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Don't Spin Your Wheels: 9 critical questions to answer before you start recruiting an executive

Starting with Clarity is Critical

As an executive search firm in the nonprofit sector, we know that hiring for a leadership position can be a complex and challenging process. Many factors come into play when selecting the right candidate for the job, and decision makers need to have a clear idea of the candidate profile they want to hire to ensure a successful outcome.

We have taken over numerous searches that went on unsuccessfully for months because there was not agreement within the organization of what they were looking for, or different interviewers were judging based on different criteria.

Ask the Right Questions Internally

Defining the candidate profile starts with internally asking the right questions. Get the decision-makers together and discuss the following critical questions:

  1. Do you want someone who is a newer executive, and potentially hungrier and more coachable, or someone more seasoned who can make a larger impact, faster?

  2. Do you want someone who is more entrepreneurial and risk-taking, or someone more conservative who may be a stronger and steadier manager

  3. Do they have to have a certain degree or educational background?

  4. Do they need to have nonprofit experience, or do you prefer someone from outside the industry?

  5. How important is their experience with fundraising?

  6. Is it more important that they communicate well with people outside the organization, or promote engagement and motivation inside the organization?

  7. Do they need to have a good understanding of nonprofit finance and how to manage budgets, or is their role more oriented to overall vision and strategy?

  8. Does this position need to be in-person, or can it be hybrid or remote?

  9. Is there room to expand the pay scale if a higher quality candidate is available that may be able to have a bigger impact?

By answering these key questions and considering the specific competencies and skills required for the role, you can define a clear candidate profile that will help you identify the ideal candidate for the position. Ultimately, taking the time to define the candidate profile is critical to finding the right leader for your nonprofit organization and ensuring its success.

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to optimize your hiring process to better identify, attract and retain top-tier leaders who achieve results, please reach out to me at We will schedule a 15-minute chat about how we can help you maximize your impact through acquiring the right talent.

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