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Finding Strong Candidates for Vice President for Finance and Administration Positions

Finding Strong Candidates for Vice President for Finance and Administration Positions

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 in presidential searches. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

An institution asks: We are starting the search for a new vice president for finance and administration (VPFA). How do we identify and recruit quality candidates?

The search must be broad based, and the materials promoting the opening must denote a high level of responsibility. Whether the search is being facilitated by a search consultant or internal staff, be sure to develop a national advertising plan (NACUBO is an important outlet), but also mke personal contact with financial leaders at peer and regional institutions.

Then, develop a strong position profile that focuses on institution-wide responsibilities and conveys the history, mission, and culture of the institution.  Key elements include:

  • Overview of the strategic plan, emphasizing goals relating to the position
  • Overview of financial issues that drive the budget
  • Overview of the historic pattern of financial indicators, endowment, and debt
  • Outline of the opportunities and challenges facing the new vice president

Quality candidates are attracted to positions because of the institution's the mission, as well as other key factors.  What is the stability and strength of institutional leadership, and what opportunities will they have to make a positive impact on the institution?  Where is the position located, and what is the atmosphere of the campus and greater community? 

It is essential to create a profile that gives the candidates a realistic and comprehensive understanding of the expectations embodied in the role of the VPFA. Incorporating these ideas into the announcement of the position and carefully considering applicants from all sectors of finance are the best ways to ensure a successful search.

Thanks to Oscar Page, AGB Search consultant, for this post.  For more information on institutional finances and responsibilities, consider The Finance Commitee, part of the Strategic Finance Toolkit.
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