Hiring a new executive for any organization is a very important and complex process. When recruiting a committee to lead the search, make certain that members will offer different perspectives, expertise, and insights. Here are seven tips to ensure your Search Committee is successful:
- Each executive search should start with a clear commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion – and that commitment begins with the composition of the Search Committee.
- Search Committee members need to come from diverse backgrounds. Committee members should include women, minorities, and a range of age groups. If the search is for an Executive Director, the Board Chair and incoming Board Chair should sit on the committee.
- To obtain “buy in” from the community, organizations can include community leaders, donors, and partners, either on the committee or through stakeholder interviews prior to the search.
- Recruit a great Search Committee Chair who is a consensus builder. The committee leader should not be afraid of many opinions and debate but, rather, should encourage it. The Chair needs to be a good listener and have the ability to bring the committee to a shared perspective after all individual viewpoints are heard.
- Set ground rules for confidentiality, deliberation, and decision processes.
- Committee sizes vary as they strive to balance key representation. A committee of more than nine members becomes unwieldly unless the search is for a university president or the like.
- Hire an executive search firm such as Armstrong McGuire to provide a third party’s facilitation expertise to help propel the process forward and take care of planning and scheduling meetings, creating the position profile, advertising and networking the opportunity, and handling the first interaction with qualified candidates. The firm will then bring potential top candidates to the Search Committee, narrowing the field.
After a Search Committee is formed and an executive search firm is under contract, together they can move then forward with creating a position profile and search plan.
- Finding the Right ED: Creating and Managing an Effective Search Committee, The Bridgespan Group https://www.bridgespan.org/insights/library/hiring/creating-managing-search-committee.
- Best Practices for Conducting Faculty Searches, Harvard University https://hwpi.harvard.edu/files/faculty-diversity/files/best_practices_for_conducting_faculty_searches_condensed.pdf.
- Staying Engaged, Stepping Up, The Annie E. Casey Foundation https://www.aecf.org/resources/stepping-up-staying-engaged/ is a great resource for executive transition and change management. Page 11 shares common pitfalls In conducting executive transition management, as organizations often succumb to common mistakes you should seek to avoid.