Whether you recruit as an internal team or work with a Talent Consultancy, our tips can help you match high-level roles with the best in transport.

1. Widen perspectives in the early stages

If your transport recruitment process is led by Talent and HR teams, with key decision makers joining the conversation toward the final stages, we recommend tweaking your approach. To match with a candidate who has the ideal skills and culture fit, Talent Consultancy or internal teams should strive to get under the skin of your organisation. In our experience, the best way to achieve this is by closely involving Hiring Managers and other key decision makers at the start of the recruitment process.

This person’s perspective is essential to finding that perfect-fit, real person – not just filling a vacancy. Hiring Managers know the exact quirks and qualities they want, in addition to the objectives and deliverables they wish to achieve from recruiting. The value that the right candidate brings to the table is often unquantifiable; not always a tangible line that can be checked off a list. The experience and intuition of a Hiring Manager will support recruitment teams in seeing beyond the job description and they will hire stronger as a result. 

2. Encourage immersion days for recruitment teams

Whether your recruitment is internal only or you partner with a Talent Consultancy, if possible, step beyond the emails, texts, and video calls. Reach out to the Hiring Manager and ask if your recruitment lead can spend a day with their team! A day observing and speaking with the colleagues who will work with (and most likely, under) an executive appointment may prove a pivotal experience.

Beyond feeling for the nuances of culture fit, you can understand a team’s personality, challenges, and ways of working that can’t necessarily be translated into a job description. From here, you can better appreciate the suitability of a candidate. The way in which a candidate from a non-transport career responds to a characteristic team scenario may elevate them to frontrunner. Whereas a candidate with years of sector experience may lack a subtle but crucial quality necessary to the effective undertaking of their role.

3. Understand the personality behind the CV 

We all aspire to bring the best version of ourselves to work. But do we suddenly become different people when we swap the suit for sweatpants at the end of a busy day? For most of us, the answer is no. Individualism is increasingly celebrated and valued in senior teams. So where realistic you should try to get to know the unique person behind the achievements, years of service and industry knowledge that impressed you from their CV.

Showing your human side and getting to know a candidate’s personality can be an intriguing process. Understanding what is important to someone on a personal level, a favourite way to spend time, big picture dreams and everyday things that make them tick, may reveal connections between who they are, and what they can bring to a role. A personal quality neither recruiter not candidate considered, nor was published on a job description, may be the missing piece of the puzzle.

4. Give Diversity and Inclusion pride of place

Recruiting from the usual suspects (as we like to say at Intuitive!) may get you a like-for-like appointment that fits the job description down to a tee. But the usual suspects are exactly that. An unchallenged way of approaching a business objective, when diverse thought and varied perspectives are proven to deliver better performance – from innovation to profit margins. In transport in particular, where challenges like net zero, digital transformation and Diversity and Inclusion strategies are key organisational drivers, considering a more unconventional candidate may be the best move you can make.

At Intuitive, we connect clients to a diverse and inclusive talent network, helping to develop a more inclusive workforce that supports strategic policies and fresh, innovative thinking. To read more about how the transport sector is tackling its biggest challenges with the help of diverse teams, download our infographic here.

5. Take a proactive approach to talent

Recruitment, especially for senior and interim transport roles that have less predictable vacancies, is historically reactive. Teams – internal and Talent Consultancy – typically work on live roles. But this approach can leave Talent and HR teams with little room for maneuverwhen it comes to offering an position. Working only with the talent available to you at the time, means that you may focus too much on settling a job description rather than finding an individual better for your business in the longer term.

At Intuitive, for example, we encourage a meaningful, ongoing open conversation with clients about their recruitment needs. Being fully appraised of business objectives and future plans lays the strongest foundation for us to proactively connect with candidates who can make a real splash in an organisation – not just tick boxes on a job description. Consider establishing a talent nurture programme in-house to align with your Talent Consultancy.

Ready to experience search consultancy that truly understands you? Intuitive would love to hear from you. View our brochure here to learn about the candidate experience and hear from senior leaders whom we have placed in executive positions.

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