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Who Belongs on Your Hiring Committee?


The best hiring committees are robust, yet efficient. They are able to bring diversity and a wide-array of perspectives, while still functioning smoothly. There are a number of people who are automatically excluded: people who report to the candidate should not be on the committee. While the outgoing individual should be involved in the process, he or she should not sit on the committee. Who should? Here are three questions to ask about potential members of a search committee:

  • What do they bring to the committee that no one else does? Your search committee should be composed of individuals of differing backgrounds, specialties, and constituent groups. Ask yourself what perspective they bring that’s missing. An executive assistant who has worked for the organization for years has a keen insight into the demands of the job, the interaction with other roles, and the strengths—and shortcomings—of the outgoing leader.

  • Are they known for their judgment? A search committee is about selecting the next leader who will chart the course of the institution for years to come. Insight, discrecion, and teamwork should be key characteristics of committee members.

  • Do they understand where an institution has come from—and is going? Experienced employees can have a long view on company culture. They come equipped with a built-in filter for people who will fake their way through an interview. Your committee should include seasoned members of an organization that understand the organization’s legacy. It’s pivotal that they aren’t mired in nostalgia.

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