As your organization prepares for an executive search, an important consideration is how to engage community stakeholders (along with board and staff) in the process.

    Why engage community stakeholders? This group can provide an external perspective on how the community views your organization, as well as challenges and opportunities facing the community. Board members and staff are typically focused on internal priorities, while this group applies an outward-facing lens.

    Who are community stakeholders? These are non-staff individuals who will most likely interact with your CEO in the future. They may include long-time supporters, major donors, previous board members, and/or leaders of partner organizations. Perhaps, you’ve developed a relationship with the mayor, school superintendent or other elected officials. These people could also be considered stakeholders.

    How do you engage them in the process? Consider including community stakeholders when your organization has invited the top three finalists for an in-person interview.

    A social event to get to know the finalist is appropriate for major donors, long-time supporters, government officials or partner organizations. The individual interactions with stakeholders allow your candidates to learn more about the community and expectations stakeholders have of the organization.

    You can also coordinate tours of your partner organization(s) or local government offices. Whatever you choose to do, make sure the process is consistent for every finalist you bring in to interview.

    Create an opportunity to collect data and input from the stakeholders. This can be informally in the form of follow-up calls, or more formally through an online or written survey that the stakeholders fill out post meeting or event. While the stakeholders are not in the position to decide on a hire, their input and observations can give valuable insight to the committee who will ultimately make the decision.

    The inclusion of community stakeholders in your search process will positively impact the experience for your candidates, board, and community supporters. Doing so sends a strong message that you value their input, partnership and impact.

    Has your organization done something like this in the past? If so, let us know your experience and insights in the comments below.

    Want to talk more about an upcoming search for a C-suite hire? DBD Group can help your organization find better candidates, thoughtfully screen them and onboard the new leader into success. Contact Bert Ruiz to learn more.

    Posted by Bert Ruiz on Apr. 12, 2021
    Bert Ruiz

    Written by Bert Ruiz

    Bert Ruiz serves as Senior Consultant, overseeing executive search services, for DBD Group. With a 21-year career in the non-profit industry, currently, Bert manages leadership recruitment efforts, supporting non-profit organizations with executive search efforts throughout the country. He partners with boards, and senior staff, to fill CEO and C-Suite positions, the latter including roles that oversee operations, fundraising and diversity, equity and inclusion. He delivers resources for attracting and retaining top talent, evaluating and forecasting workforce needs, improves processes, and builds and shares best practices for recruitment and retention.

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