Customizable Search Services

Executive Search Process

The ACCT search process encompasses the following steps and is designed to respond to the needs and culture of the College. Our process builds confidence in the process and, ultimately, in the leader selected by the Board.

1. Institutional Analysis and Profile Development
2. Candidate Recruitment
3. Candidate Evaluation
4. Selection of the New CEO

1. Institutional Analysis and Profile Development

Your ACCT Search Consultant will interview the board, search committee, college constituents and study college documents including the budget, student enrollment and demographics. There will be a series of open forums led by your ACCT Search Consultant where faculty, staff, administrators, students and the community will have the opportunity to share their thoughts regarding the college’s opportunities and challenges and the ideal qualities and characteristics needed in the next president. These forums provide insight into major issues, concerns and priorities of the college community. Additionally, ACCT Searches can develop an electronic survey instrument to help solicit additional feedback to assist with the development of the presidential profile. This valuable feedback is used to inform the develop of the presidential profile which will be used to recruit candidates and becomes an instrument to evaluate candidates for the position.

2. Candidate Recruitment

We provide guidance on the preparation of an advertising/communication strategy, placement of ads and the development of other relevant materials.

ACCT will work with the college staff to design a web page announcement to be posted on the college’s home page. It will include information such as the presidential position profile, procedures for submitting an application, timeline, and progress reports. The web page will also serve to keep the college community informed throughout every step of the search process.

ACCT’s searches include the following national recruitment activities:

  • Personal recruitment: One-to-one confidential outreach to outstanding candidates including prominent community college leaders. ACCT’s network is such that we can easily reach out to the most successful community college leaders; they trust us and appreciate our commitment to maintaining confidentiality. ACCT has longstanding relationships with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the National Council on Black American Affairs, the National Community College Hispanic Council, the American Association for Women in Community Colleges, and the American Council on Education, Office of Equity and Office of Women in Higher Education.
  • Recruitment at national meetings: The position will be prominently featured at ACCT’s Annual Leadership Congress and the National Legislative Summit in Washington, DC, in mid-February, as well as other national higher education meetings.
  • Mailing: A formal request for nominations and the CEO profile materials will be sent to national and regional sources identified by ACCT. ACCT’s relationships with community colleges, other higher education institutions, and business and industry (database of nearly 12,000 community leaders), ensure the broadest possible recruitment efforts.
  • Web Listing: The announcement of the position would also appear on the internet, via ACCT’s home page and the college’s home page.
  • National advertisements: We recommend – The Chronicle of Higher Education, Community College Week, Community College Daily, the AACC Times, Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and AsianWeek. Web postings include: and ACCT will provide samples and advice on designing ads.

3. Candidate Evaluation

One of the most effective steps in creating college and community-wide ‘buy in’ of the final choice is the candidate screening process, and ACCT will recruit a rich and diverse pool of candidates.

ACCT proposes that the search committee invite the eight to ten most highly qualified candidates for a preliminary confidential interview and, following the interviews, recommend the final candidates to the Board for their consideration.

The ACCT Search Consultant will develop sample interview questions for the search committee’s review that will be based primarily on desired criteria and on the challenges and opportunities identified during the institutional analysis meetings.

The ACCT Search Consultant provides guidance to the search committee as they evaluate the most highly ranked candidates to ensure that fairness and equity standards are maintained.

Once the final candidates are identified, ACCT proposes that the Board schedule one-day to two-day candidate visits to the college. These visits would include formal interviews with the Board and an interaction in a social setting (optional) with the candidate and his or her spouse/significant other. The candidates would also participate in open public forums and meet with  constituent groups.

The ACCT Search Consultant will provide advice on how to coordinate these visits and will provide a customized board interview guide and interview questions. Internal college constituents and external community members will be encouraged to attend the candidate open forums during campus visits to provide feedback to the governing board on the candidates.

4. Selection of the New CEO

ACCT has demonstrated expertise in conducting in-depth reference checks.

Reference Checking: Summary reference reports (presented orally) are developed on final candidates. These confidential reports are developed by contacting eight to ten (or more) individuals. The majority of individuals who are contacted are not on the candidate’s reference list.

Your ACCT Search Consultant will share these in-depth confidential reference reports orally with the board during the deliberation process. These extensive reports are often 15-20 pages in length. Candidates’ qualifications and achievements are examined in relation to the specified requirements of the position.

In conducting in-depth background and reference checks, ACCT’s reference consultants will speak directly with individuals who are now, or who have been in the recent past, in a particularly good position to observe and evaluate the candidate’s performance. These confidential reference reports include information obtained from supervisors, direct reports and colleagues from current and previous institutions. These references and evaluations are combined to provide frank, objective appraisals. Using HireRight, ACCT can provide degree verification, and check credit history and criminal records on all final candidates. These reports will be billed to the college at cost.