From writing a job description to conducting interviews to extending an offer, a disciplined, rigorous search process will mitigate the risks of hiring new employees for your nonprofit or mission-driven organization. This article provides step-by-step advice from recruiting experts to help you hire with confidence.
Who should be on your team and how and when should they be involved in the search process? This depends on your organization. Your team may consist of 2-10 members, depending on the size of your organization and the level of the position. You also may wish to include board members or other volunteers on the team, particularly if you do not have a large staff. In general, a CEO/executive director (ED) search will involve board, staff, and possibly search professionals; direct reports to the ED will tend to involve 1-3 staff members and possibly search professionals, but typically not the board. Once you have selected the team, clearly outline each team member’s responsibilities.
The role of the team is to fully engage in the search process. Members can offer a range of perspectives on the position, the candidate profile, and how specific candidates do and do not fit the profile; communicate about the search to the organization, and provide an open forum for discussion and dissent about which candidate to choose. Once you have selected the team, it is helpful to clearly outline each team member’s responsibilities (e.g., Who will be in charge of managing incoming resumes? How much interviewing will each team member do?) The team also needs to determine a process for finalist selection: Will one individual (e.g., the ED) be responsible for the final choice? Will a subset of the hiring team make the decision?
You can break down the team’s tasks into a simple list that makes it easier to manage team members’ roles and responsibilities:
When the team is in place, and before you begin to write a job description, think holistically about what your organization needs in order to deliver on its mission and goals. Some questions to ask include:
The answers to these questions should start to provide you and your team with a sketch of what the position will look like. This is a good point in the process to conduct a reality check. Based on the analysis completed thus far, is the organization structured in a way that will allow you to achieve your strategic goals? Will making this hire help you fill your gaps? Can the requirements that the team has sketched out realistically be found in one person or does the organization require restructuring? If you have determined that your organization is well-structured but requires the new hire to complete the team, you can begin to write the job description. If not, it’s important to gain clarity on the ideal structure and how to get there before moving forward.
This article originally appeared on Bridgespan.org.