Special Circumstances

Under certain conditions, you may need to use tools outside of the typical recruitment and hiring procedures. In rare cases, a Selected Candidate may choose to rescind the job offer or be found ineligible. In limited circumstances, it may be appropriate to use an executive search firm.


 If the Selected Candidate Rescinds the Conditional Job Offer

In rare cases, the Selected Candidate could rescind their decision before or after signing the offer letter or the Selected Candidate could be determined ineligible for hire based on the background screening results. In these situations, any of the following actions could be taken followed by the appropriate Dispositioning of applications through PeopleAdmin:

  • The hiring manager decides to move forward with the runner-up. In this situation, go back to the conditional offer step in the “conclude the search” section of the Competitive Recruitment guide.

  • If the runner-up does not accept or if there is not a runner-up, the search committee chair could present to the hiring manager Candidates interviewed but not removed from consideration. The hiring manager then conducts interview with these Candidates or the appropriate recruitment action is taken as indicated in the résumé review and interview implementation plan.

  • The decision is made to close the Competitive Recruitment process and procure a temporary associate through GW Temps (GW temporary employment service) for a discounted fee.

    1. If a GW Temp cannot fill the need, a temporary associate can be procured through an external staffing agency. The external temporary staffing agency will charge the employer an hourly fee for the procurement of a temporary associate.

    2. Additionally, an external staffing agency can find a direct hire to fill the position. For a direct hire, the temporary staffing agency may charge the employer between 20% and 50% of the direct hires annual salary as their fee to find the right Candidate for the position.

  • The search committee chair notifies the hiring manager and the decision is made to close the Competitive Recruitment process and retain an executive search firm. An executive search firm could charge the employer between 20% and 50% of the Candidate’s annual salary as their fee to find the right Candidate for position. See Appendix K for considerations.

  • The search committee chair notifies the hiring manager and the decision is made to close the Competitive Recruitment process and reassess the position.

    • The posting is cancelled in PeopleAdmin by the HR representative.


 Working with an Executive Search Firm

  1. Procure an executive search firm for support with Sourcing, pre-screening, interviewing, and generating a pool of high qualified Candidates that might not be identifiable in the open job market.

  2. An executive search firm could charge between 20% and 50% of the Selected Candidate’s annual salary; therefore, limit the use of executive search firms to executive classification E3 and E4 positions (e.g., Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations).

  3. Executive search firms may be considered in executive classification E2 and E3 positions and high level management classification positions that are highly specialized (e.g., Director, Sustainability).

  4. The following are circumstances when an executive search firm might be appropriate:

    • The competitive recruitment process for a Vice President E3; after multiple attempts, has not yielded a Selected Candidate.

    • GW Temps and external staffing agencies are unsuccessful in filling your need for a Vice President E3.

    • Competitive recruitment is for a highly specialized M4 position and it is known that Candidates are limited in the open market.

  5. Work with your HR Representative, who may consult Talent Acquisition for expert guidance during the process of deciding the appropriateness of engaging an executive search firm.

  6. Active participation and engagement with an executive search firm is critical to ensure success. One person (e.g., hiring manager, search committee chair, HR representative) should be designated the primary liaison with the executive search firm. The steps below will advance understanding.

    • Step One: Research and select an executive search firm. While some executive search firms are able to fill a variety of jobs in various job industries and/or job disciplines, other firms may be experts in specific job industries (e.g., higher education) and/or specific job disciplines (e.g., mental health).

      1. Generate a list of specific criteria required for the executive search firm to succeed such as expert knowledge of industry and/or discipline.

      2. Consult with colleagues who may have successful experiences working with specific executive search firms.

      3. Consult with the Office of Procurement and Travel Services who maintains a list of executive search firms through the Virginia Association of State Colleges and Universities Purchasing Professionals (VASCUPP) cooperative contracts.

      4. Generate a list of up to ten (10) executive search firms for consideration.

      5. Contact executive search firms from list and have a discussion that focuses on specific criteria.

      6. Invite top three (3) executive search firms to present a proposal.

      7. Select an executive search firm and check references.

    • Step Two:Craft contractual agreement between GW and executive search firm.

