Russia and Belarus select personnel for civil service
The Presidential Academy took part in the web-conference, Assessment of Civil Servants: Experience of Russia and Belarus, organized by RANEPA Institute of Finance and Sustainable Development (IFSD) and the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus.
The participants, faculty from both Academies and invited experts, discussed innovative approaches to recruitment in public administration and civil service.
In his opening remarks, RANEPA Vice-Rector, IFSD Director Andrei Margolin proposed for discussion the four questions that should be answered when selecting candidates for leadership positions proposed by Peter Drucker. What is the candidate's success story? To what extent are the qualities that enabled them to succeed in the past relevant in their new role? What should we do to make their best qualities revealed as fully as possible? Would we want our children to work under their leadership?
Considering the potential candidates’ past career, we have to work out some criteria. What is more important – an excellent CV or confirmed results? In the modern world, past successes probably become irrelevant too fast, so should we only consider the applicant’s knowledge and skills? The web conference participants tried to answer these underlying questions.
Irina Sidorchuk, Director of the Institute of Theory and Practice of Public Administration of the Belarusian Academy, discussed criteria for evaluation and selection of personnel. What criteria are preferable when hiring, evaluating or dismissing a civil servant? Should we evaluate just their professionalism, or should we also take into account their high moral qualities and ability to work in a team? The most difficult part is to understand the candidate, to see in them a member of your team, to pinpoint precisely the qualities that will be useful in the implementation of complex projects.
Detek Managing Partner Svetlana Simonenko, an expert from the Russian side, cited her company’s project to select volunteers for the Sochi Olympics. Detek is a consulting company that has been operating in Russia for 15 years. Initially, they mainly used Western methods of personnel assessment. With time, they developed their own methods, because the cultural and social specifics in our country do not always fit into the practices used in Western European countries. When the company was hired to select volunteers for Sochi and later the FIFA World Cup, they relied entirely on their own assessment methods. While working out the assessment tools, one should first of all think about what happens after the assessment procedure, what decisions are made and what consequences these decisions have, she explained. The quality of the volunteers and managers selection process was later confirmed by how successfully they fulfilled their tasks. With this approach, many formal requirements (such as age) become insignificant and not decisive in the selection of candidates. The same approach is applicable in recruitment for state organizations.
The participants showed much interest in discussing the use of social media by civil servants. On the one hand, there are many ways social media can destroy careers: there are a lot of high-profile cases of officials losing jobs over careless words online. On the other hand, social media are a tool for direct communication with the public, a means to instantly receive firsthand information. In recruitment, it is important to find out what information about the candidate is available online; the lack of accounts on social networks is even sometimes viewed as a disadvantage.
Other interesting and relevant issues were discussed. Our colleagues from Belarus were especially interested in the experience of holding the Leaders of Russia nationwide competition, which was described by Svetlana Startseva, Program Director at RANEPA Graduate School of Public Administration (GSPA). The participants agreed to leave this topic for separate discussion at the next meeting in a web conference format.
First Vice-Rector of the Belarusian Academy of Public Administration Valery Borodenya summed up the results of the conference, noting its convenient format and the possibility of free exchange of experience in online mode. He also expressed hope that such meetings will become regular and will benefit both Academies.