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Make Your Next Museum Leadership Hire a Group Effort

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  1. Know what qualities you're looking for. Sounds obvious, but these aren't the standard qualities that every job advertisement lists -- courage, vision, intelligence, self-awareness -- they are the qualities that will take your museum or heritage organization and move it forward. And they shouldn't be confused with qualifications. Only you, the board and the museum leadership know what your organization needs. Is it experience as a collaborator with other organizations? Is it the ability to be decisive and carry out a strategic plan? Is it an understanding of how digital and web-based content can impact your organization?

  2. Be open about where you might find this person. It might not be in a traditional spot. Try to shed your biases or at least acknowledge them, and be willing to look outside the box.

  3. If this is the top spot, decide how to engage your leadership team and/or staff. Who will give candidates a tour? Who will meet with them in small groups? Who will answer questions about living in your area?

  4. How can meetings with staff and candidates give you the most bang for the buck, providing information for the interviewee, while also giving staff the opportunity to listen and ask questions?

  5. Does your staff or board need coaching on which questions are legal and appropriate and which are not? A refresher never hurts. Hiring, particularly for the top spot, is a time-consuming and sometimes expensive process. Presumably, you're proud of your museum and the work it does. So showcase it. Let candidates meet with staff. Give them a mechanism to report back. Listen. Listen. Listen. Choose wisely. Choose for the team you have and the organization you want. Joan Baldwin

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