Finding the next leader of your organization by serving on a search committee is a long process, full of potential pitfalls. It’s also an honor and a privilege. But although the conversations are fascinating, the daunting complexity of the decision and the risk of making a mistake can weigh heavily on each committee member.
Happily, having the right decision-making process can dramatically improve your odds of success. Long before you develop the job description, and certainly before you begin interviewing candidates, the search committee needs to develop their decision support process, where the information on the position and candidates is gathered and organized effectively. Although “deciding how to decide” can sound terribly bureaucratic, being attentive to this governance question is important. You need to understand who has the authority to decide, who needs to approve the decision, who should have input into the decision, and what information should be used to make the decision. Most importantly, this process will also need to include enough time to consider all the gathered information.
So what should you consider when you evaluate executive search firms proposals and what should you discuss with each search firm?