Nonprofit Board Recruitment: Can Google’s Process Apply to NFPs?


Nonprofit Board Recruitment: Can Google’s Process Apply to NFPs?

By: Eugene Fram                Free Digital Image

Following are Google’s hiring attributes that might be helpful to consider, if applied to nonprofit board recruitment as well as employee recruitment. * Nonprofits should especially consider them for board recruitment. Although nonprofits traditionally use an attribute matrix emphasizing skills such as finance, marketing and accounting, here are some others to consider.

Cognitive Ability – Is the candidate capable of gathering and processing information on the fly?
NFPs board members traditionally are volunteers whose major job and personal interests lay elsewhere. To gather speed as board members, they need be able to structure new organizational information quickly. Few are going to be on the board more than six years, with infrequent contact with organizational operations and its challenges. Consequently, an in depth orientation program is needed for those who have these abilities.  Example: Have the CEO invite those with the abilities to attend local or regional conferences with him/h.
Team Leadership –How well does the candidate lead a team to solve a problem?
NFPs often do not have staff personnel to handle problems alone and must team with board members to solve them and to plan strategically. Also, when “do you step back and stop leading?” This is especially important when the nonprofit moves from start-up-mode to growth stage. Many nonprofits fail to maximize their social potentials because board members continue to lead in a micromanagement fashion long after it is required. They hire C players when A or B players are needed.
Ownership and Humility – How easily will the candidate assume responsibility to solve a problem situation and at the same time be willing to try out new ideas? Also will he/s be willing to share credit for accomplishments?
Nonprofit directors offering part-time board service with broad overview responsibilities need to be comfortable in sharing credit with management, staff and board peers. Board members are not in positions to be authoritarian, except in a crisis station and then only with the concurrence of other directors.

Practical Applications of Google’s Hiring Attributions
I don’t think there are any nonprofits that have the power and cache of Google. Consequently, nonprofits that add these attributes will need to do more vetting via personal interviews. These attributes do no readily surface on a resume. However, in building a board recruitment matrix, NFP boards should add them to emphasize their importance. Eventually they might enter the DNA of nonprofit recruiting. Then happenstance might be reduced and board recruiting can become more focused.

*As reported by Tom Friedman:







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