The best candidates are already living here | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

What is the basis for our local human resource department’s addiction to national searches to find the “very best candidate”?

I have a theory. Human resource departments, by nature, tend to grow at a rate that is disproportionate to their surroundings. This misguided sense of self-importance seems to fatten to a point in local organizations where the people doing the actual work or carrying out the organization’s mission statement are almost considered of secondary importance to the human resources mechanism.

HR departments have their work cut out for them when high profile positions come up like police chief or city manager. But there is a tendency to focus on defensibility rather than suitability when searches begin. Human resources has taken the tact that if something goes wrong with the candidate, then at least we can say that we conducted a “vigorous national search.”

A focus on suitability, however, might ask the question: What are the chances that a person from Maine or Texas is going to relocate to little Bainbridge Island (think shotgun wedding) and stay in the relationship longer than a year? Two years? What did the previous BHS principal say? Something about his kids thinking there wasn’t much to do here on the weekend?

That’s not his fault. Throw a dart at a U.S. map, move there, and see if you could stay for five years.

But those national HR searches are all the rage as they pass over locally embedded talent to find the “best candidate.”

So, I’d tell any and all Kitsap County human resource entities a couple of things: Don’t forget who you serve, and get to know those people. There is a good chance the best candidate is already right here in the community or — working right next to you.

ERIK WOOD

Bainbridge Island

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