Described as the longest job interview process in the world, the Presidential election reached new highs and lows in last night's debate. Watched by an estimated 100 million it was definitely entertaining; but is that such a good thing when choosing a leader? If the United States was a serious employer down to its last two interview candidates, it's hard to think that the head of recruitment wouldn't be looking for a new job. In their book "Who", Geoff Smart and Randy Street set out a clear blueprint to guide employers when finding "A" Players to take their businesses forward. And it all begins with preparation. In recruitment terms the word certainly has resonance for candidates - though the Guardian suggested Mr Trump's preparation for the TV debate consisted only of him reading his own LinkedIn page! But what about employers? All too often executives are pitched unsuitable candidates by recruitment agencies or internal stakeholders without having given any thought themselves to what they are actually looking for. When the time and cost of recruitment alone are considered, this is foolhardy. When the cost to the business of poor selection is added in, it begins to look reckless. Add to this the impact of employment laws such as the Equality Act (which applies to recruitment too) and you have a whole new dynamic. When candidates with protected characteristics and talent are accidentally or wrongly excluded, a lack of preparation can lead not only to the loss of major talent but also to litigation. Many in the US wish they had the luxury of different candidates. If you are recruiting you have that chance. But it requires effort at the front end. Design that role fully and dynamically. Consider a checklist of qualities really required for the role. Plan your interviews. It isn't really that hard, yet most fail. In the US many wish they had thought this through better. But the answer has been here all along. In the words of Maria in the Sound of Music - "Let's start at the very beginning. It's a very good place to start.."!
Hours before the programme, polls suggested the candidates were locked in a dead heat, adding to the tension between the rivals on stage throughout the debate. "I have a feeling that by the end of this evening, I'm going to be blamed for everything that's ever happened," Mrs Clinton quipped when prompted to respond after one of Mr Trump's attacks. "Why not?" Mr Trump interrupted. "Yeah, why not," she answered. "You know, just join the debate by saying more crazy things."