If media skills and the ability to persuade and influence are an important part of a role, testing them properly during the hiring process is critical.
The importance of media skills for an Association Leader depends on how much a sector wants the Chief Executive / Director General to manage their reputation and influence, and how much the sector is in the spotlight of public scrutiny.
I’ve just completed a search to appoint the Director General of a newly created trade association, and media skills are high up on the list of wants from the client. To further test the skills of the shortlisted candidates I enlisted the help of freuds’ media team and their purpose built newsroom.
A newsroom studio replicates a real media interview situation.
As part of the selection process, shortlisted candidates were put through two media scenarios to test their on camera media interview performance, each recorded live (with both the client and myself watching). Doing this in a newsroom studio with lots of cameras and a team of people who know what they’re doing makes it feel very real, a situation impossible to replicate in a conventional job interview.
Sky News and Newsnight style interviews test different skills.
The first scenario was a down the line interview ‘Sky News’ style responding to an event in the day’s news. The second a studio discussion ‘Newsnight’ style with an interviewer and spokesperson from the ‘opposition’. All in, quite a tough gig.
Seeing the candidates in action, talking on a topic they would own if appointed, was both illuminating and reassuring for my client.
Expert appraisal of a candidates’ on camera performance.
The finished product produced and edited by Samuel Smith and his team at freuds was excellent and included their expert appraisal of the candidates’ on camera performance. Samuel joined the agency last year to head up the Newsroom after 13 years as one of BBC News’ most senior producers and programme-makers. He says:
“The ability to persuade and influence – in a board meeting, on a public panel, a news interview, platform speech, among small groups of influencers – matters. In an age of mistrust, we often ignore the words that are spoken and judge instead the tone, the manner, the confidence, of the person who delivers them. So anyone who aspires to lead, to influence, to gain the reputation they deserve, must think carefully about the unspoken signals they are sending. The newsroom at freuds was designed with that mind.”
The interview footage was shared with the CEOs of the member companies as part of their briefing material for the final interviews. This gave all the decision makers in this appointment valuable insights to each of the candidates that cannot be gleaned from any conventional selection interview.
Thank you freuds.
If you’ve never been to the freuds office it’s worth finding a reason to visit. Enter through a discrete revolving door and you’ll immediately find yourself in a wonderful large open space. What grabs you is the collection of curiosities, museum pieces and artefacts. My picks are James Dean’s Harley Davidson casually parked up in the corner and the centre piece drum from the Beatles’ album cover of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (it took all my professional restraint not to bang it).
Preferential rates for Ellwood Atfield clients.
Our relationship with freuds means we offer our clients reduced rates on using the Newsroom for media training, executive coaching, presentation and leadership development. This includes pre-work to design the session, delivering the training with a senior team, use of the Newsroom, and post-training evaluation.
For information on recruiting communications and advocacy professionals email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 340 6480.