Nonprofits generally like to fill empty positions from within. Yet when in-house candidates are not up to snuff, there is no other option but to start an external search.
As Kirk Kramer and Preeta Nayak noted in the Bridgespan Group’s book “Plan A: How Successful Nonprofits Develop Their Future Leaders,” most nonprofit leaders feel they are ready for the challenge of external hiring. They cited their Leadership Development Diagnostic Survey, which revealed that 77 percent of leaders agree or strongly agree that they “effectively screen external leadership candidates to ensure they are correct for the role and the organization.” An additional 78 percent agree or strongly agree that external candidates seeking leadership roles are interested in joining their organizations.
This confidence does not extend to the transition phase. The survey indicated that 38 percent of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that their organization has a successful on-boarding plan. Kramer and Nayak wrote that the organizations that have had the most success in this phase have reached clear internal agreement about what the nonprofit needs in a given role.
With that in mind, the two authors listed three steps for a successful external hiring campaign:
- Step 1: Define requirements for the role.
- Step 2: Create opportunities for both the organization and the candidate to assess whether the candidate is a good fit.
- Step 3: Design an on-boarding process that supports the new hire’s capabilities and relationship development.