With the four candidates who have been nominated to fill the vacant post of Mayo manager now identified, it might be useful to outline the broad shape of the process from here, a process that, all going well, should see the new manager of the Mayo Senior team in position before the end of this month.
The first step has, of course, already been taken. Nominations for the position had to be submitted to Mayo GAA ahead of last Friday evening, by which time Ray Dempsey, Kevin McStay, Mike Solan and Declan Shaw had all been duly nominated.
Details of the proposed backroom teams for all of the candidates bar Ray Dempsey have also been announced. Naming these teams was not necessary under the appointment process, nor is there any issue with a management team not being named.
From here on, the selection process is being dealt with by Mayo GAA within the framework of a management appointments policy that forms part of the Mayo GAA Operations Manual. These were put in place under the chairmanship of Liam Moffatt and the policy has already been used for the appointment of Maurice Sheridan to the U20 manager’s position and Seán Deane’s appointment as manager of the Minors.
Under the process, all nominees are sent an application form, which, once completed and returned, is followed by a formal interview.
The interviews will be conducted by a sub-committee appointed by the Mayo GAA Executive. According to a piece by Michael Gallagher in this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants) that sub-committee was due to have been appointed by the Executive last night.
The reason this couldn’t have happened sooner was, according to that piece referenced above, because the nominations had to finalised first. Members of the sub-committee are obliged to sign a declaration that they have no conflict of interest with respect to any of the candidates nominated.
Under the appointments policy, the sub-committee comprises at least five people, drawn from the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer of Mayo GAA, the Coaching Officer of Mayo GAA, a former county player, an external HR person and ‘AN Other’.
The interview process itself has two parts. The first is a twenty-minute presentation where candidates will, according to that piece mentioned above, be expected to outline their “vision for the position, skills, experience, team expectations, backroom team and resources required, management style, indicative budget and why he/she is the best candidate for the position.”
This is followed by a competency-based interview. Anyone who has either conducted an interview or been interviewed for a job over the last twenty years is likely to know all about how this works. The group doing the interview identifies a number of key skills – competencies – and then the interviewee is asked to provide specific examples highlighting where they used that skill to good effect.
The appointment sub-committee will have to, based on each candidate’s presentation and the interview they do, agree on which of the four should be recommended for appointment. This will be no easy task: four excellent candidates have been nominated the post and they’ll all bring different plans to the table, which all might sound good in theory but only one of which will get to be implemented in practice.
Once the sub-committee has decided which candidate should be recommended to Mayo GAA for ratification, that recommendation is then brought to the Executive and the full County Board for formal approval. That’s the point we’re expected to get to by the end of this month.
For those of us looking on, it’s easy to judge – or even pre-judge – everyone involved in this process, from the candidates themselves, to the appointment sub-committee, the Executive and the County Board. Yes, it’s always easy being the hurler – or, indeed, the tweeter – on the ditch.
This is a big decision, one that will set the direction for the county’s Senior team over the coming three or four years. It’s a period in which we all want to see the team back competing at the highest level, once more shooting for the stars, this time hopefully going all the way.
The new manager will need to share this ambition and will know it’s his job to do all in his power to make this dream a reality. Those whose job it is to select that person will know this too.
The best of luck to those entrusted with the role of evaluating the candidates and recommending which of them should be appointed and the best of luck too to all four brave individuals who have allowed their names to go forward for this hugely important role.