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Conversation with Ron Hamilton

River Club's Ron Hamilton has lent his expertise to Lakewood Ranch Town Hall as it searches for a new executive director.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. September 30, 2015
River Club resident Ron Hamilton loves visiting Barcelona, Spain, where his sister-in-law lives.
River Club resident Ron Hamilton loves visiting Barcelona, Spain, where his sister-in-law lives.
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Before moving to Florida in 1996 and starting his own company, Practical Human Resources Solutions, Ron Hamilton served as vice president of human resources services for Corestates Financial,
in Philadelphia, now Wells Fargo.

Hamilton now is working with the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority Board to find a new executive director to replace Eva Rey, who took a job in Viera. Hamilton helped the board define what it seeks in
a new executive director. Now, he will help lead it toward selecting Rey’s successor, first by narrowing
the applicant pool at a Sept. 30 meeting. The board
has scheduled interviews with finalists for Oct. 8.

The key for making a quality hiring decision is knowing exactly what you need up front. If everyone agrees as to what’s needed in the role, it will be more clear as to which people should be considered for hire.

For the Town Hall search, many of the board members have stated they’d like a duplicate of Eva. That makes it difficult because she has so many varied skills. One of the challenges of this search is finding someone who can deal with a growing and dynamic town and the different stakeholders they are going to have to deal with.

I encourage organizations to create a profile that spells out what success will mean in that job. The profile includes the hiring requirements, which are qualities the candidates have to have. They are very specific for that job. For example, one of the qualities that has been identified by the IDA board for this job is relationship-building skills to seek out stakeholders and develop relationships to better understand the issues and concerns of the community.

The key for the whole process has been the profile the board has put together. Once you have a profile in place and the requirements in the profile, you can start matching applicants pretty easily, determining which are not a fit. After that, to determine if they are a fit, I’d do a screening phone call to get more information.

If you are on the fence about hiring a candidate or not, don’t. If you can’t find anyone to fill the position and you say, “I think maybe I should just hire the next warm body,” don’t. A hiring mistake will cost you more than not having a person in the position for a time. There are statistics that say the cost of a bad hire can be anywhere from two to four times the annual salary of that candidate.

The key for an organization attracting quality people is to create an environment where people want to come and feel they will have opportunities — opportunities to grow and do what they like to do. Once you get them in the door, you want to keep them, and you have to ensure you have policies, practices and a culture so that people will want to stay.

Every organization is different. Organizations have to know what their staffs’ needs and wants are, and they can try to satisfy most of those needs and wants. An organization needs to be able to keep a pulse on how their employees feel. Some organizations do what are called “climate surveys” to get a sense of how they feel about the organization’s philosophies, management style, compensation, career opportunities and their ability to have some control of their own destiny.

What I have found is that most organizations do not have a structured hiring process. The chances for success go way down if you don’t have some sort of structured approach. When you have a structured approach, you’ll minimize hiring mistakes. Interview behavior is not indicative of how someone will do on the job.

– Pam Eubanks



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