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This is a follow up to John Self’s previous post titled Impact Patient Safety By Making It Personal.


NEW YORK — The secret to improving quality of care and enhancing patient safety and best-in-class executive recruiting have more in common than meets the eye.

Doctor holding heartIt’s called personal accountability with a heavy dose of outcome ownership.

I firmly believe that quality of care and patient safety will not improve until healthcare clinicians and support staff treat each patient as a beloved member of their family or best friend with the knowledge that harm would be unbearable.  That is not a new position for me.  I think the quality of care and patient safety gurus are simply — and unsuccessfully — overthinking the whole issue.  I believe that if we make it personal, patients will be safer.

In the executive search industry, I often find that there can be an appalling lack of concern for the candidates and little or no ownership of the outcome. For the most part it is all about the transaction, assertions of many search firms to the contrary.

Before I became a recruiter I was, like everyone else, a candidate who found myself frustrated with the process — inadequate knowledge of the job or the client and bad communication.  I never had a sense that there was any concern for me personally.  All too often candidates are treated as not much more than inventory necessary for the partners to earn a fee.

Only when recruiters demonstrate through words and actions that they are as concerned for the candidate as they are for the client who is paying the tab will you see a vast improvement in executive recruiting. Withholding information from candidates about an employer because it will make “the close” easier to achieve is a fairly common practice, candidates say.  The defense, “I didn’t know,” or, “you should have learned that yourself,” is hardly adequate for misguided priorities.  Relocating a candidate into a position in which they will fail can have not only catastrophic career and family consequences for him or her but huge expenses and frustrations for the employer as well. Before recruiters move in for a quick close so that they can go on to the next deal, they should picture the candidate as a best childhood friend or anyone else they care about deeply.

When we make it personal with the candidates and the clients, when we think about the adverse consequences that our mistakes or indifference can bring,  everyone benefits.