There are many ways to go about finding and interviewing a potential executive director. Here are four tips to use when deciding how to hire an Executive Director for your nonprofit organization.
1. Use an executive search firm
If searching for an executive director seems overwhelming, consider hiring an executive search firm that specializes in working with nonprofits. Since a nonprofit executive search firm already knows the intricacies of recruiting for nonprofits, and since they already have a network of executive directors, a nonprofit executive search firm can take care of the process while you focus on improving your organization.
Recruiters at an executive search firm have lots of experience finding, interviewing, and hiring executive directors. Their process should attract the right candidates, and vet out the wrong ones. In the end, you’ll be delivered the highest quality candidates to consider for your crucial leadership role. The expertise offered at an executive search firm can be a huge help when you’re looking for an executive director.
Talk to your professional connections and mention your search for an ED. Someone in your network may know the perfect candidate, and they can establish a connection between the two of you. The candidate gets a personal endorsement from someone you trust, and you potentially get a new executive director. If in-person networking doesn’t lead to any results, try using social networks such as LinkedIn to find potential candidates.
3. Don’t do it alone
Hiring an executive director is a huge decision, and there is a lot of pressure to choose the perfect candidate. If you are the only person responsible for making this decision, the pressure intensifies. In order to make hiring an executive director a little less intimidating, seek out help from the board members of your organization.
Board members, mentors, and trusted colleagues can all be a big help when you’re learning how to hire an ED. Other people may have different insights on the search process and candidates, and their perspective can help you get a well-rounded view of the situation.
4. Plan Ahead
If executed improperly, a change in organizational leadership can be jarring. Make a plan for your nonprofit in order to help your new executive director adjust to the position. Work with your current staff to decide what course of action will be best for your company. For example: should your new ED jump into the position right away, or should you find him or her a mentor within the company to help ease the transition? By making a plan before hiring an executive director, you can make the process comfortable for the employees and the organization.
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Y Scouts is a purpose-based, performance-proven leadership search and development firm focused on transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. When you’re ready to hire a new leader, Contact Y Scouts. If you are looking for your next leadership role within a purpose-driven, performance-focused organization, please join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.