top of page

Needs Assessment for Hiring Your Next Career Center Leader

Career Threads is a micro-blog series that offers quick insights into trending topics in career services, jointly composed by the Consulting Team at The Career Leadership Collective, out of their experiences interacting with hundreds of career professionals and senior campus leaders.

Is hiring a new career center leader on the horizon for your institution or academic department? Perhaps your career leader is retiring in the near future or has announced they have taken a new role. Here are some key strategic assessment questions to help you strategically attract an outstanding candidate pool.

What is the current health of your career office? How would your campus community describe the overall effectiveness of your career office brand, processes, outcomes, and alignment with departmental and institutional strategy? Answering this question is not simple, but it is crucial. A landscape analysis or outside advisory assistance can offer critical insights before you search for a new career center leader. Don't use an old job description for a new role. Refresh the job description to align with your career ecosystem's current and future needs.

What is the main objective for your next career leader? Will your next leader sustain a successful operation, face a rebuild, or grow innovative impact? Some career leaders thrive at sustaining ‘well-oiled’ operations, while others are brilliant at turning around an outdated model and leading change management. Others are gifted at convening stakeholders and launching new or larger career readiness initiatives. Identifying and ranking your objectives with your future direction is important to ensure you hire a leader who can realize those objectives.

How would you like your institution to relate to your next career leader? Needs can vary greatly across institutions. Your next career leader should have the right relational fit for your pressing needs. Examples of how a career leader relates include:

  • A relational catalyst: This type of leader is regularly on stage wooing stakeholders and can easily partner with the VP of Advancement on donor stewardship, relate with cabinet-level staff on strategic initiatives, and easily produce career success talking points for the VP of Enrollment and for presidential speeches.

  • A gifted analyst and operations expert: This leader will lead behind the scenes, ensure all systems run smoothly, and use data to practically educate stakeholders.

  • A chief career coach: Many small, private institutions, for example, have a more intimate environment with a very low student-to-staff advising ratio. Often, they need the leader to show up as a senior career counselor/coach who takes care of students' needs and leads a team focused on influencing the overall student experience.

Bonus questions: Who is the best person to be an interim in the meantime? Here are a few essential items to consider when hiring an interim:

  • What is your objective for the interim director? Will this person need to keep the ship afloat, or do you expect them to continue ideating and developing growth initiatives? Do you need an operations manager or a relational leader who will maintain morale?

  • Does the interim want to be a candidate for the permanent role?

  • Are you prepared to offer adequate time commitment, support, and compensation to allow the interim to succeed?

Need some insight on your next search for a career center leader? The Career Leadership Collective provides advisory assistance, strategic planning, and executive search services. Contact us to schedule a conversation.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page