Hiring College Leaders During the Ongoing Pandemic

By Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D.

Decisions that colleges and universities make during the COVID-19 pandemic will be scrutinized for years to come – plus the impact of those decisions magnified. This includes the hiring of new leaders. Though instinctually institutions may want to postpone hiring until the pandemic passes, realistically they must forge ahead and hire if they are to keep their leadership teams strong and capable in the face of an uncertain future.

In my work as an executive search consultant, I’ve observed institutions and the search committees who represent them facing five key questions as they look to hire new administrators.

Read Zach Smith’s full article, published by University Business: Hiring College Leaders During the Ongoing Pandemic

These questions are as follows:

  • How do we launch a search in this environment?
  • In light of the pandemic, do we hire with different skills in mind?
  • Are strong candidates available during such uncertain times?
  • Do we want to hire someone who “jumps ship” from their current institution in the midst of a crisis?
  • Should we complete a search if we cannot get the chosen candidate on campus?

Colleges and universities have a myriad of questions as they look to recruit for key administrative roles. The conditions for hiring new leaders are not ideal, but the alternative is leaving gaps in the leadership team at a time when strong leadership is needed most.

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