• Bruce Malcom

Why do some municipalities function more smoothly than others?

Successful government and company executives know this all too well: the difference between a prosperous, and well-run operation and one that “just gets by” is mainly the quality of its staff.

This has never been truer for local government than it is today. While trying to win in the war for talent, many towns and cities across Canada have been ramping up their hiring to accommodate baby boomer retirements, track the growing millennial market and meet the growing demand for top talent.

Who wouldn't want to wave a magic wand and make these ideal employees appear instantly?

How cost effective is DIY recruiting?

Think about this: What if, after weeks of reading resumes and holding interviews, you hire someone who is not a good fit for your municipality. Suddenly, your new hire will be taking the attention of a surprising number of your other productive staff members who will need to train/assist them. Quite often, new employees are put in decision-making positions that may contribute directly to the level of morale and/or financial loss. Unfortunately, poor hiring decisions can go undetected for a long time, as they are often blamed on myriad other factors; all the while, your ‘new poor fit’ is drawing a large salary. And who suffers? Start with the person who took the job thinking it would all work out. Then there’s the whole community, including staff, taxpayers and, of course, your reputation! These are only some of the losers. Finally, you will be right back at square one, still needing an executive to fill that key position. What if you’d hired the right person in the first place?

A few years ago we developed a simple Hiring Mistake Calculator ( … it is an eye opener!

Engaging a recruiter … here are four questions you must ask:

After you have answered the DIY question and considered the cost effectiveness of doing it yourself, it may be time to consider professional help. There are lots of recruiters and employment agencies in Canada, but when it comes to engaging one, what are the questions you MUST ask before you commit your municipality?

How do I choose a recruiter?

How good will the hire be?

What guarantee do I have that the hire will work out in the longer term?

Can a recruiter do better?

A skilled recruiter will understand what your municipality is looking for, analyze exactly what the position requires, provide a targeted list of highly qualified prospects, Furthermore, a skilled recruiter will and provide evidence of the candidates’ competence.

Can a specialist do EVEN BETTER?

A professional and skilled recruiter who also specializes in municipal recruitment (and even certain disciplines within municipal government management!) will not only find candidates with the right skill sets, they will be able to demonstrate “fit” in terms of demonstrating a good match for your coworkers and the other people in your municipality.  Many times, a position is filled within a few days to a few weeks with someone who is an immediate asset, less costly to put into the job, and who will produce quantifiable (measurable) results.

How do I choose a recruiter?

Think of the job market as a massive, disjointed network of employers [“hunters”?] and prospects [“the hunted”?]. They are dispersed across many different lists, sites, ads and directories, and additional subsets such as salary, specialization, and demand. And that’s just for starters. Add to this the reality that most resumes profile a candidate in the best light possible! Who wouldn’t attempt to put their “best foot forward”? We all know that a resume alone is not an unvarnished presentation! Sadly, there are many recruiters who use a kind of ‘shotgun’ approach. Many times, they don’t have solid connections to a particular market. They approach the business of recruiting as a sort of ‘bulk resume operation’, with little or no understanding of the actual work done in your municipality. They simply access lists of names from anywhere they can in the job market network and forward applications to your municipality. Their approach is that of a  glorified want ad broker. They leave the ‘heavy lifting’ of wading through interviews up to you, so that all the risk of hiring the wrong person is yours! There are others who talk a good story, but they have no real depth in the municipal field … you know this, because you NEVER see them at a municipal trade show or conference, nor do you really hear about their successes from other towns and cities in your part of the country.

You want a recruiter who can PROVE they:

Understand the quality of hire you need.

.  Have successfully recruited for municipalities like yours.

.  Know people who work in municipalities and have connections.

.  Know how to engage candidates – even put them through their paces.

Know what candidates are capable of before  sending them to you for an interview.

.  Know what you are looking for in terms of talent, people skills and capacity.

.  Have the ability to dig deeper than a resume.

Can accurately evaluate a prospective candidate's suitability for your municipality

.  Can provide a list of happy, satisfied municipal clients, glowing references specifically related to the role you are trying to fill.

What can You Expect?

Now let’s talk about how Ravenhill Smith will benefit you. As an employer, you want to hire the best person for the job with the least amount of hassle and the very best result for your municipality. Ravenhill Smith  has developed a highly workable system to make exactly that happen. We call it:


Before you engage us:

Knowledge of the job. We specialize in municipal recruiting. In fact that’s ALL we do!  We have completed literally hundreds of municipal assignments since 2003, ranging from CAO and City Manager to GM, Commissioner, and Manager of virtually every department! We know the people you want, many of them on first name basis. Every recruitment is based on our understanding of you, your needs, your goals – so we ask you to define exactly what is needed by getting the input of the key players in your municipality. It is not just WHAT the job is, but WHO should fill it. Ravenhill Smith works to truly understand each position, and we do that by identifying the dynamics at play for each position. Every role involves a mix of Attitude, Skills and Knowledge  - not to mention ability, creativity and a host of other dynamics.

Network. Our most valuable asset is our connection with a network of men and women who can do the job …  the very people you want to hire for your municipality! Ravenhill Smith is first and foremost about the quality of our contacts - both for referral and for hiring. We know top municipal managers at every level After almost two decades of success, we not only know the names, we have built trusting and reliable relationships from coast to coast to coast.

Observe the candidate. Many times, we have been involved with a candidate over a long period of time, so we have seen them in action. We have watched them grow and mature in the municipal setting.  As good recruiters, we see beyond the resume. We are not only good judges of people and their abilities; our extensive interview process and professional format are designed to help make it easy for hiring managers to make wise selections from slates of exceptional candidates.

What is the Guarantee?

Nearly 98% of all the individuals who are placed after being recommended by Ravenhill Smith experience success!

We offer the most straightforward guarantee in the business:

At Ravenhill Smith Search Inc., we pride ourselves on being a full circle consultancy backed by a professional team of experienced recruitment experts, enthusiastic marketing specialists, knowledgeable research analysts and passionate partners who all share one common goal: to recommend the most qualified candidates that will further the growth, mission and success of our clients’ organizations.


©2019 by Ravenhill Smith Search Inc.