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Case study: Head of Communications in the Public Sector

Case study: Head of Communications in the Public Sector

Working primarily in the county of Essex, which has a population of close to 2 million, our client is a public sector agency that maintains a prominent position in the public spotlight. 

To spearhead the government agency’s communications department, the leadership team wanted to appoint a new Head of Communications and, having worked with our business previously, they approached us to see how we could help.

The challenge:

To make its communications department even more effective and productive, our client wanted to appoint a leader with a broad communications and media relations background, preferably someone that had previously held several senior high-profile positions, and with the necessary gravitas and influence to do something different. But as a public facing role in the civil sector, one of the key challenges was that they were limited in their budget.

As a government agency, it was crucial that every step of the hiring process was carried out in a fair and transparent manner. Therefore, it was very important that they partner with a search consultancy that were able to help them meet their specific benchmarking capabilities, create equal opportunity for all applicants, and ensure a diversity of candidates in the long and shortlist.  

To convince our client that we were the right team for the placement, we showcased our industry expertise, wide-spanning network and proprietary tools, and then conducted a thorough research campaign to highlight the types of talent they can expect, the key challenges they would face and a detailed plan of how we would carry out the search and selection process.

The solution:

Due to the high-profile nature of the position, capturing the attention of candidates was never going to be a problem. However, as we wanted to attract candidates with the necessary broad-spanning, media-focused experience and the senior leadership skills they would need to be successful on the job, a more targeted approach was in order.

We carried out a highly targeted search campaign, which included targeted advertising on job boards and social channels, as well as taking a proactive approach to headhunting by utilising our national and international networks to headhunt suitable candidates.

We then prepared a longlist of relevant candidates that met the core criteria for the role – all of which we had interviewed and thoroughly vetted in person before presenting to our client.

To comply with the organisation’s thorough security clearance process, we also gathered the necessary documentation from all candidates to ensure they were fit for the role.

After several discussions with the team, we narrowed the list down to five key individuals which were invited into their headquarters for an interview. This involved a panel interview, an in-depth presentation and a psychometric test to measure the candidate’s key performance and management capabilities against the role profile using Fyte’s bespoke propriety suite of tools.

The outcome:

After the interview process came to an end, the team then compared the insights gathered from the psychometric testing phase of the interview process with their own personal experiences of the candidates, and were able to make well-informed conclusions. 

They ended up deciding to appoint a candidate with a long-spanning journalistic background, and who had more recently headed up the communications team for one of the largest charities in the UK. This candidate had the desired experience and skillset to take this role to the next level, and had the right managerial traits to lead the communications team to success.

The Fyte team acted fast to negotiate the offer process between the candidate and client, and did everything they could to ensure both parties were happy. We also supported the candidate through the resignation process at their previous position, regularly checked in with both candidate and client to ensure they were still happy with their decision, and helped to make sure the onboarding process went smoothly. 

Principal Consultant at Fyte, Romana Begum, says:

“If the client had decided to find someone who matched the existing role profile, nothing would have changed in terms of the role or the organisation. Instead, they decided to appoint a communications leader with a broad-spanning background and exceptional leadership capabilities, ensuring their communications department is operating at a high level.”

Find out more about finding the best talent through Fyte here. 

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