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Finding Leadership Through External Recruitment Support

Executive Search Case Study Download PDF cirlce-arrow

Finding the right fit for an open position can be extremely challenging. It takes time that organizations often don’t have, and sometimes the right candidates are not looking for a new opportunity. That challenge can be amplified for more specialized positions, such as that of CEO at a nonprofit organization, but with the right search team in place, these recruitment challenges can be reduced. In the following case study, you’ll learn about how one nonprofit was able to navigate this difficult situation and end up with the right candidate by seeking support from an organization that knew how to manage the executive recruitment process.


A nonprofit organization was faced with recruiting a new leader after the tenured, highly regarded CEO announced their departure. The organization’s board, which consisted of a group of highly dedicated volunteers, understood the importance this new  executive would play not only in the organization itself, but in the greater community as well. The board also knew it needed to partner with a team that possessed nonprofit executive recruiting and community engagement experience and that could support all aspects of the recruitment process.


Similar to many nonprofit recruiting and executive search processes, gaining input from and understanding the needs of the many stakeholders, which in this case included donors, employees, community leaders, board members, clients, and others, was imperative to the success of the search process. To ensure that this input was compiled, the organization’s board formed a search committee that, in turn, partnered with The QTI Group’s Executive and Professional Search team. Together,the joint team began the search process.

"QTI leading the process ensured that the different views of the stakeholders were heard, and they acted as a problem solver when there were different opinions." -nonprofit board member


QTI’s team began by outlining a process that emphasized strong communication and transparency while connecting all the  stakeholders along the way. The process also identified and articulated the organization’s strategy, which the incoming leader
would have to be capable of driving toward.

The next step of the process was to identify the candidate qualities, including a specific skill set, culture fit, and desired areas of expertise. To gather this information, QTI used a comprehensive survey, coupled with one-on-one discussions and focus groups with different stakeholder groups, and documented the results to derive a thorough job description.

Process Checklist

  • Understand organization's strategy and mission
  • Identify candidate qualities
  • Develop job description
  • Begin candidate outreach

From there, candidate outreach began. This included a multi-faceted approach to identify and gain the interest of qualified candidates.

Once an initial candidate pool was identified, QTI then reviewed, interviewed, and evaluated the interested individuals to narrow down the pool to a manageable number of qualified leaders. These candidates were presented to the search committee, which ultimately decided which individuals they desired to meet for interviews.

Following these interviews, QTI’s team helped facilitate a decision-making process and, when necessary, circled back to the prep work to help focus the discussion around the predetermined ideal candidate qualities and organizational goals and strategy. Once the finalists were identified, key stakeholders were able to meet the finalist candidates.


Using the results of the interviews, team discussions, and input from the key stakeholders, the search committee made its hiring decision. Before the offer was made, QTI conducted background and reference checks of the finalist candidate and reviewed competitive compensation data provided by QTI consulting. Concurrently, QTI conducted a thorough leadership assessment using an industry leading tool called Hogan Assessments. This assessment validated the characteristics that were discovered during the interviewing process and, when combined with the results of background and reference checks, confirmed the candidate was the right fit. An offer was extended.

"All the prep and behind the scenes help was extremely helpful." -nonprofit board member

After offer acceptance, QTI assisted the search committee and the selected candidate in coordinating logistics for a successful transition and onboarding process, which included orientation into the community, schools, neighborhoods, services, and other local organizations.

With the new CEO at the helm, the board is happy to report progress toward their strategy because they found the right person for the job through partnering with QTI’s Executive and Professional Search team.

"I was extremely impressed with how QTI managed the overall process." -nonprofit board member


There are four key tenets to making a hiring process run smoothly, especially when the candidate is at the executive level of an organization and a large team of decision-makers are involved.


Clear communication between all team members keeps the team moving int he same direction with no one left behind.


A common vision for the direction of the organization sheds clear light on the organization's needs; without this, it is more difficult to find the right candidate to fill these needs.

Predetermined Direction

The team of decision-markers should all agree on the specific needs of the candidate they are looking for, in order to reference that standard during the selection phase.

Process Management

Knowing what role each person plays, and when, should be determined up front so the process can run smoothly and people are available when they are needed.

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