What Executive Recruiters Look For On A Resume

What Executive Recruiters Look For On A Resume

How do executive recruiters absorb a resume when they receive one? What do executive recruiters look for on a resume to determine whether to follow up?

We asked several executive recruiters what they look for on a resume for senior to leadership level opportunities and summarized their quotes below. Note: Most recruiters mentioned that they look at and analyze all of these areas in about 30 – 60 seconds.

Most recent role
I’m generally trying to figure out what this person’s current status is and why they might even be interested in a new role. Are they laid off? Did they get fired? Have they only been in their role for a few months? Is their most recent experience relevant to the position for which I’m hiring? – Ambra Benjamin, Recruiter @ Facebook

What were you actually doing (‘software engineer’ is a generic title with a huge variance of responsibilities – be specific about what that meant for you). Who were you actually working with (include details of team size, how your team fit into the org structure). Why was the work important to the company (was this the company’s core product you were asked to work on, or some other piece to enable things to happen)? – Andy Barton, Former Quora recruiter; Facebook recruiter for 4+ years.

“What does their most recent leadership role say about their purpose and values? Is the most recent role consistent with what is required to be driven at your organization?” – Brett Farmiloe, Nonprofit Executive Recruiter

Company recognition
“Not even gonna lie. I am a company snob. It’s not even that I think certain companies are better than others (although some are). It’s purely a matter of how quickly can I assign a frame of reference. This is often more difficult to do when a candidate has only worked for obscure companies I’ve never heard of. When I can’t assign company recognition, it just means I have to read the resume a little deeper, which usually isn’t an issue, unless it’s poorly formatted and wrought with spelling errors in which case…you lost my interest.” – Ambra Benjamin, Recruiter @ Facebook

“The better question to ask is what gets a look of over 6 seconds – what puts you in the upper 50%? Company worked for – they have an idea in their head, if it matches, you match. If not, you don’t. Unless you have a time machine your fate is sealed here.” – Chad Porter, Co Founder of Invisume

“Employer name near the top of the resume. If I have to scroll through education, lists of SEO-happy buzzwords and descriptions of what skills you think you have, It’s painful. Recruiters want to know within fractions of a second who you work for, as they usually know the industry they are recruiting in and can garner a lot from that data point.” – Michael Wright, Recruiter

Overall experience
“Is there a career progression? Do they have increasing levels of responsibility? Do the titles make sense? Do the responsibilities listed therein match what I’m looking for.” – Ambra Benjamin, Recruiter @ Facebook

“Why your job matters to who you work for, what you achieved for them, rather than the day to day duties, we can usually guess those from your title. Data points. And not just “increased by 800%” either, increased something from X to Z is more meaningful.” – Michael Wright, Recruiter

“What you studied, and what the progression of your career was. Though, I don’t mind hiring you for a job that is unrelated to what you studied, as long as it’s your passion, and you self taught yourself a whole bunch.” – Nada Aldahleh, Sandglaz CEO and Co-Founder

Gaps
“I don’t mind gaps so long as there’s a sufficient explanation. Oh you took 3 years off to raise your children? Fine by me, and might I add, I bow down. You tried your hand at starting your own company and failed miserably? Very impressive! Gap sufficiently explained. Whatever it is, just say it. It’s the absence of an explanation that makes me wonder.” – Ambra Benjamin, Recruiter @ Facebook

“Longevity / gaps. Are you “in” or gun for hire?” – Chad Porter, Co Founder of Invisume

Keyword search
“Do they have the specific experience for the role I’m hiring for? I Command + F the crap out of resumes. On any given day I’m searching for things like Ruby on Rails, Mule, Business Intelligence, MBA, Consulting, POS, Cisco, Javascript, and seriously, anything you can think of.” – Ambra Benjamin, Recruiter @ Facebook

“Due to rising competition in today’s job market, 90% of companies (larger than 1,000 employees) use Application Tracking Systems in order to help them search for qualified candidates from a large pool of applicants. ATS (Google “Applicant Tracking System”) help employers by analyzing applicants’ resumes and identifying those whose content match given sets of keywords.

Furthermore, humans (recruiters) scan for keywords in their 10 second reviews also to make a judgement if you are a “match” or not. How else can anyone go through a large pile of resumes in minutes?” – James Hu, Founder & CEO of Jobscan

Personal web presence
“This includes personal domains, Twitter handle, GitHub contributions, dribbble account or anything a candidate has chosen to list. 2 out of 3 times, I almost always click through to a candidate’s website or twitter account. It’s one of my favorite parts of recruiting. Random aside: I care less about what people say on Twitter and more about who is following you and who you follow. So much insight gained by seeing who values your thoughts.” – Ambra Benjamin, Recruiter @ Facebook

“Hyperlinks. To work you’ve done, if relevant, to communities you participate in and add value to, to Twitter, etc” – Michael Wright, Recruiter

General logistics
“Location, Eligibility to work in the US.” – Ambra Benjamin, Recruiter @ Facebook

Overall organization
“This includes spelling, grammar, ease of use, ability to clearly present ideas.” – Ambra Benjamin, Recruiter @ Facebook

“Lose those adjectives. You may think you are a visionary, creative, analytical problem solver but maybe only your mum would agree, it’s useless.” – Michael Wright, Recruiter

What do you think executive recruiters look for on a resume? Contact us to let us know and we’ll consider adding your insight into the post!

Y Scouts helps nonprofits, social enterprises and culture-fanatical organizations find exceptional leaders. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community. If you are looking for an exceptional leader to join your organization, contact us to experience a different approach to recruiting.

Nonprofit Turnover: Hiring Staff That Will Stay

Stuart Wachs

CEO Stuart Wachs

“Oy vey.”

