I am not a pragmatic man.

If I were, I would have asked for an alternative venue to be found for last night’s Melcrum Communicators’ Network meeting as soon as I was out of hospital. Having no experience of recovering from surgery I overestimated my return to fitness, foolishly basing it on my rather hasty discharge (from hospital). If you end up in surgery, do yourself a favour and postpone your commitments for the next month. I hate to let people down, so I’ve often failed to make these decisions quickly enough, preferring to “see how it goes” rather than give myself the benefit of the doubt. After all, I’m sure nothing will go wrong.

Something went wrong when I returned to the office a few days beforehand to find my potential food and drink sponsor on leave until the day of the meetup. Organiser Matt O’Neill kindly volunteered to provide food and drink, which is a no-no as it is against The Rules as I pondered to myself at 3am the night before, visualising my position potentially disappearing down the plughole. Matt was as good as his word and with a little jiggery-pokery we managed to sidestep nearly every potential enforcer of The Rules.

On the day, name badges are ready (most are even spelled correctly) and it should be simple enough to escort everyone in. With people due to arrive, I go to check on the room I’d booked and find the previous occupants still in session, having overrun by 30 minutes. Ten minutes later they are still there. 25 minutes after we should have been in, I hear the immortal words “We have a big problem”. Apparently, 17:30 doesn’t always mean 5:30pm and they were planning to continue indefinitely. We hastily change our plans, relocate to the boardroom and set up with relatively few hassles.

And then I split my trousers.

It was around this point I decided to display some of the positive unflappability Matt had shown all the way through. Either that, or I began to see the funny side and stopped caring quite so much about relatively minor problems.

In contrast to the behind the scenes shenannigans, the presentation “Recruiting Communicators” by Cassandra Barker of recruitment consultants Robert Walters was extremely professional and stimulated much discussion. Having canvassed the opinions of recruiters, candidates and clients about all stages of the process, the presentation summarised the findings, some advice for candidates and illustrated the points with some key quotes from the participants.

The point which jumped out at me was the slightly ironic request from candidates for more communication during the process. Some felt they needed to understand more about why they were being recalled for a second interview and that more feedback would help them prepare better.

My own limited experience of recruitment has been about finding a programmer with sufficient skills and personality to join an existing team. I came away from this meetup feeling I understood more about the executive recruitment process from a much broader set of perspectives.

The MCN meetups will continue through the summer on a social basis, beginning with a barbecue in Southwark on 20th June.