Perspectives on Leadership

When a college or university embarks on the critical task of hiring a new president, a strategically developed candidate pool can better position its search committee to find the most effective leader. A committee should consider a range of candidate recruitment methods, with the aim of identifying the individual that can best serve the unique needs of the organization. Following are four...

According to the American Council on Education’s American College President Study, the frequency of presidential turnover is increasing, with more than half of presidents or chancellors intending to leave their positions within five years. These figures point to an urgent need for higher education...

The National Center for Education Statistics defines a "nontraditional" learner as someone having one or more of the following seven characteristics: older than typical age, part-time attendance, being independent of parents, working full time while enrolled, having dependents, being a single parent, and being a recipient of a GED or high school completion certificate. As U.S. demographics...

The 2017 American Council on Education's American College President Study found that 54 percent of higher education presidents or chancellors plan to leave their current positions within the next five years. Moreover, the study indicates that, due to an increase in the average age of college presidents,...

You've selected your interim appointee, and he or she has accepted your offer. How can you help ensure that your goals for the appointment are met and major problems avoided? Here are four suggestions to prepare the new interim leader and your institution for success.

1. Make sure you've clarified whether, if interested, the appointee can be a candidate for the permanent position. Most interim appointments expressly rule this out for two basic reasons. First, incumbency and candidacy can pull an interim in opposite directions, possibly tempting him or her to avoid hard decisions or to make them based on self-serving criteria. Even the...

Across the landscape of higher education, the search committee plays a central role in the recruitment and hiring of Presidents and Senior Executives. At the same time, it is widely recognized that not all search committees are created equal; many function well and add significant value to the search process, while at other times, they may wander off track, lose their discipline and focus,...

The merits of behavioral interviewing have long been touted as a way to understand how a candidate for a particular position will perform in specific situations.  As Katherine Hansen has noted, the premise behind behavioral interviewing is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in similar situations.  Behavioral interviewing has been found to be 55 percent...

In recent years, innovation and entrepreneurship have emerged as significant strategic initiatives on college and university campuses. In a 2015 Fast Company article titled “The Next Hot Trend on Campus: Creating Innovation,” the author notes that “innovation centers are transforming higher education campuses and powering the future of learning.” A 2016 New York Times feature...

The higher education landscape is changing rapidly, and with it the attributes essential to being an effective leader. It is no longer sufficient to be intelligent and accomplished; leaders must be adaptable, innovative, proactive, and masterful at interpersonal relationships. But how do you measure these less concrete characteristics when hiring new leadership?

Many assessments have...

An Institution Asks: What is the appropriate role of the campus community in finalist interviews?

There is no one right way to conduct finalist interviews. The best structure for finalist interviews will be unique to each institution, balancing factors such as campus culture, history, and expectations for openness; institutional structure (number of campuses, for instance); and the desire to create a process that will attract and protect candidates with high needs for confidentiality, such...

A Candidate Asks: I have concerns about confidentiality, but the institution is holding open campus interviews. What are my options?

If you have confidentiality concerns, be sure to make that clear to the search consultant early in the process, as sometimes search committees have the flexibility to keep the final interview process closed or protected. Even in an open process, there are things a committee can do to limit exposure, such as not providing a press release announcing the interviews, sharing the interview schedule...

A Search Committee Chair Asks:  Would you tell us about your policy on, or experience with, the use of psychological tests in the screening process?

Psychological tests, or personality inventories as they are sometimes called, are among the inputs search committees are increasingly using to narrow the pool of potential candidates. But the use of such instruments raises questions of validity and reliability – as well as a range of concerns on the part of the search committee and the individual candidates being assessed. In my early years of...

An Institution Asks: Should we consider using video technology in place of the more traditional “airport” interviews for semifinalist candidates?

An in-person interview for semifinalist candidates is a tried and true way to help search committees determine qualifications and fit for leadership positions. But it is expensive for institutions and difficult to schedule both for committee members and candidates. We have seen a number of committees opt for the “Skype” interview to help narrow the pool of qualified candidates. This can be...

A Candidate Asks: How should I prepare for a Skype-enabled semifinalist interview?

The short answer is that the preparation is the same as for an in-person semifinalist interview. You should be clear about why you are seeking the position, and be able to explain both your qualifications and interest in an engaging way. You also need to know a great deal about the institution and why the current position is open, what the institution hopes to accomplish with a new hire, and...

An Institution Asks: How does a research associate support an AGB Search search?

AGB Search has a dedicated group of researcher associates who complement the efforts of the consultant for the search committee. Personally, I approach each search as a new puzzle, incorporating all sorts of clues that will fit together to form a final, complete picture. I help build a pool in myriad ways: studying the institution and the role the selected candidate will have within it;...

A Candidate Asks: How does a research associate support candidates in a search?

Interactions between the research associates and candidates is often limited. These few interactions, however, can allow me to build a rapport with a candidate, which can lead to me recommending them for a later search. Astute candidates realize that I am an extension of the consultant and enjoy building a professional collaboration. It’s an exciting view from the sideline I sit on to see...

An Institution Asks: How do we handle questions from our colleagues regarding internal candidates?

Two and possibly three issues are connected to this question. The first is the institution’s willingness to consider internal candidates. It is in the institution’s best interest to be clear from the beginning of a search that not only will internal candidates be considered, but well qualified internal candidates will be encouraged to apply. Such willingness sends an important message to...

A Candidate Asks: Is the institution interested in considering only those who have held a similar position elsewhere or is it willing to consider someone who is ready for the next step?

While on the one hand the answer to this question should be self-evident based on the stated required qualifications for the position, in reality candidates may be reading between the lines that only those currently in a similar position need apply. I encourage hiring authorities to be open to considering rising stars and to state their required qualifications so that they will not preclude...