A Tool for Nonprofit Executive Hiring


For most organizations, recruiting the right leader is a grueling process. A poorly designed recruitment process will yield applicants that aren’t the right fit and prone to turnover if hired. Making the wrong choices can be very expensive and time consuming. Not to mention the headache and stress of having to manage the termination process. 

According to researchers, the average cost of firing and replacing nonprofit executives is 10%-20% of the annual salary or $10,000 -$50,000. Yikes! This cost includes losses in productivity, loss of contracts, staff time, hiring expensive consultants to fill gaps in day to day operations and recruitment, hiring and onboarding costs. If you run a small to midsize nonprofit organizations this cost represents a large portion of the operations budget. Having to repeat this process within a short time frame can deal a huge blow to your budget. 

Beyond finding the right fit in this moment, our team at ILE urges leaders to recruit with the future in mind. This includes hiring candidates that will expand organization capacity long term by bringing new competencies, skills and industry connections, while demonstrating potential for future leadership succession. You also want to ensure that the candidate will stick around long enough to bring certain goals to fruition. 

To ease the process for leaders immersed in recruitment, ILE Consulting Group has created a series of worksheets that can be used to design effective and efficient recruitment strategy and processes.

Below, we’ve shared one of our worksheet that outlines competencies and corresponding behaviors. 

We suggest selection committees focus on specific behaviors and outcomes when evaluating candidates’ stated competencies. For instance have candidates describe examples of how they have demonstrated any competence or skill listed on their resume and the specific successes and outcomes yielded as a result of their actions.

Selection committees can use this worksheet to rank the top competencies required for short and long term goals; develop job postings, generate interview questions and questions for references. 

Our list of competencies is not exhaustive nor ordered. So use this worksheet as a reference. Share it with your team, constituents and stakeholders. Add additional rows and rank competencies and behaviors based on order of importance for your organization and your community. 

Are you currently recruiting at your organization? What tools are you using? We would love to hear from you. 

Recruitment Tool – Competencies and Behaviors 



Rank Top Skills & Explanation

Critical Thinking

Connecting the dots across many factors simultaneously, consistent reflection, applies data and knowledge in the right context.


Talent Management and Development

Efforts result in good hiring and retention outcomes. Onboard, train and directly coach and mentor personnel or effectively assigns mentorship. 

Keep inventory of expertise and skills, effectively and efficiently delegates responsibilities, able to evaluate personnel performance and provide guidance on professional development.



Manage the production of oral and written internal reports for staff and stakeholders. Can produce publications and presentations for diverse audiences (clients, stakeholders, general public, founders). Communication promotes/reinforces organization brand and vision.


Organizational Skills

Plan, prepare and prioritize day to day operations and special projects. Anticipate problems and preemptively develop solutions.


Quantitative skills

Benchmark and quantify operations and program issues. Balance the use of qualitative and quantitative data.



Direct or facilitate staff training on technology use. Establish policies on the appropriate use of software applications. Proficient in relevant software applications commonly used by nonprofits for productivity, project management, database management, cybersecurity web content management or social media.


Regulatory processes/compliance

Direct and manage staff and consultants in completing reports for fund and contract compliance, state and federal reporting and filings.


Information Management

Direct and establish procedures for compiling and safeguarding, distributing and deleting organization information, files and artifacts.



Marshal resources toward their most productive use. Foresee and plan for the future. Effectively communicates vision and successfully oversees its implementation. Demonstrate agility, converts challenges to opportunities.


Growth Mindset

Embrace challenges. Focus on amplifying assets within a community or organization to overshadow and mitigate deficiencies.


Systems Thinking

Map internal and external systems and the interplay between the two. Map systems interaction and impact on organizational practices, people, policies and vice versa.


Change management

Manage culture shift (behaviors, practices, rewards and repercussions) required to facilitate change. Establish benchmarks and metrics to track progress and impact.



Practice shared leadership, shares decision making with others. Values diverse voices. Seeks consensus and compromise wherever possible.


Personal Growth

Practice reflection and personal goal setting, constantly pursues formal and informal professional development. Pursues coaching and mentoring. Effective at work-life balance.


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