      1. Standard template for executive search firm contractual agreements is available from OGC ([email protected]).

      2. The following GW Offices along with the Division/School and executive search firm are required to participate in the crafting of the agreement: OGC ([email protected]), Risk Management (Insurance and Contract), Division of Information Technology - Information Security and Compliance Services, Financial Director of Division/School.

      3. Route agreement via routing sheet to EVP&T or Provost for final approval.

    • Step Three: Conduct a competitive recruitment strategy meeting with the executive search firm.

      1. Ensure the executive search firm clearly understands the following:

        • The position such as the role, responsibilities, qualifications and appropriate experiences needed to succeed.

        • Institution and employee culture and Division/School culture.

        • Key marketing points of GW and Division/School.

        • Challenges and strategic goals of GW and division/school.

        • The communication style, interpersonal skills, and minimum and desired qualifications Candidates need to succeed.

      2. Ensure GW stakeholders understand the following:

        • The executive search firms Sourcing strategy and resources they utilize to locate high qualified Candidates.

        • The executive search firms Candidate screening process. Will they conduct in-person interviews? Will the executive search firm use a selection assessment tool? Voice any concerns you may have with the executive search firms screening process.

    • Step Four: Collaborate with the executive search firm on the job prospectus and GW job posting.

      1. The job prospectus (to be placed on the executive search firm’s website and other external job sites) includes a description of the institution/school/division, a biography and professional head shot of key stakeholders, job description, minimum and preferred qualifications, traits and attributes needed from successful Candidate, and instructions on how to apply.

      2. Create GW formatted job posting and post on gwu.jobs.

        • The abbreviated executive profile application can be used in PeopleAdmin.

        • To ensure required federal EEO demographic information is gathered from all Candidates, the how to apply section of the executive search firm job prospectus and the GW formatted posting must include a statement requiring applications be sent through the executive search firm website and through gwu.jobs portal.

          • For example: Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Applications, nominations, or requests for the complete job prospectus should be sent electronically via e-mail to XXXX which is conducting the national search for this position, at XXXX.com. Additionally, please complete the online application at the George Washington University: https://www.gwu.jobs

          • Best Practice: Oftentimes, Candidates may submit applications to either the executive search firm website or to the gwu.jobs portal; therefore, establish a process, such as giving the executive search firm guest user access to PeopleAdmin, to monitor Candidate submissions at both sites.

    • Step Five: Plan for Interviews.

      1. The executive search firm will help manage all aspects of Candidate interviews and will optimize the process to be efficient, discreet, productive, and engaging for all involved.

      2. Collaborate with the executive search firm to develop an interview implementation plan that answers questions such as, how many rounds of interviews will occur?

          Recruitment Resource: Résumé Review and Interview Implementation Plan (PDF)

    • Step Six: Interview.

      1. The executive search firm will present a short list of high-qualified Candidates. These Candidates would have been thoroughly assessed and interviewed by the executive search firm.

      2. The executive search firm will prepare you for the interview by discussing each Candidates résumé, qualifications, personal strengths, and their motivation for applying and level of interest in the open position.

      3. The executive search firm will provide an interview questionnaire and other interview assessment tools and resources.

      4. Conduct the interviews and narrow down the pool of Candidates.

    • Step Seven: Decision on Selected Candidate.

      1. Evaluate the interview process with the executive search firm and discuss strengths and weaknesses of each Candidate.

      2. A Selected Candidate may emerge but sometimes the executive search firm may need to go back and broaden the search.

      3. The executive search firm will coordinate a thorough professional referencing process that provides information, both positive and negative, about the Candidates.

        • Best Practice: Stay in close communication with the executive search firm during the decision making process to avoid delaying the process and risk losing Candidates.

    • Step Eight: Conclude.

      1. A Selected Candidate is identified.

      2. Work with the executive search firm on who will make the offer to the Selected Candidate. The executive search firm can assist with understanding the compensation and relocation issues most important to the Selected Candidate and help shape the most compelling offer possible for the Selected Candidate.

      3. Conclude the search (submit HP, background check, etc.) as outlined in the Competitive Recruitment Guide.

  7. Additional Resource:

      Recruitment Resource: Checklist for Working with Executive Search Firm (PDF)