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In CPM we are delighted to publish this article written by our collaborator, Catherina Grace from CPM Ireland, for an internal competition in which she turned out the winner of the Local Group. We extend our congratulations to Catherina for her input in the "Holistic Interviewing” approach . We also want to invite our community to contact us at the email, in case you are interested in becoming our guest blogger.

Garda Commissioner wanted: Please apply here

By Catherina Grace


Martin Callinans resignation has resulted in an opening for a new Garda Commissioner. How do you even begin recruiting for a role as senior and public as this?  With an organisation as large as An Garda Síochana, there is most definitely a succession plan in place, with Noirin O’Sullivan looking likely to take up the position.

But what if your company had to look for a senior management position such as a CEO, Senior Client service Manager or Specialised Industry Expert?  Recruiting the right candidate for the right job is crucial to the success and stability of any business.  It is widely accepted that recruiting externally for senior positions is amongst the most challenging of recruitment tasks, with mixed results

CPM Ireland endeavour to constantly raise the bar in terms of our business, and the Recruitment Department is no exception! We take a “Holistic Interviewing” approach to recruiting and selecting for our senior managers. This approach focuses on finding out about the whole person as opposed to how they have handled situations in the past or possibly would in the future, addressing not only expertise and competence but the crucial factor of company fit.

Advantages of this technique include

  • Better candidate care as the applicant feels the interviewer really gets to know them.
  • The interviewer is able to not only assess with confidence immediate competency for a job, but also the candidate’s potential for future roles.
  • As there are a core set of questions consistently asked of the candidate, reliability is significantly increased which is critical in the interview process.

This investigative approach ensures that we continue to drive CPM’s business performance through producing in-depth person specifications and job profiles. As the “Holistic Interviewing” Process focuses on the candidate’s potential and not just their past experience or learned skills, the interviewer can get a better appreciation of what the candidate can offer in this position as it is not always possible to demonstrate skills using previous roles when applying for a promotional or unique opportunity. By assessing the interviewee’s motivation and attitude, the interviewer can measure fit as well as functional capability ensuring the right person is selected.

Companies invest a lot in terms of budget and time into interviewing and selecting the right candidate.  It is essential at the top levels that the successful candidate has the required competencies to function in the role as well as fitting in with the company culture and vision. I have highlighted what I think are some of the top factors which need to be considered when hiring for a senior level position.

Top Tips When Hiring For Senior Positions

  1. Plan Your Recruitment Strategy – There may be a lack of understanding of the role responsibilities as managers close to the position may not possess the level of experience or expertise in this field. Consider retaining a consultant or outsourced company such as CPM Ireland to complete a full review of the position.  Know the kind of competencies and abilities required for this role
  2. Engage members of the Senior Management Team – Give them a chance to address any skills gaps in previous position-holders, taking into consideration future needs
  3. Create a full detailed job description – Clarity on both sides of the interview table will ensure the applicant knows what they are expected to do and the company understands what it is recruiting for. Work closely with the recruiter helping them to fully understand the type of person the company needs as well as enabling them to attract the best quality talent by offering an insight into the benefits of the role.  Include details of upcoming and exciting projects that the candidate will be required to work on, progression opportunities and remuneration details
  4. Review Credentials and Applications Carefully – Yahoo’s CEO Scott Thompson and an MIT Dean both had to step down after it was discovered they “embellished” their academic credentials
  5. Pre-screen candidates – This will give you a good idea if they live up to their paper self.  It also gives you the chance to determine whether their salary expectations are in line with the job in hand
  6. Ask the Right Interview Questions – remain focussed and probe for further information  which will enable the candidate to demonstrate competencies relevant for the job
  7. Check Backgrounds and References – Verify that all the presented credentials are possessed by the candidate. This will also give you a good understanding of strengths and weaknesses and how this person prefers to be managed.
  8. Ensure Culture Fit – Failure in a role can often be attributed to a poor fit within the culture and an inability to “fit in” with the direction, vision or work ethic of the company.  When addressing the culture fit, it is important to not only assess the candidate’s functional capabilities but also who they are as a person. Overviewing a person’s life, their formative influences, core principles and pre-career experiences will give you an invaluable insight into who they are as a person which impacts how they lead.
  9. Negotiate A Package – The best candidate will be fully aware of their self-worth on the market, if they don’t – how will they negotiate on behalf of your company.  Be patient and prepare to pay fair market value for the skills, knowledge and expertise that will undoubtedly benefit your company in the long run.
  10. Don’t Rush – Take the time to choose the right candidate and don’t allow yourself to be pressured by daily or routine tasks.  Use a temporary solution for 3-6 months if needed.  But be aware also, that the best candidate is going to be snapped up quicker than the others so don’t drag your feet either

When recruiting for a role, I believe that the key to reduced recruiting costs and higher candidate success lies in formulating and developing an effective and relevant recruitment strategy.  A strategy which constantly evolves and adapts to business requirements can be the difference between company sustainability and growing success.

CPM Ireland is Ireland’s leading field sales marketing company specialising in direct sales and the FMCG sector. We also provide recruitment agency services for all role levels, specialising in sales and marketing. For more information, please contact Catherina on 01-7080322 or email