Steps in the Executive Search Process

Leading Transitions has refined a process to help nonprofit organizations find new leadership that is effective to the functions and meets the goals of your organization. Our network includes over 1,700 contacts to recruit from in the search process. We take the following steps to find the best candidate for the position:

  1. If possible, meet with the outgoing Executive Director / President and CEO to assist with individual transition plans.
  2. Where applicable, make recommendations on legacy-building fund development opportunities.
  3. Develop a comprehensive transition timeline with clear action steps and accompanying dates.
  4. Assist with the formation of a transition and search committee, a sub-set of the Board of Directors.
  5. Recommend goals for organizational development (if recommended) during transition and search phase; Determine resources for support.
  6. Work  on the continued messaging of the departure announcement(s).
  7. Assist in the appointment of an Interim Executive Director, if needed.
  8. Consult with the transition and search committee on staff, donor, constituent, community, etc. communications.
  9. Advise the committee on matters contributing to healthy transition practices that are mutually beneficial for the organization and for the new incoming leader.
  10. Coordinate all meetings of the transition and search committee.
  11. Meet with staff to help set expectations for search and include them in specific portions of the process.
  12. Develop and finalize a robust position profile for local, regional and targeted national distribution.
  13. Create a constituent and candidate outreach and recruitment strategy.
  14. Coordinate and facilitate all related position profile dissemination and marketing, including client suggestions, my recommendations and the firm’s private candidate and professional groups.
  15. Make direct contact with a select group of people that that may be identified as potential candidates or who may be closely linked to a potential candidate.
  16. Perform preliminary review of applicants’ materials (resumes, letters of interest, salary parameters and professional references).
  17. Update the transition committee chairperson and committee members throughout process.
  18. Based upon an applicant’s match with the skills and accomplishments listed in the position profile, sort applicants into three major tiers.
  19. Help the transition and search committee determine which candidates to bring in for a first set of interviews.
  20. Design interview process with the transition and search committee, including format development, location determination and calendar setting.
  21. Provide a draft list of questions to ask candidates that combines our experience doing this work with the specific inquiries that need to be made on behalf of the organization.
  22. Facilitate the interviews and committee debriefings of each individual candidate as well as the final debriefing post-interviews.
  23. Manage any potentially embarrassing or awkward aspects of a particular individual’s candidacy should they come to light during the course of the process.
  24. Assist the transition committee with compensation and/or relocation issues and discussions.
  25. Recommend steps for orienting the new leader to impact the greatest future success for that individual and for the organization as a whole.
  26. Handle communication with, and the rejection of candidates in a timely and politically-wise and sensitive manner.

Explore a relationship with Leading Transitions today: 414.228.9860  |


"Mindy, we need to thank you for all of the hard work, devotion, time and energy you selflessly put towards all that you do! I am honored to know a person like you!!! You are a shining example of how one person can have such a giant impact."

"I just want to let you know that I finalized the job offer and have set a start date. I can’t thank you enough for your amazing support over the years and for making this opportunity possible.

"Thank you so much for your time and inspiration today. Knowing how many calls you get like mine, I truly appreciate the time you took to network and to provide me with a road map on how to start transitioning my career. Thank you for making the world a better place."

"I truly can't thank you enough for your kindness and encouragement. Hearing your perspective, especially on Milwaukee's fabric of nonprofits, was a super helpful education. I am polishing my resume, and would deeply appreciate any edits you might have after seeing it. Thanks again for everything."

"Thank you thank you thank you. You are truly one of those wonderful rare finds, and I’m so happy that you breezed into my life!"

"I saw the person you referred me to yesterday and was reflecting on how much I value knowing her and learning from her. Without your introduction, I don’t know if that would have happened. Thank you for being a connector, such a strong judge of character, and for adding to the joy in my own life."

"I could not be more grateful for your encouragement and coaching. You're THE BEST. I can't say it loudly enough. I couldn't be more grateful for your how selflessly you've supported and guided me."

"Thank you for spending some of your valuable time with me yesterday. I enjoyed my conversation with you and learning more about your organization and the direction you provide nonprofits to navigate transition."

"Thank you so much for your support today – and every day, for that matter. Your smile, positive attitude, and passion for our organization is so inspiring. I appreciate having you in my life!"

"Getting to know you personally, and prevailing upon your insight into the non-profit world of Milwaukee has been one of the greatest gifts of this summer and fall. Your generosity has allowed me opportunities for participation and service that are immeasurable as a result of your guidance. I am really excited about this new chapter, and especially the chances you have given me to impact the issues and organizations I care most about. I am deeply grateful for everything."

"We were so fortunate to have you speak to our members, and I appreciate your time and effort in preparing for us. You excel at speaking and taking the time to know your audience - THANK YOU. I look forward to our paths crossing again soon."



"Many thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience at today's executive transitions program. You did a terrific job leading the discussion and keeping the conversation flowing and focused."