It was early 2014 and CEO Stuart Wachs, who’d recently been recruited to lead the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, had lost his Chief Development Officer. The circumstances were understandable – the departing CDO wasn’t quite the right fit. Still, a reset on CDO was going to hurt. Goodbye goal of 10% growth. Merely breaking even would be a victory.

This wasn’t Stuart’s first rodeo. As with previous organizations he’d led through change, Stuart knew the Phoenix Federation’s long-term success would depend on a committed, cohesive, and talented leadership team. This is why he didn’t simply dust off the old job description and push it though his networks to find willing applicants. Landing a phenomenal CDO who was the right cultural fit would take a much more thoughtful approach. More on what Stuart did do below…

nonprofit turnover
We all know that turnover in the nonprofit sector is terrible. According to CompassPoint (UnderDeveloped), 50% of development leaders plan to leave their organizations within two years. The story is especially stark for small nonprofits, where 57% of development leaders plan to leave. These are frightening stats since there’s no possible way an organization with chronic leadership transition can effectively achieve their mission.

At Y Scouts, I help nonprofits/social enterprises find new leaders. I can say definitively that organizations making hasty leadership hires contribute to these sad statistics. This is because, in their rush to plug a leadership hole, they haven’t built a framework that leads to hiring clarity. Nor have they gained stakeholder input or buy-in. The negative consequences cascade from there:

  • Incomplete picture of role needs
  • Lack of support from key stakeholders
  • Limiting the applicant pool to active candidates only (even though 75 – 95% of potential candidates aren’t looking)
  • Inability to rule out unqualified and poor-fitting candidates
  • Unclear definition of role success. A recipe for disaster.

So, what’s the key to bringing in leaders that stick? It starts with slowing down and building out a thoughtful decision-making platform. Identifying stakeholders and gaining their input is also key. This generates clarity and confidence at every step of the hiring process.

I suggest the following steps to help you prepare for a leadership search. These aren’t complicated but they require thoughtfulness and purposeful action. And if you’re feeling impatient, ask yourself this: if I can’t afford the time now, can I afford the time, energy, and lost opportunity to replace this failed hire in 6 months from now?

STEP 1: CONDUCT A POST-MORTEM.

Stuart learned important lessons from the loss of his CDO that would enable him to make a better hire. If you’re replacing a departing (voluntarily or involuntarily) key leader make sure you understand what went wrong or could have gone better. Conversations with the departing leader as well as their colleagues, direct reports, and other key partners will be helpful. Use this time to just listen and understand. Don’t point fingers or be too harsh on any one person – especially yourself. Accept the departure and ready yourself for a brighter future.

STEP 2: PUT AN INTERIM SOLUTION IN PLACE.

Stuart recognized that finding an exceptional CDO would take several months. In the mean-time, he’d have to take on the CDO’s responsibilities, including direct leadership of the development team.

An interim solution allows you to move forward with existing goals and projects, while acknowledging internally and externally that a permanent leader is still to come. If you have the interim skill-set internally you can, for a time, expand a valued team members’ responsibilities. You can also knit together a patchwork of solutions that includes a temporarily increased reliance on consultants. I’ve also worked with highly effective interim leaders who are able to float in (not unlike Mary Poppins) and shore things up and then leave once the organization is ready to move forward.

You have a number of options. The point is – an interim solution buys you time and allows you to focus on the best possible long-term outcome.

STEP 3: BUILD A SEARCH COMMITTEE.

Stuart knew he didn’t have all the answers so he didn’t go it alone. Neither should you. Your search committee can be formal or informal. You’ll want a small group of people (at least 3 but preferably less than 8) with the explicit or implicit authority to make the hiring decision. The only individuals that should join this committee are those that bring essential insights to the role, the process, and/or will be critical to the new leader’s success.

For his informal CDO search committee, Stuart brought in a few development-savvy Board members and a leadership team member to participate. For CEO searches, the search committee should be very Board-driven and include members who are trusted by the larger Board to guide the organization to an exceptional outcome.

The search committee should be led by somebody with the capacity, authority, and trust to make decisions or facilitate a group decision. This would be the CEO/ED for any c-level search. It may be the Board Chair or another trusted Board hand for a CEO search. Clarity around the search committee leader will allow for timely, consistent progress. Lack of clarity will result in decision paralysis.

STEP 4: DETERMINE WHO WILL SOURCE CANDIDATES.

Finding an exceptional leader takes an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and people-power. If you skimp on sourcing talent, you’ll end up only considering active applicants versus the 75 – 95% of candidates who are busy working and need to be proactively engaged. Perhaps you have a capable HR or talent acquisition leader who can lead all sourcing and build out an effective selection process.

For Stuart, he recognized that finding a game-changing CDO would require an exhaustive, national search so he partnered with Y Scouts to source exceptional CDO candidates. If you partner with a search firm , ensure that the firm is competent in nonprofit search and understands the nuances of what makes somebody successful in this particular role. Bridgespan offers a great guide for helping nonprofits choose an executive search firm.

No matter how you get the search done, it’s essential that you don’t cede decision-making responsibilities to your sourcing team. The buck must stop with you.

STEP 5: IDENTIFY KEY STAKEHOLDERS – TELL THEM THE PLAN AND SOLICIT THEIR INPUT.

While Stuart kept his CDO search committee small, he engaged a larger group of stakeholders (mostly Board and staff members) who were highly invested in a successful search outcome. Stuart sought mostly culture-focused insights from these stakeholders. What values were most lived out at the Federation? What type of leader would thrive in the Federation culture?

The stakeholders for your search will include individuals who have an important impact on your organization AND will be highly vested in the new leader’s success. As soon as you have your search committee together, let this larger group of stakeholders know about the search on which you’re about to embark. Let them know you’ve put together a select group of people uniquely qualified to find and recruit this new leader. Your communication with these stakeholders will be appreciated and calm their nerves.

