Tips for nonprofit executive searches

By Wendy Steinway, JVA Consulting

At JVA, we have recently seen a number of inquiries about our nonprofit executive search services, as well as several new job announcements for our Boomer Job Board. With all of this activity, we decided to put together a few tips to help you with your nonprofit executive search:

1. Be prepared to be inundated with applications. Because of the economy, almost any opening can generate hundreds of applications, which can quickly overwhelm staff and the search committee.

2. To help ensure more focused responses from candidates, agree on the talents, skills and qualifications sought before posting, and clearly describe them in the announcement. As a nonprofit organization, you should also focus on the mission and purpose of your work in your announcement so that you can speak to those professionals who share a passion for your cause.

3. With several candidates under consideration, it can be difficult to decide on who’s the best fit for the job. Create a matrix that rates key characteristics of your ideal candidate, and use this process to help screen applications.

4. There are a lot of people looking to transition from the private sector, bringing with them valuable business skills in finance, marketing, sales and project management. To be prepared for these candidates and to understand if they will be a good fit, have a set of questions specifically for those transitioning from the private sector. Look for prior evidence of their commitment to nonprofits.

5. There is a huge trend of applicants looking for meaning and purpose, and this is especially true for boomers retiring from one job and looking for an “encore career,” and for the millennial generation as well.

6. Finally, make sure that you and your board have the right tools to make an informed decision. Hiring  for your organization is a big commitment, both of time and energy. JVA can help you simplify the hiring process and find the right person for your organization.


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