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3 Ways To Run An Effective Search Committee



By Victor Madubuko, SPHR, GPHR, SHR-SCP

Search committees are often assembled to ensure procedural fairness, to provide different stakeholders with an opportunity to express their views, and to give a nod to shared governance, which calls for collective decision-making on certain appointments. Understanding the dynamics at play within search committees and the constraints under which they operate can help institutions navigate the hiring process more effectively.

Having supported search committees inside and outside of academia, there are tips for running an effective and efficient search committee.

Training a Search Committee
A position announcement fire a new hire may contain detailed information about job responsibilities and qualifications, but members of the search committee may not understand what the hiring authority wants, and may even disagree among themselves about what they are looking for in the position. What has worked is to train a search committee on the use of search checklist, applicant sourcing options,  interview guide, and uniform applicant appraisal process. This ensures that the search committee is on the same page and working towards a shared vision. I have found increased collaboration and communication among search committees after facilitating unconscious bias training.

Diversity & Inclusion
Make diversity a priority in the search process. The best search committees not only advocate for inclusion and diversity but ensure that semifinalist and finalist pools present candidates from different background. I believe that search committee (in addition to consultants) have an obligation to be proactive in recruiting a diverse pool of candidates.  An effective way to generate a qualified and diverse applicant pool is to ensure diversity in the search committee members.  Furthermore, Institutions need to identify their Under Represented Minority (URM)categories and leverage the diversity and capabilities of the search committee to attract and include this group in the applicant pool.

Empowerment Search Committee
Many search committees members believe that a search committeeis a facade for fairness. Sadly, there are times when search committees are used to make it appear that a search is truly fair and open. In those cases, the hiring authority has someone in mind and forms a search committee only because it is an expectation or institutional requirement. However, in a genuine search, one way to empower a search committee is to appoint a consultant to support a strong and fair search committee chair who will insist that all applicants go through a uniform interview and appraisal system. What makes a strong chair? A thick- skinned individual who can stand up to a sabotaging committee member. A change agent who leads by example, inspires others,  and provides opportunities for everyone on the committee to speak and be heard but who has the strength to push back against those who filibuster or try to control search committee outcomes.

About The Author:

Victor Madubuko, SPHR, GPHR, SHR-SCP is a certified human resource professional and  Managing Partner of www.CareerNation.com with 20 years of experience consulting in the healthcare, education, and legal industries.


Ref; BAllison M. Vaillancourt