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Executive Search Solution for Robert Gordon University

The Client

Robert Gordon University has a heritage going back 250 years, and was granted university status in 1992. Since then the university has gone from strength to strength, proactively engaging with businesses in the development of many of its degree courses and meeting regional and national needs at a time of constant change and development. 

Today Robert Gordon University (RGU) delivers more than 300 courses to over 15,000 full and part-time students from 120 countries. Over the last decade RGU has consistently had one of the best records of any UK university for graduate-level employment and was quoted in The Times Good University Guide 2013 as the best modern university in the UK - for the fourth year running. RGU was also recognised as the Sunday Times Scottish University of the Year 2011.

The Challenge

RGU needed to hire a director of marketing, communications & student recruitment. This was a newly developed role with a large portfolio of responsibility encompassing UK Marketing, International Office, Admissions and Communications. 

The post had been developed in recognition of the need to better align marketing and communications to the University’s strategic objectives in the context of an increasingly challenging environment, both in terms of competition and the external and internal economic climate. The inclusion of the Communications Office enabled the creation of an integrated marketing and communications approach designed to support RGU’s student recruitment/teaching, research and business interaction aspirations.

Hudson's brief was to identify and attract candidates with strong strategic marketing and leadership skills to lead the newly integrated service.

The Solution and Results

Hudson employed a combined executive search and advertised selection strategy to identify high calibre candidates for this post. Hudson researched the market and identified a target list of higher education institutions (primarily across the UK, but also on a more limited international basis) with a focus on modern/‘new’ universities where the hiring managers believed a stronger cultural fit could be achieved. Direct approaches were made to suitably qualified potential candidates within each of these organisations. 

Hudson’s role was to ‘sell’ not only the opportunity and challenge of the role, but also to promote Aberdeen as a location with passive candidates, many of whom had never considered a move to Scotland or had even visited the region. Simultaneous use was made of offline advertising media to advertise the role on a UK wide and global basis. This advertising strategy was aimed at attracting potential industry candidates who may be motivated towards a new career direction.

Hudson conducted all first stage competency based interviews and personality profiling presenting a final shortlist of 5 recommended candidates to the Appointments Board at RGU. Hudson also participated as part of the final interview panel (chaired by the acting principal) to ensure consistency throughout the process. Hudson managed the subsequent reference and offer process working in close partnership with the HR team at RGU to ensure a successful appointment.

Project Snapshot



Challenges

  • Robert Gordon University were looking to hire a director of marketing, communications & student recruitment; a newly developed role
  • A requirement to identify and attract candidates with strong strategic marketing and leadership skills

Solutions

  • Hudson employed a combined executive search and advertised selection strategy to identify high calibre candidates
  • Hudson sold not only the role but also promoted Aberdeen as a location to passive candidates, many of whom had not considered a move to the region or to Scotland

Results 

  • Hudson conducted all first stage competency based interviews and personality profiling presenting a final shortlist of 5 recommended candidates
  • To ensure consistency we also participated as part of the final interview panel
  • Hudson managed the subsequent reference and offer process working in close partnership with the HR team at RGU to ensure a successful appointment
 
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