But go beyond communicating at these stakeholders. Gain from their insights. Times of transition are unique opportunities for everybody in the organization to reflect and ensure that the next decision is better than the last. Don’t waste this moment. If there’s a quarterly, all-team meeting, this might be a good time to generate feedback from the team on needed characteristics to thrive in your organization’s culture.

At Y Scouts, before starting a search, we send out an “Organizational DNA” survey to a large (often to 20+ people) and diverse (from front-line staff to external stakeholders) group to understand the purpose, values, culture, and leadership of the organization. And we don’t just look for the positives, we want to know what’s not right and ask where the culture needs to go. These insights frame our discussions with and evaluation of potential leaders. This invitation for input also builds a tremendous amount of trust and support for the process.

STEP 6: HOLD A STRATEGY SESSION WITH THE SEARCH COMMITTEE.

Congratulations! You’ve selected a capable search committee and you’ve communicated with and received input from your stakeholders. You’re ready to convene a search strategy session. There are a lot of moving pieces to a search strategy session, so I’ve devoted an entire post to the topic.

STEP 7: BEGIN THE SEARCH.

You have input. You have buy-in. And you have a search strategy. Now go find that exceptional leader!

Nonprofit Executive HeadhuntersAbout Paul Eisenstein
Paul is the Social Enterprise Practice Leader for Y Scouts, a leadership search firm that helps nonprofits, social enterprises and innovative companies find exceptional leaders. Learn more about Paul here.

How To Avoid A Lousy Nonprofit Recruiting Strategy

In Nonprofit Turnover is Terrible. How You Can Avoid an Ill-fated Search., I shared the story of Stuart Wachs, who very thoughtfully set the stage for a successful CDO search at the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.

Nonprofit Recruiting StrategyIn this post I’m assuming you’ve identified the leadership role you need filled. I’m also assuming you’ve selected a capable search committee and you’ve communicated with and received input from your stakeholders. Now it’s time to quit dilly dallying and launch the search, right? Well, not quite yet. Like with any complex task (see image), winging it won’t work. You’ll need a strategy to guide your search efforts.

Search strategies are complex and best built in-person through in-depth, working sessions. Each person on your search committee should be in attendance. And don’t forget to include whomever will be sourcing the talent – whether that’s internal HR personnel or a partnering recruiting firm.

To make the session most productive, send a short survey to the search committee ahead of time. Ask questions like, “Hiring the right person for this role will lead to what/where?” and “at the end of two years, I would be thrilled if the new leader has accomplished [fill in the blank].” A little pre-work will get the committee in the right frame of mind. Bring the compiled results to the session and you’ll be off to a great start.

Building a search strategy requires reflection, strategic thinking, and creativity. When done right the session will be full of vigorous conversation and perhaps a splash of contentious (but respectful) debate. If it’s all head-nodding and comments of “Sure – sounds great” you’re not giving enough credit to the complexity and importance of the role.

Your strategy session has been successful if you leave with a clear path ahead. You’ll want to achieve 4 outputs from the meeting: why, who, where, and how. More details below:

OUTPUT #1: DEFINITION OF THE ROLE’S WHY AND SUCCESS OUTCOMES.

Forget the traditional job description. For complex leadership roles, the overarching why of the role is much more important than the job’s tasks and responsibilities. Why does this role exist? How will we know if this leader is successful? At Y Scouts, we help our clients define a role’s success outcomes. In developing these goals, we insist that the outcomes are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely), leading to much more thoughtful expectations for the role.

Defining success outcomes rather than job activities allows for a number of things that a traditional job description doesn’t. First, armed with a clear definition of success, you’ll be much more precise in defining the needed (and can discard the unnecessary) qualifications for your new leader. Second, you and your committee will be forced to develop a shared definition of success – increasing the likelihood that the goals you set forth are indeed reasonable and relevant.

Most importantly, defined success outcomes will give the new leader tangible expectations that s/he can work and talk through with you. It’s astounding that 75% of CDOs and 62% of CEOs cite unrealistic expectations as the prime culprit for CDO departures (Campbell & Company). Defining clear success outcomes will lead to honest conversations about what can (or cannot) be done. Everybody will be happier for it.

nonprofit recruiting strategyDuring Y Scouts’ strategy session with Stuart Wachs at the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, we were defining the success outcomes for the CDO role and Stuart said he expected a 10% increase in annual giving. A Board Member (a former CDO herself) questioned Stuart and cautioned against unrealistic expectations, especially in the CDO’s first year. This generated fantastic conversation resulting in moderated goals. While Stuart still insisted on growth he recognized that more ramp up time was necessary. Click the image to see the success outcomes Stuart and his team settled on.

Lou Adler, the godfather of Performance-based Hiring, has influenced Y Scouts’ work on developing a role’s why, so Check Lou out when you have a few moments.

OUTPUT #2: DEFINITION OF PRECISELY WHO YOU’RE LOOKING FOR.

Once you’ve defined the success outcomes of the role you’re ready to define who you think could reasonably accomplish those outcomes. Identify specific areas of expertise that will be necessary to accomplish an outcome. But leave out qualifications that aren’t truly needed. Is a Master’s degree actually essential? If so, which outcome will it support?

For the example with Stuart, one of the CDO’s goals would be to maintain the Federation’s annual campaign of ~$3.75M in the first year. In order to accomplish this goal, we knew we needed a seasoned fundraiser who’d not only participated in annual campaigns at a high level but was well-versed in major gift development and stewardship. And since the campaign is highly Board-driven, a CDO with strong ability to work with a Board would be key.

