This One’s for the Board Members – What You Can Do to Prepare for Your Next Search Committee

By Serena Moy

As recruiters and experts in finding leaders for social impact organizations, we know how important a board search committee is to the recruiting process. At Edgility, we have the privilege of engaging with a wide array of boards within socially-driven organizations across the nation.  So often, we hear the following feedback from board members, “I didn’t realize this would require so much of my time.”  While you don’t need us to remind you that board membership of an organization requires passion and commitment, we do recognize that oftentimes, participating on a search committee can go above and beyond the commitment you’ve come to expect as a board member.

To assist prospective board members in evaluating their capacity to undertake this responsibility, my colleague Nora and I, have put together a quick checklist to help you determine if you’re prepared for the time investment and the associated expectations inherent in fulfilling this essential role within the hiring process. Even if you have served on a board search committee before, there are things you’ll want to consider for your next search. 

Search Committee Meetings

  • Do you possess an ample amount of time to allocate towards active participation on a search committee? Do you know what the frequency will be for search committee meetings? 
  • With the Edgility team, these key meetings are scheduled biweekly, occurring once every two weeks for a duration of one hour.  

Alignment on Candidate Profiles

  • Establishing a comprehensive understanding of the role and its responsibilities is paramount from the outset. 
  • At the commencement of each search project, board search committee members must convene to calibrate and align on the essential competencies sought in potential candidates.

Preparation 

  • When preparing to meet with candidates, you should expect to spend at least a few hours reviewing candidate materials. 
  • These materials typically encompass a resume, initial video screenings, candidate artifacts, and notes from phone interviews conducted by a recruiter.

Interviews

  • Typically, you could expect to spend up to 15 hours on the first round of interviews with candidates for any position. 
  • If you are participating in a finalist round, this often involves some in-person meetings that can last from 1 to 2 hours and some informal time getting to know a finalist candidate in a casual setting over lunch or dinner. You should expect that to be anywhere between 1.5 to 2 hours of your time.

The Job Offer

  • As a search committee member, you should be thoroughly acquainted with the specifics of the job offer. 
  • This includes details about the salary, a high-level overview of benefits, and the timeframe within which a candidate must respond.

Closing the Deal

  • Following the extension of a job offer, board members should proactively connect with the candidate to convey their enthusiasm about welcoming them into the organization. 
  • It is a recommended practice to provide the candidate with the opportunity to spend time with a board member, addressing any specific questions they may have.

As a board search committee member, this collaborative endeavor may be among the most pivotal tasks you undertake. Finding your next leader, or a new member to fill out your leadership team, is integral to the success of the organization you’re dedicating your time to. The hiring process takes time, effort, and patience and when done well, will lead to a harmonious new partnership. While we will be with you every step of the way to manage the process, we do encourage all board members who are considering taking on this important task, to review this list before you roll up your sleeves and dive right in.

Meet the expert:

Serena Moy

Principal

  • Executive Search
  • Recruitment Campaign
  • Contingency Planning

 

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We believe equity isn’t a box to check. It’s a daily action. Someone’s unique identity isn’t something to overcome–when paired with the right opportunity, it becomes one of their greatest professional assets. We exist to empower social impact organizations to recognize and overcome unconscious bias, racism and sexism so they can build a workforce that reflects and strengthens the communities they serve.

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