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3 Things to Consider Before Conducting the Search for Your Next CEO

August 02, 2021

Performing an executive search is no small task…is your board cut out for the job?

Taking on the task of performing a c-level search is no small feat. Here, we cover the top three most important things to consider before starting your own search. These three key items will help your board determine if the search is something they can handle or if it should be left to search firm. Let’s dive in.

What does a nonprofit board need to consider before tackling an executive search?

These three important factors can aid your decision process:

  1. Determine if you will be conducting a nationwide or local search. The time and resources needed vary greatly for each.

    The first thing you want to consider is if the search is nationwide or local. Typically, nonprofit organizations prefer to stay local when selecting a new leader, largely due to the cost associated with moving an executive or the need for local community knowledge or connections.

    That said, the right new Executive may reside elsewhere. If a Board is open to relocation, then an Executive Search Firm will have access to an extensive national network, complemented by very focused research, to identify and attract the most qualified candidates, regardless of location.
  2. Take a closer look at your Board and who they know. Does your Board have the connections to qualified candidates that could fill this role?

    It is often very difficult and time-consuming to sift through a multitude of candidates on LinkedIn. While leveraging the Board’s existing network may produce some excellent candidates, they might not necessarily bring the requisite skills and attributes the organization truly needs.

    A search firm has many more contacts, connections, and access to robust database of qualified candidates. They have a dedicated research team that can help find and vet candidates ensuring the search is focused on qualified candidates who have the relevant experience the Board requires.
  3. The search process is extensive and time consuming. Does the Board have enough time and experience to handle the search?

    The search for a new CEO is a methodical process that requires significant time, planning, attention to detail, and constant follow-up with multiple parties. The process can be all-encompassing, if not managed appropriately.

    An experienced search firm will partner with the Board to truly understand what skills and attributes are most important for the new executive and listen closely to the Board’s desires and organizational goals. This is important, because if the Board is not on the same page before the search starts, what is the likelihood the Search Committee can agree on the final candidate?

    A search firm can bring certain special skills and resources to the table like behavioral based interviewing and personality style assessment tools, such as Predictive Index. These are tools that can help to illuminate a candidate’s style preference and how that will complement and interact with the Board and other Leadership Team Members.

    Plus…search firms can help with two potentially sensitive topics---offer negotiations and helping candidates give notice.

    Search firms generally facilitate the offer negotiations, which can buffer any potential hard feelings between the Board and the new Executive while getting to a fair and accepted offer. They will also coach and prepare candidates with tools on giving notice- which can be very emotional…one less thing the Board needs to worry about.

Is your Board equipped to conduct an executive search? Interested in learning more about partnering with a search firm? Contact KLR Executive Search Group, LLC.

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