Don’t just define who from a matter of skills and experience. Define what the correct mission-fit looks like. Also, what values are pertinent with your organization? What’s your organizational culture like? What type of person best fits within it?

The Jewish Federation in Phoenix is a relatively large organization with a complex set of actors involved in decision-making, so it was important that the CDO not be intimidated (or frustrated) by a larger, institutional environment. And unsurprisingly, an individual who was Jewish or deeply passionate for Jewish community would be an essential trait of the CDO.

One final note on the who. Avoid fuzziness like the plague. If you’re fuzzy in defining who you’re looking for, you’ll be unable to target the right people and you’ll miss out on the best. Clarity will also provide an excellent evaluation rubric as you engage and evaluate candidates.

OUTPUT #3: EXHAUSTIVE (BUT SPECIFIC) LIST OF PLACES WHERE YOUR NEW LEADER MAY BE FOUND.

Posting your job on multiple job boards isn’t good enough. If all you do is post job ads your result will be a flood of active job-seekers who believe they are right for the role (even if they have no business applying). Lou Adler suggests that 75% – 95% of potential candidates need to be actively approached. This group of leaders is busy working and will miss your opportunity – even if the role could be perfect for them. My point is – don’t leave your candidate pool to chance. Go find the right leader.

Brainstorm with your search committee where this leader likely is right now. I don’t necessarily mean where this leader is physically (although this matters too), but at which organizations and in which roles can your next leader likely be found? Which sub-sectors of the nonprofit world might they be working? Is this person actually working in the private or government sector? If so, where? What associations is the person likely a member of or connected to? Where does s/he hang out and with whom?

When Y Scouts was helping the Phoenix Jewish Federation find their CDO, we obtained a list of all the small, mid-sized, and large Federations in North America. We also built out lists of other Jewish and Jewish affinity groups where our ideal candidate (a development leader with a strong passion for Jewish community) might possibly be associated with. The result was a very long list of prime recruiting targets.

Defining where your next leader likely is will allow you to be extraordinarily proactive in your search. Rather than hiring the best of who applies, you’re ready to hire the best. Period.

OUTPUT #4: SPECIFIC TACTICS FOR HOW YOU’LL FIND AND RECRUIT THIS LEADER.

Now that you know who you’re looking for and where s/he likely is right now, you need to decide how, specifically, you’re going to find and engage them.

Let’s say you’ve targeted a group of organizations with talented leaders that you want to tap into. Can you map out the relationships of your leadership team and Board members to see how you can access those leaders? Perhaps you’re looking for a CDO – can you connect with leaders of your local AFP chapter and get a sense for the quality development leaders in your area? Is there an industry event where you’ll “bump” into the right kinds of people? LinkedIn is a fantastic tool that allows you to find people with pin-point accuracy. Maybe you’ll leverage that. Are there niche job boards that will catch the eye of your target leader?

You’ll see that there are all sorts of ways to reach your intended leader. The important thing is to not leave it to chance. Make your own luck.

___

With fantastic clarity on the why, who, where, and how you’re ready to launch your search. It won’t be quick or easy, but you can act with confidence that you’re ready to find and hire your exceptional leader. Go get ’em!

Nonprofit Executive HeadhuntersAbout Paul Eisenstein
Paul is the Social Enterprise Practice Leader for Y Scouts, a leadership search firm that helps nonprofits, social enterprises and innovative companies find exceptional leaders. Learn more about Paul here.

New Non Profit Recruiting Trends That Will Attract Top Talent

non profit recruiting trends

From increases in staff size to growth in turnover rates, there are a lot of small but significant non profit recruiting trends taking place that will translate to new opportunities for top talent. As your organization grows in size, these trends can present challenges and opportunities for non profits looking to attract leaders.

Non Profit Recruiting Trends: Increases in staff size
Year Up’s National Site Director Scott Donohue experienced this non profit recruiting trend firsthand. As Year Up was looking to expand across the country, Scott was seeking a recruiting outcome of a dynamic and experienced Executive Director who truly embodied their mission. Year Up partnered with Y Scouts, a nonprofit executive search firm to find a new Executive Director in Phoenix.

“The Y Scouts approach was exceptionally effective, delivering a slate of candidates who embodied the essential values and experience we wanted,” says Scott says. “Our outcome was a dynamic and experienced leader who truly embodies our mission. As we continue to expand across the country, we consider Y Scouts a go-to partner in future searches.”

As non profits are projecting growth and staff size increases that could outpace the corporate sector, more organizations like Year Up could turn to alternative recruiting sources like Y Scouts to find top talent. According to a report from Nonprofit HR, 50% of non profits anticipate the creation of new positions in 2015.

Non Profit Recruiting Trends: Growth by functional area
As non profits do not prepare to reduce staff, they do plan to grow different functional areas like Fundraising and Development. This growth by functional area indicates a trend of recruiting budget increases in order to attract talent.

Growth in turnover rate
Another non profit recruiting trend is the growth in turnover rate. Increased turnover will mean that the volume of recruiting will increase significantly, but your organization’s reputation for high turnover can also impact your ability to recruit new talent. Given the high impact of new hire turnover, non profits will need to begin assessing candidates on their likelihood of an early departure.

It’s certainly a candidate market, with the years of the recession fading and giving candidates more choices and opportunities for employment. Increased voluntary turnover suggests nonprofit employees’ confidence in the job market.

Nonprofits are continuing their use of social media for recruitment
More and more nonprofits continue to utilize social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to build up their talent pools of candidates. Recruiters’ use of social professional networks rises over 4 years have become a top source of quality hires. However, as more non profits converge on the space to recruit and social media sites shift to paid advertising platforms, it’s possible that this non profit recruiting trend will not produce the results seen with other initiatives.

