Physician Executives: A Resume Can Make the Difference

By Stephen C. Davis

I have participated in many physician CEO and physician executive recruitments recently, and quite often applicants who relied on a traditional CV to communicate their qualifications for the position didn’t come across as physician leaders. Though we receive many robust and impressive CVs detailing a candidate’s education, administrative titles, and clinical, research and teaching credentials, we aren’t always able to determine what leadership impact—to market share, operations, quality, clinical outcomes, and financials—the candidate…

Leadership Interviews: Anticipate the Inevitable Tough Questions

By Sheila Murphy

  • “Should we become a sanctuary campus?”
  • “Do you believe we have achieved gender equity in higher ed?”
  • “What’s your position on inviting extremist speakers?”

As a long-time academic as well as executive search consultant, I’ve noticed how highly charged and over-simplified questions often surface in candidate interviews with search committees, campus leaders, donors, students or even the media. Some of these questions have…

Advice for Advancement Leaders Who Lack Fundraising Experience


Under pressure to close funding gaps through bigger and broader donor campaigns, colleges and universities often lean toward hiring advancement leaders with resumes that include proven fundraising success. In fact, a candidate’s fundraising experience can now matter most to many hiring committees.

Mercedes Chacon Vance, who leads Witt/Kieffer’s higher education advancement team, acknowledges the frustration this creates for many alumni relations and other professionals looking to advance their careers but who do not have significant fundraising backgrounds. In a recent…

Physician Executives: How to Be Savvy in a Leadership Interview

By Sue A. LeGrand

The demand for physician leaders remains high as institutions continue to recognize the need for individuals to guide their organizations through today’s ever-changing healthcare landscape. Despite fierce competition for qualified candidates, a strong clinical background and impressive educational resume aren’t enough to secure a position. Even the most sought-after candidates…

Insights into Recruiting a College President


Witt/Kieffer senior partner Dennis Barden recently chatted – via the Google Hangouts video service – with Higher Ed Live’s Rob Zinkan about the recruiting of college presidents in this time of great challenges within higher education. Having participated in dozens of presidential searches in recent years, Barden had plenty of insight to share over the course of the 45-minute interview.

Today’s college presidency is such a tough job, Barden notes, that it’s almost “irrational” that individuals would pursue it. Those…

Higher Ed Job Candidates: What Do The Best Have In Common?

By Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D.

Sometimes described as a “dog-and-pony show” or likened to speed dating, the interview process for senior-level executives in academia is demanding and often imperfect. After many years in higher education, first as a campus administrator and now as a recruiter, I’m no stranger to either side of the search process.

Recently I had the opportunity to share thoughts on The Best Higher Education Search Committees in an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education. It…

Women and College Sports Leadership: Inroads and Issues


Few people know college athletics better than Chris Plonsky, University of Texas Women’s Athletic Director, and Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA). Both Plonsky and Phillips have seen college sports change dramatically over the years and specifically in regards to women’s participation in leadership. Women are making inroads into top jobs in college athletics, they say, but this progress is inconsistent and not certain to continue. Women leaders, for example, will need opportunities to…

Career Best Practices: How to Work with an Executive Search Consultant

By Suzanne Teer

It is part of my job to give career advice to executives. While my ultimate responsibility is to employers – that is, our firm’s clients – I enjoy supporting professionals and connecting them with the right positions.

Many of the people I speak with are unfamiliar with the precise role of a search consultant in a recruitment. For this reason I recently wrote down some advice for job candidates on working with recruiters regarding the application, initial screening…

Interview Tips for Executive Candidates


As a successful executive, you may not have interviewed in a competitive situation for some time. Your goal for any interview is to be sure that when you leave, those with whom you met are convinced that you are the ideal candidate for the position, whatever it may be. You want to be in the driver’s seat, getting the option to move forward to the next round, or the offer, dependent on where you are in the process.

For executives…

Executives from the “Outside” Can Provide a Jolt of Caffeine


By Michelle Lee

The traditional career path – moving up the organizational ladder in a specific function within a single industry – is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Today’s most successful leaders tend to come from various educational backgrounds and their career paths weave through many industries and functional areas, positioning them to take on the constant changes in today’s competitive environment.

Industry “outsiders” are often just…