Executive Search

Executive Search

An extensive network and the expertise to manage your executive search

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In executive search, it is all about the network

While we conduct national searches on behalf of our clients, we only engage in executive search projects for our nonprofit clients here in Maine. It is here in Maine where we can draw upon the relationships we have built over more than 30 years of working with nonprofit leaders and their boards.

Our clients count on us to tap-into our extensive and growing list of contacts and relationships to reach beyond those who are searching for work to target emerging leaders and those individuals who may be ready for the next challenge. While job ads may reach the unemployed or unhappy, our job is to generate and attract candidates who, without our help, may never even hear about your leadership opportunity.

Social media and the reach of the internet offer tools to gain exposure for your search and multiply the impact of your advertising, but it is our efforts to mine our contacts, to activate our referral networks, and make personal approaches to candidates that will generate a pool of candidates from which your next leader will emerge.

It is also important to note that at Starboard we limit the number of searches we do in order to ensure that your search will get the attention it deserves and the results you require.

Knowing your organization and the leadership you need is essential

There are obvious advantages to selecting a search firm that specializes in nonprofit executive search and truly knows the Maine landscape. It is likely that we are familiar with your competition, as well as your partners, and we know the challenges that you face in your work every day.

We are eager to meet with your board, your staff, and other key leaders to get to know your organization and learn what these constituencies wish to see in your next leader. As your search consultants, we will become your representative with potential candidates, and, in order to do this effectively for you, it takes time and attention—at your organization, in person.

Experience has taught us that if you are clear about what you want, you are more likely to get it. Pulling out an old job description or quickly determining that, “we want someone just like the last guy,” (or nothing like the last guy!) will not accomplish that. We work with the board or the search committee to link their shared vision for the organization’s future to the development of a leadership statement that can be shared with candidates and guide the selection process.

The knowledge we gain from getting to know your organization, your culture, and the qualities you are prioritizing in your search allows us to target our search and present you with candidates who will meet or exceed your expectations.

You can’t afford false-starts or missteps

While there are some standard elements to most searches, it is unlikely that a “cookie-cutter” approach will serve you or your organization well. You can count on us to adapt the search to meet your unique needs and offer you the expertise and experience needed to prevent false-starts or missteps along the way.

We are ready to help you navigate the challenges that emerge during an executive search—internal candidates, employees who expect to get a “vote” in the selection process, board members who want to apply, the development of exit agreements, or conflicts over compensation expectations. You can count on us to smooth-out the speed-bumps and help you anticipate and avoid issues that can slow or prevent a successful search.

An executive search presents an opportunity to shine, to highlight what is special about your organization and convey the right messages to key stakeholders. To attract the very best candidates, you need a search process that stays on a tight timeline and provides each candidate with timely and appropriate communications along the way. We ensure that every candidate is treated with respect and we assist you in developing communications strategies that will keep your various constituencies informed and appropriately apprised of the process.

You don’t have to go it alone

Odds are that the question in front of you now is not, “Do we need to conduct a search?” but, rather, “Can we do the search on our own or do we need help?”

If you’ve ever been personally responsible for conducting a hiring process, you know that even the somewhat passive approach of running ads and waiting to see who applies takes more time than you ever imagined. In determining whether or not you need help with your search, give careful consideration to the time commitment required to maximize your professional network and to proactively reach-out to potential candidates.

Effectively managing a search process takes time and a level of expertise that most individuals, boards, and organizations don’t have. Even fewer have the active professional networks from which to draw the kinds of leaders they really need—successful professionals who aren’t job hunting and might remain unaware of the opportunity you are offering.

Conducting the search for the CEO is one of those moments when the board can’t hand-off the responsibility to someone else. Some boards have the expertise and members willing to commit the necessary time, but others benefit greatly from the help of a search consultant. There are rarely any shortcuts to finding a highly qualified leader, and too much rests on getting it right the first time. You don’t want to repeat the process again anytime soon!

You also want an executive search to reflect well on your organization. A search process that drags on and on or that fails to communicate with candidates in a timely manner will turn-off qualified candidates and send the wrong message at a time when you can least afford it. Keeping a search process on track, on time, and with appropriate attention to detail takes real focus. It is what we do, and we do it very well.

Executive search isn’t easy, but we can handle the essential details, make the process feel manageable for you and your board, and generate the kinds of candidates you need as you search for your next leader.

Our approach to executive search

Every search is different, and you can count on us to tailor a process to meet your unique needs, but we are prepared to provide the following as part of every executive search engagement:

  • Manage the search – Depending upon your requirements, we can employ a search strategy that has a regional focus or that can be national in scope. In addition to developing an advertising and social media strategy that meets your needs, we will immediately activate our own referral networks to generate interest among qualified candidates who are not currently in the job market.
  • Evaluate and present candidates – Using the criteria we help you develop, we will identify those candidates whose leadership styles and accomplishments appear to match your needs, conduct evaluation interviews with the most promising candidates to assess their potential for success within your organization, and ensure their serious interest prior to their presentation to the search committee.
  • Support during interviews – Once the candidates to be interviewed by the search committee have been selected, we will coordinate the details of the preliminary and follow-up interviews, helping you to narrow the search to a small number of finalists.
  • Credential and reference checks – We are prepared to help you verify the accuracy of the academic credentials and the employment history of the finalists and conduct formal reference checks.
  • Offer of employment – Once you decide to extend an offer, we are available, to assist you in preparing and negotiating a compensation package.
  • Supporting a successful launch – We don’t believe our work ends with acceptance of the position. We are prepared to assist you in developing a plan that will help your new leader get off to a successful start. You can also count on us to communicate regularly with you and the newly hired leader throughout the first year to support a successful transition.

Current and completed searches

Below you will find links to information about current searches that Starboard Leadership is managing or supporting:

Executive Director – SPCA of Hancock County

Other completed searches include:

  • Boothbay Railway Village
  • Castine Historical Society
  • Challenger Learning Center
  • Charlotte White Center
  • Cole Family Foundation
  • Community Concepts, Inc.
  • Dietel Partners
  • Eastern Maine Community College Foundation
  • Eastern Maine Development Corporation
  • Island Nursing Home and Care Center
  • Maine Children’s Home
  • Maine Coast Heritage Trust
  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners
  • Maine Philanthropy Center
  • Maine Restaurant and Maine Innkeepers Associations
  • Maine Tourism Association
  • Northeast Historic Film
  • Safe Voices
  • UCP of Maine
  • Waldo Community Action Partners

Begin here

We have developed a variety of resources and written extensively about leadership transitions and executive search, and you will find several articles and blog posts in the Starboard Blog section of our web site.

Let’s talk (free consultations)

Our Maine clients can count on us to begin every project with a conversation—a conversation that helps us to understand your unique needs and consider how best to assist you. Call now—(207) 992-4400—to begin the conversation with Starboard’s president, Jeff Wahlstrom.

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