What non profit recruiting trends are you seeing at your organization? Contact us to let us know what you are doing to attract top talent to your organization.

Y Scouts helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community. If you are looking for an exceptional leader to join your organization, contact us to experience a different approach to recruiting.

Employment Reference Checks: 7 Screening Questions To Ask

Employment Reference Checks Screening Questions

You’ve done most of the legwork. You’ve developed a pool of candidates, held an initial discovery call, assessed the candidate’s application and invested time in interviewing them face to face. Now, it’s time to perform your employment reference checks.

Employment reference checks are the often glazed over part of the recruitment process. Resist the temptation to skip over this step – especially when recruiting leaders at the senior level. Asking yourself and previous employers employment reference questions during your checks can help determine whether the candidate is the best fit for your role.

Here are 7 employment screening questions to ask yourself and references during employment reference checks:

1. Verify Functional Expertise
The most simple of your employment screening questions, is the candidate capable of doing the work that will be asked of them? To find your answer, ask references to verify the skills and accomplishments your candidate has provided to you.

2. Values
Your interviewing and assessment process should have already ensured that everyone you’re doing reference checks for will fit your organizational culture. In other words, does the true nature, motivations and purpose of the candidate align with the values of your organization? Asking behavioral questions about the values of the candidate to references can reveal some incredible insight. Do the candidate’s energy and persistence go beyond reasons like money or status? Will the candidate be driven, goal-oriented, optimistic, and committed to the organization if hired?

3. Verify Exceptional Leadership Behaviors
Exceptional Leadership is rare. It is a unique combination of purpose & values alignment, modern functional expertise, and a proven track record of the 3 most in-demand leadership behaviors; 1.) Driving Results, 2.) Developing Others, and 3.) Learning Relentlessly. Your employment reference checks should include the verification that your candidate can drive results, develop others, and learns relentlessly.

4. Strengths
It’s time to verify what the candidate is really good at. Ask your references about the candidate’s biggest strengths. If your reference provides you with similar strengths to what the candidate provided, dig deeper to find out how that strength could be applied at your organization. If the reference doesn’t mention the strengths provided by the candidate, candidly ask the reference about the specific strength the candidate mentioned. If the reference balks at the strength, you may not have a self-aware candidate that has differing views from others.

5. Weaknesses
Self-aware leaders are confident and candid. They can realistically assess and talk about their weaknesses, often with a self-deprecating sense of humor. In your candidate assessment you should have already discussed and identified the weaknesses of the candidate. Now it’s time to discover any additional weaknesses of the candidate by asking references, “What are the weaknesses of the candidate?” If the reference provides the same weaknesses as the candidate provided, you have a self-aware candidate that is conscious about where they need the most help.

6. Ranking
After asking employment reference questions around Functional Expertise, Values, Behaviors, Strengths and Weaknesses, it’s time to develop a ranking for each candidate. Where are their gaps when compared to the opportunity? How does their personality fit with your organization? Are the purpose, values and functional expertise of the candidate consistent with your organizational DNA? Spend some time after conducting the employment reference checks to rank the candidate in each area before moving on to conduct another reference check.

7. Best Fit
Is the candidate a finalist? That’s what you’re ultimately determining after employment reference checks. You’ve done all you can – from assessing the candidate on paper to in person to their references – and your job now is to believe that the candidate is the absolute best fit for the role. If you can’t believe in the candidate, then you should pass. If you believe you’ve found your best candidate, make sure to pair your best fit with other candidates who are a “best fit” and have a candid discussion with all internal stakeholders who will be affected by the hire. Ask the internal stakeholders how they feel about the candidate to get a full 360 degree view on your hiring decision.

What screening questions do you ask during employment reference checks? Contact us to let us know how you differentiate your recruiting process to find the best candidates.

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that helps nonprofits, social enterprises and culture-fanatical organizations find exceptional leaders. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community. If you are looking for an exceptional leader to join your organization, contact us to experience a different approach to recruiting.

Nonprofit Executive Recruiters & Headhunters

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that helps nonprofits, social enterprises and culture-fanatical organizations find exceptional leaders. We’d like to introduce you to our team that’s responsible for helping place people in positions that align perfectly with their skills and personal passions.

Meet our Nonprofit Executive Recruiters & Headhunters:

Nonprofit Executive HeadhuntersPaul Eisenstein, Nonprofit & Social Enterprise Practice Leader

Since college, my goal has always been to “put a dent in the universe”. I’ve been driven to help those who struggle become successful. After having the opportunity to run a youth program through AmeriCorps in San Francisco, I returned to St. Louis where I worked in the nonprofit sector. I spent a few years at Big Brothers Big Sisters, connecting mentors with children who could benefit from a caring friend.

In 2008, I joined The Mission Continues, an innovative start-up with the goal of helping veterans transition home through continued service. The Mission Continues was founded on the premise that our returning veterans should be treated as community assets rather than societal liabilities. Military veterans take so much pride in their military service, but many struggle to find their sense of purpose when they return home. Through my experience at The Mission Continues I came to recognize that building and nurturing a sense of purpose is a critical ingredient for life satisfaction – whether or not we’ve served in the military.

Today, I’m a Leadership Search Consultant at Y Scouts and I help organizations recruit incredible people. I joined Y Scouts in 2012 because I believe that each of us should connect our working lives with where we find meaning and value. I also believe that organizations who hold a higher purpose beyond an immediate monetary ROI are much more successful over the long-term and able to attract the most passionate and talented people.

