As a board member, you may experience a leadership transition at your organization during your tenure. When that time arrives, you have a responsibility as a board to take the necessary steps to ensure a successful transition. All board members will have some role in the process, but the development of a strong Search Committee is the first step.

    Sometimes called a Hiring Committee, Selection Committee or Transition Committee, the Search Committee works with the search consultant, internal HR department, and other stakeholders to ensure an effective leadership transition.

    Before creating a committee and assigning members, there are some items for your board to consider:

    • Review your organization’s bylaws, as they may include policies regarding the hiring of your CEO or Executive Director.
    • Identify board members that will take on the volunteer roles in the hiring process.
    • Assess the strengths of your board members and place them in roles they will excel in and enjoy.
    When assembling the Search Committee, make sure you:
    • Apply a diversity lens to reflect different perspectives, thoughts and individuals.
    • Include current and incoming Board Chairs as they will work closely with your new leader.
    • Only volunteers should be on the search committee. Staff will have different involvement in the process.
    • Keep your committee member number below 10, and at an odd number.
    • Confirm their availability to participate in all events related to the process.
    • Identify a chair who will serve as the liaison to the board and lead the committee. This chair will work closely with the search firm’s consultant.

    After the committee is assembled, identify other volunteers to support remaining events such as attending social events or meals with a candidate during the interview process, providing them with a tour of your community and facilities, or connecting them to key leaders in the community. Ensure that your entire board feels engaged in the process and has the opportunity to participate.

    Once your search concludes, and a candidate is identified, your next step should include the implementation of an onboarding process to provide an effective transition into the organization for that individual. This may include the same committee used for the search, or a new group.

    While it may seem overwhelming, especially if your organization hasn’t had to make such a hire in a while or if you are new to the process, this thoughtful attention at the front end will help to make the hiring process more effective and set your new executive leader up for success.

    Want to learn more about how you might approach this process for your own organization or institution? Contact Bert Ruiz  for a free consultation to discuss your situation and goals.


    Image Credit: DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay


    Posted by Bert Ruiz on Jan. 31, 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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