Leadership Search Guide: Creating An Efficient and Effective Hiring Process

Finding the right leader for your team is one of the very biggest decisions that impacts the future of your organization. In the nonprofit sector, we face the unique challenge of working with paid employees and volunteers, creating an even more challenging job for a leader who can inspire all constituents to work toward–and ultimately achieve–organizational goals.


Third Sector’s team is equipped to help nonprofits of all kinds fill their leadership gaps. We draw on many decades of experience as nonprofit leaders ourselves to help your organization find the best person for your leadership role.

About Nonprofit Leadership Search

Third Sector Company’s Nonprofit Leadership Search supports organizations throughout the full process of organizational transition to a new leader. We specialize in searches for Executive Director, CEO, Development Director, Chief Development Officer, Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer. Our team will assist your organization with not just the search process but the entire transition from assessing the culture into which the new hire will be placed, to defining the role and creating a job description, through recruiting, and ultimately, onboarding the new executive to ensure they are focused on the highest priorities as they begin their new job.


Our team is made up of highly experienced nonprofit executive leaders, bringing years of experience in both leading nonprofits and recruiting the best leaders to carry your vision forward. We support and educate volunteer search committees, make hiring much more efficient, and ultimately help your organization choose the best candidate. We’ll ensure your board has what they need to find the right people to guide your organization in the future.


Today’s nonprofit leaders need skill sets and aptitude that differs from a decade ago. And we are all operating in a competitive marketplace where the very top candidates have their pick of several opportunities, making the “selling” of the opportunity even more important and challenging.

Benefits of Third Sector’s Nonprofit Leadership Search Program

There are many reasons to engage an experienced professional team in your leadership search and ultimately turn it into a capacity building opportunity. An important consideration is that your hiring team is probably not entirely populated with HR or marketing experts, and this specialty expertise is a valuable resource to your organization. We purposely maintain a limited number of concurrent searches, so that we can focus maximum attention on your unique organizational needs.  Here are some of the other benefits your organization will experience when you choose a professional leadership search team for your hiring process.


Defining Job Criteria and Advertising Openings


Defining an executive leader’s role can be difficult. Whether your team is large or small, leaders wear many hats. This means that from the onset it is crucial that your team has a clear outline of the priority goals the leader needs to focus on. Such a detailed job description is also important so candidates have an understanding of what skills they need and responsibilities they will have if they are selected for the position. Third Sector can also help you with the following additional aspects of the search process:

    • Establishing a comprehensive and realistic schedule for job posting, candidate screening, reference checking and interviews
    • Creating a detailed position profile that identifies priorities for the position for the first 24 months of the executive’s tenure
    • Promoting the position across a number of relevant channels to ensure your announcement reaches the maximum number of highly qualified candidates – both those actively looking as well as those who would consider a transition to your organization.


Hiring Insight from an Independent Third-Party


After putting your best foot forward and advertising your available position, you’ll need to review applications and determine which candidates are qualified for the role. Involving our experts in your search process includes having the following resources at your organization’s disposal:

    • Providing thorough guides for each step of the search and selection process, including thorough marketing plans for advertising the position, meeting agendas, reference check templates, screening and interview questions, and onboarding protocols.
    • Serving as a confidential go-between to facilitate communications between candidates and the employer on sensitive matters
    • Facilitating two rounds of interviews to identify the best candidate for your executive role.


Assistance Navigating Contract and Salary Negotiations


Having an experienced expert on your team to assist with hiring terms and salary negotiations can be highly beneficial. Beginning before the position is advertised with the determination of the appropriate salary range to attract high-caliber candidates, Third Sector Company can subsequently help provide guidance to the search committee and the candidates regarding compensation, so that when a winning candidate is selected, there are no false expectations during final contract negotiations.  In total, our team will help you create a mutually beneficial agreement with your new executive.   


Detailed Execution of Onboarding Processes


Carrying the intention, goals and priorities established when crafting the position profile, throughout the search process and to the onboarding phase is critical. It also is a way to ensure that the new executive begins his or her tenure focused on the priorities that drive organizational success and fidelity to the mission. At the core, the onboarding process works to achieve alignment between the new executive and the organization’s volunteer and paid leadership regarding the executive’s priorities and how s/he will be evaluated.


Let Current Executives Focus on Running The Organization


With a comprehensive breadth of resources at their disposal and capitalizing on outstanding experience in hiring nonprofit executives, the Third Sector team can perform the bulk of the work in supporting your search committee, thereby allowing each member to concentrate on the tasks that add value to their respective areas of responsibility.


At Third Sector Company our team can help you find the ideal candidate to help your organization achieve your desired goals.  To learn more about our programs, visit our website. To keep up with the latest from Third Sector, subscribe to our newsletter!