I also…:

am married to the lovely Kim and a proud father to Asher
recruit mentors for the Cleantech Open
enjoy monsoons but love snowstorms
love to fish but mostly come up empty
grew up in Tucson playing in the creek/wash beds
am a big-time Cardinals (baseball) fan

Nonprofit Executive RecruiterBrian Mohr, Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Growing up in small town in Northwest Indiana, my parents gave me the following advice. “Do great in high school so you can go to a good college. Get your degree so you can find a job with a stable company. Work your way up the ranks, and do whatever the company asks of you. Then, when you’re ready to retire you can go do what you love.

…that advice, at the time, sounded logical to me.

For the first 5 years of my professional career, I took their advice. I went into the financial services industry and began building my career. I worked hard, hit my goals, climbed the corporate ladder, earned a very nice compensation, and managed to spend my earnings as fast as I could make it. I had all the material possessions I thought I needed to live a happy life.

…then something horribly magical happened, I got laid off.

At the time, a lay-off seemed like the end of the world, but as I reflected on the situation, I realized I never had a sense of connection to the work I was doing—it was simply a means to an end. Did I want to spend the rest of my career doing work I didn’t feel connected to? Did the money I was making justify the unhappiness I felt?

As you might have guessed, I decided to change careers and do something that provided me with a sense of purpose, something that left me fulfilled at the end of a hard day. I joined a small technology start-up by the name of Jobing.com. For the next 11 years, we grew the company from nothing to more than $38MM in annual revenue and from 5 employees to more than 400. It was my first exposure to the power of Culture, the power of Values, and the power of Purpose. More importantly, it was my first exposure to doing work that truly mattered to me.

…why couldn’t everyone feel this type of alignment and connection?

In early 2012, I teamed up with Max Hansen and Brett Farmiloe to see if we could build a company that would allow anyone to connect, to align, and to build a career based on something other than just money. Y Scouts is a new kind of Executive Search Firm—a Purpose-Based Leadership Search Firm.

With more than 70% of the workforce disengaged in their work, we knew there had to be a better way to help leaders and companies connect in the recruitment process. Bad leadership is the #1 reason for poor engagement, and we believe purpose-driven leadership will reverse that trend. In fact, we’ve witnessed awe-inspiring transformations that prove purpose is not just an ideology, but instead it’s a bottom-line strategy and a competitive advantage.

The highest currency in today’s employment market is meaningful work, not just a paycheck. If that statement doesn’t ring true for you, connect with us.

A little more about me:

Jackie’s husband
Taylor’s and Riley’s dad
Tom and Nancy’s oldest of three boys
Passionate music enthusiast
Above average Texas Hold ‘Em poker player
Deathly afraid of, yet strangely obsessed with sharks

Nonprofit Executive HeadhunterAdam DiBiase, Nonprofit & Social Enterprise Research Manager

What makes everyone around me tick? What separates the people who are perpetually unhappy from those who seem to have their life figured out?

I love to learn, and to connect different pieces of information into the bigger story – especially when it comes to understanding people. I believe we all have a purpose to fulfill, and that living a life deeply connected to that purpose brings more real satisfaction than money, power, or fame ever could.

After spending over seven years with Valley of the Sun United Way in a fundraising capacity, I realized that while my belief in the great work we did for the community never changed, I knew there was something missing in my life. I found Y Scouts, and was deeply moved by the belief in connecting people and organizations based on shared purpose. They offered me the chance to bring my whole self to work every day, and I didn’t look back!

In my role here as a Research Manager, I’m blessed with the chance to learn everyday about our clients and find fantastic, purpose-based leaders who will do amazing things if given the right opportunity. I am motivated to search far and wide to discover the needle in a haystack – the right leader for our clients who can make a huge difference for years to come.

You could say that research is in my blood, and my wife Katie would agree! We met online in 2006, after I discovered her during a search that narrowed everyone on Match.com down to just 85 people. Sure enough, about 18 months later we were married – she was my first great find!

A little more about Adam:

Husband to Katie and father to Luke and Hannah
Valley native and lifelong Cardinals/Suns/D-Backs/Coyotes/ASU fan
Political junkie who wrote a Master’s thesis on attack ads
Member of Palm Valley Church in Goodyear

Non profit Executive RecruitersStephanie Clerge, Nonprofit Leadership Search Director

OK, I admit it. I’m a big nerd. But I’m also a people person. Weird, huh? But that’s the thing. I believe that each one of us is weird in our own way, but that’s also what makes us uniquely awesome! So my why, my purpose, is to find out what that weird thing is about each person I meet so I can help them to shine a light on it. If that person is a leader, then others will see that light and be attracted to and guided by it. In short, I’m on a mission to help passionate and purposeful leaders be excellent. But in my lean manufacturing training I was taught to ask 5 Whys, so I’ll ask four more: Why? So they can help their people be excellent. Why? Because excellent people are the backbone of excellent companies, teams, products and services. Why? Because robots can do more and more things everyday but they still can’t feel. Why? I don’t know, but what I do know is that the world needs more excellence and the fuel of excellence is that feeling of passion. We all have it, but we don’t all know we have it or know how or where to use it. I hope to change that.

I started as a change agent in my nearly 15 years in high tech manufacturing at Intel. During that time I functioned in an operations role as a people and program manager working on multi-million dollar factory start-ups and process implementations. Although I loved designing processes and creating efficiencies, my favorite part was developing teams to meet complex operational goals. As a liaison between Engineering and various departments including Human Resources, Training, Finance and Facilities, my team provided various business support functions ranging from procurement to risk mitigation to workforce planning for a 4000 person organization.

I was well prepared for these challenges by my degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University and corporate entrepreneurship focused MBA from Babson College. Later I added a leadership and transition coaching certification from the Hudson Institute to the mix.

When I’m not working with leaders, I hope that I’m developing some new ones at home along with my brilliant husband, as I have two energetic young children. I also enjoy volunteering in the youth education space and finding simple ways to stimulate my natural curiosity about people, places and things.

