Do I Need An Executive Search Committee

You are facing another executive team opening and wondering if there is a more efficient and effective way to handle the hiring process. You’re working with a retained executive search firm yet you want to do more internally to ensure the best fit. You are most likely asking yourself, “do I need an executive search committee?”

The short answer is that in most cases you can benefit from it. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, and with a search committee, multiple heads are better than two. Setting up a search committee should be done very thoughtfully. Hiring executives is one of the most important aspects of growing your business. The committee should reflect this.

Those who are asked to participate need to be vetted for their commitment, desire, and willingness to collaborate. Taking on this level of responsibility is an honor that comes with significant accountability.  If the team is unable to collaborate by either pushing for their own agendas or by not fully participating and focusing on the search, the committee will undermine the process, costing the company time and money.

The team can add significant value to the hiring process and the company overall when it is firing on all cylinders. This happens when decision making reflects a shared governance mindset, often seen in academia and healthcare. Tim Porter describes it as, “a professional practice model, founded on the cornerstone principles of partnership, equity, accountability, and ownership that form a culturally sensitive and empowering framework, enabling sustainable and accountability-based decisions.”

The essence of shared governance can be broken down into three key areas; accountability, engagement, and trust. By displaying accountability, the committee owns the search process and has a vested interest in the success of the new hire. When each member is engaged, they are dedicated to the search. And finally, trust in each other, the process, and the executive recruiter leads to an open honest dialog to reach the best decision.

Executive hiring is a complex process that focuses on technical skills, culture fit, and soft skills like leadership style, decision making process, and team management. A good executive search committee will have multiple perspectives, insights, concerns, and opinions about each candidate. This requires consensus through strong leadership of the committee.

The committee chair should be open to debate, and even encourage it. By creating a safe space, everyone on the committee can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. They should also be open-minded and patient. By listening to everyone on the committee, they can suss out the common themes that they are hearing and bring it to the attention of the group.

Let’s look at the benefits of using an executive search committee. First, you’ll hire more elite talent. The executive search firm has already delivered the top candidates to you, the committee will ensure the culture fit and soft skills are additive to the company.

You’ll also improve the diversity of the organization in the ideas and thinking shared and uncovered throughout the process. You’ll improve your strategic business acumen over time as the committee galvanizes. The company’s vetting process will streamline, create best practices, and increase the velocity of the hiring process.

To learn more about creating or optimizing your executive search committee, send us a note. At Sheer Velocity, our executive recruiters are experienced in working closely with executive search committees.