Classroom to Boardroom: Leveraging hiring strategy from my daughter’s school

Tamarind Search
3 min readJan 20, 2021
(Source: Pexels)

At Tamarind Search our success depends on effective engagement with stakeholders, and through that engagement we pride ourselves on the fact that we have the innate ability to find the right person for the job.

We’re fortunate enough to work with an extremely high calibre of client. But for us, it’s not about finding the candidate with the best credentials (though of course that’s important), it’s more to do with determining who will be the best fit for the role.

Because no two businesses are the same — we all work differently, our teams have different dynamics, different routes to success. And as such, there is never a tangible answer to be found on paper.

Instead the answer lies in character, spark, je ne sais quoi. Call it what you will, but that’s what we’re after. It’s an art rather than a science: but were there to be a formula, we’d have solved it; if it were a code, we’d have cracked it — in short, we know exactly what we’re doing.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself having a ‘eureka moment’ about our executive search process in the middle of my children’s school. I know, not the most obvious place to find business inspiration, but what I saw was nothing short of brilliant.

The school in question is St Faiths School in Cambridge, and the stroke of genius came as part of the recent hiring process for a new headmaster or mistress.

At St Faiths they’ve always advocated interactive assemblies — which I like, as I think it promotes engagement and confidence. But this moment of originality went one step further than that.

All the shortlisted candidates for the role had to lead a school assembly, bringing new ideas to the table, engaging with the children. The latter of these was especially important as it transpired that the children all got to have a say on who they thought should get the job. Effectively, the school was approaching the whole process in an utterly customer-centric way.

Needless to say my children came home brimming with enthusiasm — and full of opinions — on who should emerge victorious, which I thought was brilliant on three counts. Firstly, it made the children feel like they had a voice and a say — it made them really consider what a good headmaster or mistress should look like, and why.

Secondly, it revealed to the faculty what exactly the children valued and were impressed by — what they held in high esteem. Not to mention that thirdly, I have no doubt it served as a worthy test for the candidates — what could be more nerve-wracking than an interview room full of inquisitive little minds (with scant inclination to filter any opinions they might have)?

So much value was brought to all sides of the table by approaching the process in a new and innovative way. And it was this that got me thinking. How could we in the executive search industry look at things from a new angle, a different perspective, to the benefit of both the candidates and their prospective employers?

All that remains is to thank St Faiths for their inventive way of thinking, which I hope to be able to put to good use at Tamarind Search in the very near future.

To find out a little more about what we do, please see or get in touch. We’re always happy to hear from you.



Tamarind Search

A boutique search firm headquartered in Cambridge, UK providing executive search excellence in Pharma across US, Europe and India.