Nonprofit Executive RecruitersMax Hansen, Y Scouts Co-Founder & CEO
I’ve been lucky enough to spend my entire career focusing on putting people to work. My experiences range from working at a multi-billion dollar staffing company to organically growing Job Brokers from the ground up. I co-founded Job Brokers in January of 2002 and have grown Job Brokers into a formidable multi-million dollar staffing company.

I have worked nearly every type of position in almost every industry over my career in the recruiting industry. I’ve come to realize the most gratifying feeling in the recruiting business is connecting passionate clients and candidates with a purpose. This ultimately led me to understand my “why” of helping other executives discover their why.

A little more about me:

Father to an unbelievable son named Maxwell
Enjoys coaching Maxwell’s sports teams
Avid golfer
Insanely connected in the Valley
Great backgammon player
Above average wit
Vertically challenged

Are you looking for nonprofit executive recruiters or headhunters? Contact us to experience a different approach to recruiting.

Y Scouts helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community. If you are looking for an exceptional leader to join your organization, contact us to experience a different approach to recruiting.

Emotional Intelligence Leadership: The Skills & Competencies

Emotional Intelligence Leadership Skills Competencies

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What distinguishes great leaders from average ones? It’s a question we constantly are researching here at Y Scouts.

Recently our research came across the work of Daniel Goleman, an emotional intelligence leadership researcher who analyzed the characteristics of executives at nearly 200 companies. What he discovered was a factor he called, Emotional Intelligence, also known as EQ, which was twice as valuable as factors like “IQ” and “Technical Ability” in driving business performance.

At the most senior levels, Emotional Intelligence accounted for a whopping 90% for the difference between the best leaders and the rest.

But what exactly is Emotional Intelligence Leadership?

According to Goleman, Emotional Intelligence Leadership is made up of five skills and competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skill.

Let’s examine each.

Self-Awareness
Self-Awareness is understanding one’s own emotions and their effect on others. Self-aware leaders are confident and candid. They can realistically assess and talk about their strengths and weaknesses, often with a self-deprecating sense of humor.

Self-Regulation
Self-Regulation is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses. Essentially, to think before acting. Effective self regulators tend to be trustworthy, comfortable with ambiguity, able to suspend judgement, and are open to change.

Motivation
Motivation is a passion to work with energy and persistence for reasons beyond money or status. It means being driven, goal-oriented, optimistic, and committed to the organization.

Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand the emotional needs of others and to treat them accordingly. Empathetic leaders are good at developing and retaining talent, serving clients and customers, and managing cross cultural sensitivities.

Social Skill
Social skill is proficiency, managing relationships, developing networks, building rapport, and finding common ground. It makes leaders more persuasive and helps them create change.

According to research we all can increase our level of Emotional Intelligence with training that activates the brain’s limbic system, which governs our feelings and impulses. This works best in three steps: Incentive, Extended Practice, and Feedback.

Because all the EQ components are interconnected, you’ll find that improving in one area can help you do better in the others too.

Consider an executive whose colleagues say they are low on empathy because they don’t listen well. They check their phone in meetings, sometimes interrupts people, and often glosses over differing points of view.

When a boss points this out, the executive is surprised. In their view, they were just being efficient and direct. But the feedback incentivizes them to improve. Privately certain incidents are replayed and the executive thinks about how they could have acted differently. The executive also watches leaders who are good listeners and tries to mimick their behavior.

With continued guidance from their boss, the executive gradually becomes more empathetic to boost both the team’s morale and productivity.

There’s no question that leaders still need raw intelligence and good technical ability. But that’s a baseline. Great leaders must have or develop the five components of high emotional intelligence. Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill.

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that helps nonprofits, social enterprises and culture-fanatical organizations find exceptional leaders. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community. If you are looking for an exceptional leader to join your organization, contact us to experience a different approach to recruiting.

Youth Evaluation and Treatment Centers Testimonial

logoName: Linda Volhein

Role: Interim CEO

Company: Youth Evaluation and Treatment Centers | Valley Clinical Services

Practice Area: Nonprofit & Social Enterprise

“I have had a great experience working with Paul and Y Scouts. Paul has led our agency through the recruitment process for a new CEO with great results. He is knowledgeable, helpful, always available to support us through all of the decision points we encountered. I recommend Paul as someone who will get results, but also someone you will enjoy working with.”

Y Scouts helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community. If you are looking for an exceptional leader to join your organization, contact us to experience a different approach to recruiting.

Year Up Testimonial

Nonprofit Executive Search Firm Testimonial

year up logoName: Scott Donohue

Role: National Site Director

Company: Year Up

Practice Area: Nonprofit & Social Enterprise

Y Scouts partnered with Year Up to understand our organization and our goals for new leadership. The Y Scouts approach was exceptionally effective, delivering a slate of candidates who embodied the essential values and experience we wanted. Our outcome was a dynamic and experienced leader who truly embodies our mission. As we continue to expand across the country, we consider Y Scouts a go-to partner in future searches.

Y Scouts helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community. If you are looking for an exceptional leader to join your organization, contact us to experience a different approach to recruiting.

How to Select An Exceptional Leader

How To Select An Exceptional Leader

The right leaders make all the difference.

It’s simple. If you look at all the successful companies in history and today, they’ll have one thing in common: exceptional leadership.

As Y Scouts continues to pioneer a revolutionary approach to identify exceptional leaders and match them to the positions you need, the most common question we frequently field is along the lines of “how to select an exceptional leader.”

We’re passionate about the power of the right connections, and wanted to utilize a community we’ve long been a part of: HARO. We asked the HARO community for their tips and advice for employers who are looking to hire an exceptional leader for their organization. We asked them what should they look for in a leader, and how can they make the right hiring decisions?

