Seeking a Leadership Role. 'He Maunga Teitei'

He Whakaaro Noiho is created to provide whanau o Te Rau Matatini opportunities to share emerging thoughts, ideas and aspirations with the sector.   

In our first korero, Valerie Williams Kaimanaaki shares of her experience about Seeking a Leadership Role. 'He Maunga Teitei'

Tena koutou

At a communities of practice hui held in Te Tai Tokerau I put out a wero to my nursing whanau encouraging them to apply for nursing leadership positions.  The korero was about sending a clear message to employers that as Māori we are interested in higher achievement and that we want those leadership roles.    My aim was to emphasise that interviews could also enable us to show case our points of difference – that we are Māori, and we are connected to and have a vested interest in the communities we live and work in.   On returning home I realised I needed to ‘walk the talk’ and decided to start a very small ‘social experiment’ with me as the guinea poaka….so with great enthusiasm I found three leadership positions to apply for in local district health boards – thinking yes I’m looking forward to seeing their responses……Well whanau the reality was something different.    I received a computer generated response for each application – great start…. two applications were with one DHB.  Seven days later I received my first ‘human’ reply.

Dear Valerie

Thank you for your application for the position.  Unfortunately, you have not been shortlisted for the role.  We received a high level of interest in the position from a field of strong candidates.

Ok…. I said I better see what I can improve on, to at least to get an interview…and show them what a fantastic candidate Māori I am. So I replied... 

Kia ora (X)

Thanks for your consideration.  I am really interested in how I can increase my chances of gaining a future interview at this level of leadership.  As a Māori practitioner I am committed to seeing more Māori being recruited into these positions and I am willing to put myself forward.  Your feedback would be most welcome.  Nga mihi

The reply: 

Kia ora Valerie

For this position in a DHB of over 2000 staff, we were seeking a candidate who had had considerable senior level leadership experience in a large and complex organisation, had operated at a strategic level in such an organisation and had been responsible for leading and implementing change. Your  CV indicated a depth of experience working in staff management roles in both DHB’s and with primary health organisations, so to be considered for a position such as this, growing your leadership experience at a senior level would be beneficial. Nga mihi

Oh!  I thought about asking how I was expected to get this experience in an organisation of similar size – however I decided not to.  A positive to this dialogue – that the human resource person changed her greetings and sign off…I am hopeful that she has continued using reo Māori  in her correspondence and even everyday interactions.

One down, two to go!  Application two, same DHB, received 54 days after initial response….

Dear Valerie

Further to our system generated email notification in mid-September, we are filling vacancies in our Executive Leadership Team before commencing recruitment to positions that report direct to them, such as the (XX). Unfortunately, as yet we have not made an appointment to the role of (X) which will be re-advertised shortly.  In light of this, the recruitment process for the (XX) remains on hold until the (X) position is filled. At this stage, we anticipate it will be some time during December 2016 or even into the New Year when we will be able to recommence the (XX) recruitment process. I apologise for this further delay and will understand should you wish to withdraw your application. Yours sincerely.

I emailed back and said I remained interested.     92 days later.

Dear Valerie

Our sincere apologies for the delay in advising you of the outcome of your application for the role that you made.  The process was delayed as we had not made a permanent appointment to the role. We still have not made a permanent appointment to this role, however we have decided to continue with the recruitment process.  Your application has been reviewed and I regret to inform you that you have not been shortlisted for this position. Once again we would like to apologise for the delay with our process and we would like to thank you for the time you took to make an application and for your interest 

Yours sincerely

WOW!  146 days to be told you were unsuccessful. Do I invest energy and seek feedback or even suggest they might like to have a korero about the role?  Nah I decided to go to CrossFit instead.

181 days and I still haven’t heard anything back about the 3rd application.  Maybe the email went to trash or spam.  I do know that the position has been filled and who the successful candidate was.  My feeling is ' C’mon DHB’s you need to bring you’re A game to recruitment if you want to attract Māori into leadership roles'.  So whanau I would be really interested in receiving korero about your experience of applying for leadership roles in health

Mauriora Val