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Advice to Internal Candidates

Advice to Internal Candidates

This question is taken from AGB Search‘s monthly newsletter, “Securing Leadership,” which features two questions — one frequently asked by search committee members and another often posed by candidates. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

My institution is launching a search, and I may want to be considered. What advice would you give an "internal candidate?"

  • Test your candidacy’s viability. Speak candidly with the board chair/hiring officer. What does she or he see as your strengths? Listen to your gut – are you getting a green light, or is the feedback lukewarm?
  • Proceed with eyes wide open. Consider potentialities. As a candidate, you’ll be evaluated by your peers (and stringently!). If you’re not advanced or selected, can you still work with these folks?
  • Play by the rules. Don’t expect special treatment because of your history. Search committees will ask you to meet or exceed the expectations established for external candidates.
  • Do your homework. Consider the leadership agenda from the outside looking in. Re-read the strategic plan, annual report and latest student newspaper. Be up-to-speed on opportunities. How will you effect change?
  • Respect the committee’s commitment to a fair, impartial and confidential process.
  • Prepare your references. Ensure they know why you’re interested and why you’re a great fit. Share your updated c.v. or résumé. Enable their advocacy.

Strong internal candidates who win the day can be difference makers. Follow these tips and demonstrate how your “insider’s view” translates into the perfect choice.

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