Here’s what the HARO community came back with.

Tell me something that’s true
Sean Si, CEO of Qeryz

I’ll definitely go with Peter Thiel’s approach on this one. Ask a potential leader this: “Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.”

This does two things: Validate originality of thinking and courage in speaking up – two critical traits for a leader especially in this day and age.

Being a coachable coach
Adam Dailey, Chief Executive Officer at FunLy Events

Employers who want great leaders should look at a leader’s ability to be coached and to coach others. Ask them to point out times where they’ve coached others. Using the word ‘coach’ instead of ‘lead’ gets people to open up more.

Seek complete and consistent information
Tacy M. Byham and Richard S. Wellins are CEO and SVP, respectively, of Development Dimensions International (DDI)

Over the last four decades, we’ve trained thousands of managers to make better hiring decisions. As we worked with our clients, we began to document some of their most common mistakes.

One of the major hiring mistakes is failing to seek complete and consistent information from applicants on the specific competencies needed for success in the job. In fact, if you were to ask a group of managers hiring for the same requirements for success, they’re often likely to come up with different lists.

Focus On Cultural Fit
Dominique Jones, Vice President of Human Resources, of Halogen Software

My best advice is to focus on cultural fit. While a candidate for a leadership position may have the right experience, which is important of course, it’s important to ensure this individual’s competencies align to your core values. This means looking beyond technical competencies when assessing candidates for their role. Look at behavioral competencies, as well. Individuals who are a good fit are likely to be more engaged and happier in their role.

Focus On The Exceptional Things
Dr. Chester Goad, of The EdVenturist

Sometimes we tend to over complicate the search for exceptional leaders. It’s actually pretty simple. We can identify exceptional leaders by the exceptional things they have done. For example, accomplishments or successful undertakings outside the typical scope of their job. What are candidates accomplishments that are above, beyond or even outside the job that strike you as exceptional? Look for those things that are uncommon, unusual, remarkable, or outstanding about them. It’s certainly possible to be top notch, an excellent worker, a mover and a shaker, without being truly exceptional. When it comes to leadership, we have to get beyond thinking just in terms of a dedicated or hardworking, employee. We all want dedicated and hardworking team members. An exceptional leader though, will be doing extraordinary things. They will stand out and because of their ability to stand out, or to do uncommon things even among a field of dedicated, hard working people.

The ability to keep a clear focus
William Bauer, Managing Director of Royce Leather

We promote those with the ability to manage and lead in times of ambiguity, conflict, uncertainty and inconsistency. Life is not a straight line. What differentiates leaders from the average soul is the ability to keep a clear focus on the end goal despite all the setbacks and lack of perfect information.

Ask About Past Failures
Idan Shpizear, CEO of 911 Restoration

Leaders are positive. Leaders believe in possibility. From my experience, every project will experience momentary setbacks. It then becomes the leader’s job to raise morale and get things going. When I interview candidates I ask them about their past failures. I don’t care so much that they failed, but I do care about their attitude and perspective on their past failures. If they dwell on it or apologize for it, I know they’re not for me.

Leadership Is About Listening
Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com

Leadership roles come with a lot of baggage. Assumptions abound about what a leader is supposed to be and do, so if you hire someone with no leadership experience, chances are they still believe old tropes about strength and decisiveness, when in reality leading, especially in the context of a business, is more about listening and running a team from within. Effective leaders see themselves as a part of a team, and most people don’t realize that until they’ve been given a leadership role. When hiring, look for people who have some sort of leadership experience – even if it’s just for a few projects, or within a different industry, or as a volunteer. Leadership is hard to teach, but a little experience goes a long way.

Failing that, give them a scenario wherein they have to demonstrate their traits and decision-making as a leader. See if they talk about listening to their team, or if they just give a laundry list of actions they’d take. At the end of the day they are the ones making the decisions, but you don’t want to hire anyone who sees themselves as the keystone of a team.

Look At The Track Record
Keith Johnston, True North Leadership

One of the best ways to find exceptional leaders is to look at their track record. Their track record should include high school and college
experiences. Were they selected as captain of their football team or president of their fraternity. Were there examples of peers in their organizations selecting them as their leaders? Ask them about projects they have been involved in and how they were able to get their project team to buy in to the vision. Find out how they went about communicating their vision, particularly how they were able to make it a shared vision. When they talk about their accomplishments do they give credit to their team and supporting cast or do they take all the credit for themselves?

Know the Difference Between Leading and Managing
Milan Dekich, Marketing Manager & Start Up Advisor, Genesis Net Development

Managers keep the status quo. Leaders have a vision for the future. What does the potential leader see for your company? What are their dreams and envisions? If they can’t sell you (the employer) on where they plan to take the organization, how can sell their staff?

Come up with questions that will help you decipher their ability to know when it’s time to manage and when it’s time to motivate their staff to new frontiers.

Passionate, Decisiveness, Toughness
Crystal Stranger, EA, President of 1st Tax

There are three things that businesses should look for in hiring an exceptional leader:

1. Passionate – having someone who genuinely loves what you do is critical as this person must be the one driving the motivation for everyone else on the team.

2. Decisive – ask them questions about how they have made big decisions in the past, and test them with little decisions to see how they react.

3. Tough – a good leader shouldn’t come over too easily. They should negotiate hard with you to get the most for themselves, this shows they have a better chance of negotiating on behalf of the company.

Find An Exceptional Leader

Looking to hire an exceptional leader? Searching for the ideal candidate? Contact our team.

Are you a leadership candidate seeking the next step in your career? Join our leadership community.

Candidates pursuing non-leadership roles are encouraged to visit our sister company TruPath.