Search Process

We’re with you every step of the way.

Academic Search serves as your partner in a collaborative search effort. Our consultants interact extensively with your search committee to assist with organizing and managing the search process, and informing the crucial decisions of the search committees and hiring authorities.

Organization of the Search

To help organize the search, Academic Search works side-by-side with our partners to set specific goals and develop operating guidelines. During this preliminary phase, we meet with appropriate departments such as human resources to ensure that the search process conforms to the regulations, requirements, and culture of our partner institution or organization.

Analysis of Institutional Needs

Academic Search consultants begin each search by researching the distinctive history, culture, strengths, and challenges of our partner institutions or organizations. The consultant meets with key stakeholders such as trustees, faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community leaders, listening carefully to their input and perspectives.

Recruitment of Strong and Inclusive Candidate Pool

The next step is to build a candidate pool crafted for the specific search and the unique qualifications of the open position. Every candidate must personally apply for inclusion in a search—we never insert anyone in our search pools. We cast a wide net to find the very best candidates, locally, nationally, and globally, and tap into our extensive networks to identify a broad and diverse group of candidates. Applications are typically sent directly to Academic Search and stored on a secure website, to which only the search committee and the consultants have access.

Candidate Evaluation, Interviews and Vetting

During this crucial phase, our consultants assist the search committee in narrowing down the applicant pool to those most qualified for first-round (semi-finalist) interviews, referred to as the Neutral Site Interview (NSI). The Academic Search consultant will be present during NSIs, which can be conducted in person or through remote videoconferencing. Following the NSIs, the search committee will select finalist candidates. Once the finalists are identified, the consultant conducts deeper background checks, including degree verifications and additional reference calls. The finalist interviews are conducted on campus. These interviews provide the first chance for an institution or organization to begin to personally connect with prospective leaders. Our consultants advise the campus community on how to structure these interviews for optimal transparency and participation.

Interviews and Vetting of Candidates

Once the semifinalists have been chosen, reference calls are made prior to NSI. The search committee chair will determine who should conduct the “on-list” references supplied by the applicants: Academic Search, search committee members, or a combination of both.

Neutral Site Interviews can be conducted in person, or through videoconferencing, according to the wishes of the search committee. In the event the committee selects a medium such as Skype or BlueJeans, Academic Search staff will provide logistical support. In the event of in-person NSI, the host institution will make hotel arrangements while the Academic Search staff schedules the interviews. The senior consultant(s) will be present during these interviews. Academic Search can also assist in finalists’ interviews, if requested.

Following the first-round interviews and the selection of finalists, the senior consultant(s) will conduct deeper background checks (“off-list references”) on the finalists, as well as degree verifications and other background checks. All arrangements for visits by finalists are made by the client, with assistance from Academic Search.

Facilitation of the Appointment

Once the campus interviews are completed, Academic Search consultants work with the hiring authority to bring the search to a successful conclusion. Our consultants can help develop recommendations to the hiring authority to facilitate a smooth transition for the newly hired candidate. These might include communications strategies, celebrations of the outgoing administrator, welcoming activities of the new administrator, and a transition plan.