Preparing the Executive Search Committee

Preparing the Executive Search Committee

Preparing the Executive Search Committee

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Nonprofit Executive Search Series

Welcome to the second part of our Retained Search blog series! Today, Scion Executive Search explores an essential consideration when seeking a new nonprofit leader or executive—preparing your search committee for the recruitment process.

With a remarkable 17-year legacy, Scion Executive Search (SES) stands as a trusted leader in retained search recruiting. Our purposeful hires transcend conventional talent acquisition, propelling organizations forward in today’s competitive landscape. We embody resourcefulness, agility, and a commitment to excellence, ensuring candidates are uniquely suited for each role. With diverse expertise and esteemed certifications, including CDSP, CDR, CSC, PRC, and SHRM-SCP, we serve national clients across multiple industries, leveraging our vast network of 14 million candidates for unparalleled results. Learn more here.

In the dynamic world of the nonprofit sector, visionary leadership is the foundation of an organization’s success, shaping its culture and trajectory. Securing the ideal executive talent necessitates a strategic approach, and executive recruiting firms play a vital role in connecting exceptional nonprofit leaders with charitable organizations in need of incredible talent. In this blog post, we delve into the preparatory aspects that search committees should consider before engaging an executive recruiting firm. Our insights will equip you with the resources to prepare for a successful search.

Defining Organizational Success

Before engaging an executive recruitment firm, it is imperative for your nonprofit search committee to establish a clear and comprehensive definition of what success means for your organization—in the short and long term. The path to identifying the ideal selection begins with a thorough understanding of your nonprofit’s specific needs, objectives, and strategic goals.

Are you aiming to drive exponential revenue growth, foster innovation, or enhance operational efficiency? Or do you seek a leader who can revitalize organizational culture and promote employee engagement? Delve into your nonprofit’s future goals and challenges—considering, too, the specific skills required to navigate the landscape of your industry.

By articulating these success metrics, you not only provide the executive recruiting firm with a focused search mandate but also ensure alignment with your internal staff. A shared vision of success is the cornerstone for attracting executive candidates who possess the right blend of skills, experience, and passion to lead your organization toward its brightest future.

Identify Future-Relevant Skills

Begin by analyzing the skills and expertise that will be critical for your nonprofit’s future success. Consider the industry trends, technological advancements, and market shifts that are likely to shape your organization’s landscape in the coming years. A forward-looking approach will enable you to identify the skills and attributes necessary to drive innovation, adaptability, and sustainable growth.

Define the Objectives of the Hire

To make a truly impactful hire, it is vital to clarify the specific objectives and expected outcomes of the executive role. Beyond the basic responsibilities, define the strategic contributions you envision this leader making. Will they be spearheading expansion into new markets, driving digital transformation, or building a high-performing and diverse team? Establishing a comprehensive profile for the ideal candidate will help the executive recruiting firm tailor their search and align it with your charitable organization’s unique requirements.

Establish Search Priorities

Before embarking on the search, take a holistic approach to assess your organization’s current state. Conduct an internal audit to identify areas where leadership expertise is lacking or needs strengthening. Pinpoint the organization’s pain points, bottlenecks, and opportunities for improvement. This audit will serve as the foundation for prioritizing the qualities and experiences you seek in the incoming executive.

By thoroughly examining your organization’s future trajectory and the skills required to reach its destination, you set the stage for a highly targeted and successful executive search. Armed with a clear roadmap of where your organization is heading, the executive recruiting firm can confidently embark on the mission to find a transformative executive leader who can navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Together, you will forge a path to success that not only ensures growth but also solidifies your organization’s position as an industry leader.

Clearly Outlining Your Executive Requirements

Before approaching any executive recruiting firm, ensure that your nonprofit organization clearly understands the role it wants to fill. Define the position description, responsibilities, required skills, and qualifications. Additionally, identify your nonprofit’s values, culture, and long-term goals to find an executive candidate who aligns with its vision.

Discuss the ideal candidate profile in length, outlining the must-haves and nice-to-haves for potential candidates. Consider technical skills, leadership abilities, industry experience, organization-size familiarity, and cultural match. This will help the recruiting firm narrow its search and present the best-qualified and most relevant executive candidates.

Determining Your Recruiting and Compensation Budget

When determining your budget, it’s vital to create a comprehensive plan that encompasses not only the executive role’s compensation package but also the fees associated with utilizing executive search services. Typically, the search fee is a percentage based on the position’s overall compensation.

Executive candidates often expect competitive compensation packages, including salary, bonuses, benefits, and equity options. To attract top-tier executive leaders and gain access to a broader candidate pool, it’s essential to align with current market rates. Engaging a recruitment firm offers the valuable benefit of their expertise in this arena, ensuring that your organization remains highly appealing during the talent acquisition process. Additionally, it’s worth considering the possibility of salary adjustments for exceptionally qualified candidates. This flexibility allows you to secure the perfect match for your leadership team and positions your organization to attract exceptional talent.

Creating a Realistic Timeframe and Communication Best Practices

Recruiting for executive positions can take longer than lower-level roles, so be realistic about the time required for the search. Your search committee should openly discuss desired timelines, preferred communication channels, and the ideal method of receiving updates on search progress. It’s crucial to establish a transparent feedback process and to clarify the parameters for the staffing agency’s compensation and fee structure. This will ensure a seamless and effective search journey.

Identifying What Makes Your Organization Attractive and Compelling

As executive candidates are highly sought-after, it’s crucial to position your organization as an appealing and compelling choice. Highlight your unique selling points, which may include showcasing your workplace culture, perks, competitive salary, growth opportunities, hybrid or remote work options, and the potential for influence within the organization. By providing these key elements, the executive recruiting firm can craft the most enticing and attractive position description, painting a comprehensive picture of your nonprofit and its offerings.

Engaging an executive recruiting firm is not just about filling a vacant position; it is an opportunity to shape your organization’s future. By investing time and effort in preparing for this critical relationship, you lay the groundwork for a transformative hiring process that can drive your nonprofit organization toward unparalleled success.

Stay tuned for the third installment in this series, which will delve into the benefits of partnering with a reputable executive search firm. We’ll explore the perks of collaboration and discover the critical factors to consider when selecting a search firm with which to partner.

About the Author

Bailey Olderog, Technical Writer (she/her/hers)

Bailey Olderog brings her passion for storytelling and language to her role as technical writer at Scion Executive Search (SES). She is dedicated to telling the stories of others, and it has been her lifelong effort to make contributions that ensure that even the quietest of voices are heard.

Bailey has spent most of her career in service to those who serve. Her extensive public sector experience includes ghostwriting for elected officials and military generals, authoring investigations and public reports, and bringing a voice and audience to those without a platform. She believes language is an art and enjoys using language to advocate for others in ways that are professional, clear, and respectful.

Veterans’ mental health and support have been the guiding star in her career; Bailey volunteers at and has extensively advocated for veteran organizations in her native Texas. She has spent over a decade researching PTSD in veterans, using her research and connections to advocate for positive change and support for military families. She has written extensively on behalf of service members in need of assistance, as well as for military leaders seeking authentic ways to connect with their personnel. She has organized events and supported advocacy efforts for organizations such as Gideons 300 and Texas Veteran County Service Officers. On a nice day, you can often find her volunteering at a park or trail cleanup.

Bailey received her degree in political science from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where she also minored in studio art.

Series Navigation<< The Importance of Forming a Diverse Executive Search CommitteeBenefits of Partnering with an Executive Search Firm >>