Spotlight On - Dil Sidhu
Dil Sidhu is a Director at leading professional services company, BDO Stoy-Hayward. Having joined in May 2007, he is currently working within the Business Restructuring Advisory team on new product development, a Working Capital Management proposition.
Previously, Dil spent four years at Lambeth Borough Council, latterly as Deputy Chief Executive driving through a programme of change. After pursuing a number of opportunities, Dil switched back to private sector to join BDO Stoy-Hayward.
What was your motivation to move from Lambeth?
Having spent some time as a deputy I was keen to make the step up to chief executive level within local government. I was involved in a change programme at Lambeth and wanted the challenge of setting up and driving my own initiative programme from the top. As a deputy, to a certain extent, you are at the behest of another’s agenda and this can slow down or stop key ambitions. A chief executive within local government is also a good springboard to other public sector appointments, it gives you profile on a national stage. So, as well as the challenge, I thought it a good career move.
What happened next?
I looked at a few roles, several of which were handled through GatenbySanderson, and embarked on an interview process which is pretty rigorous at this level. I got to know Mike Phillips very well, as he took a real interest in me and what he thought was right for me.
A real benefit was having someone give me an honest assessment of my qualifications, experience and areas for potential development. As he knew the clients so well he could give me more exacting information of what they were looking for. It meant I approached the whole process in a more pragmatic, less ‘rose tinted’ way.
What part did GatenbySanderson play?
One of the most important things to me was that I felt I had a personal relationship with GS, via Mike. When I wasn’t successful, for example, at Waverley District Council, I didn’t feel like just another also-ran.
The first minute after a rejection is crucial; a cursory call to just give you the news is not a good experience. I arranged a feedback call, which proved illuminating and insightful. I used the feedback to learn more about myself and build up my confidence for the future.
Recruitment can be a draining experience – the decision to change roles, the research, the preparation for interview and assessment; having someone from whom to seek advice and who can be objective is a real bonus. Ultimately, though, you are either as good as you think you are or you aren’t.
Believe me, I have had experiences with other search firms but I can say that only GS earned the right to use the title of ‘executive’ in their branding and lived up to it all the way.
You decided to go back to private sector. Was switching sector difficult?
Not really for me. The right opportunities came along and I took them on both occasions. Leveraging the experience you have of the other sector – its workings, relationships and processes - is the key to making the most of the opportunity.
How does your current role address your original ambitions?
For me, it comes down to achieving positive change. Here, I’m creating something that didn’t exist before, building capability and ultimately offering a new service to add value to existing customers and attract new clients.
If you would like to learn more about how GatenbySanderson can help you, contact us on Leeds 0113 205 6071, London 020 7426 3960 or Birmingham 0121 644 5700.