OUR STRATEGY                    THE FIVE PHASES                    VALUE-ADDED SERVICES


Our search strategy has been developed and refined over five decades of successful practice. We implement an efficient and inclusive process to deliver a well-qualified and diverse pool of candidates for our client’s consideration.

Complete trust and communication are essential to establishing and maintaining a full partnership with our clients. We know that every step we take reflects upon the institution we serve and we strive to represent our clients with integrity and professionalism.



Phase 1 › Needs Assessment & Marketing

Search Counsel conducts a Pre-Search Study to assess the needs of the institution by meeting with campus constituencies in focus groups, open forums, or individually, to discuss the strengths and areas of growth for both the institution and the position. The firm develops a comprehensive Executive Search Profile and advertising strategy, and implements a targeted networking and sourcing initiative.

Phase 2 › Recruitment Strategy & Candidate Management

Search Counsel implements an inclusive recruitment initiative to market the opportunity, solicit nominations, and identify outstanding prospects. The firm manages candidate communications and applications and hosts a web-based Client Resource Center, which facilitates efficient review of candidate materials and other key documents.

Phase 3 › Selection & Evaluation

Search Counsel assists the Search Committee in reviewing the entire applicant pool and identifying a group of top candidates.  The Search Committee selects a smaller group of semi-finalists to interview and subsequently invites finalists for campus visits.

Phase 4 › Finalist Due Diligence & Campus Interviews

Search Counsel conducts in-depth due diligence for each finalist, including a full background check and extensive reference checks.  Search Counsel assists the Search Committee in planning the campus interviews.  Home campus visits and psychological assessments are additional options for due diligence the Search Committee may consider.

Phase 5 › Appointment & Closure

Search Counsel meets with the Search Committee to review the due diligence and the results of the campus interviews.  Search Counsel provides a recommended compensation report to the hiring authority, and assists in extending the offer upon request. Search Counsel stays in contact with the hiring authority and the incumbent to ensure a smooth transition.


Institutions conducting their own searches often are challenged by identifying and attracting two elusive groups of prospective candidates: 1) those who are unaware of the opportunity, and 2) those individuals who are aware, but will not apply or accept nominations due to concern vis-à-vis confidentiality.

 Service 1› Developing the Candidate Pool

RHPA will work with the search committee to develop a tailored, all-inclusive recruitment process that ensures confidentiality, draws together the institution’s constituencies, and creates a mandate for the new leader. RHPA will review the marketing materials provided by the institution and, once approved, advertise the opportunity and conduct sourcing and outreach initiatives to reach a diverse audience.

We design and implement a nationwide, all-inclusive sourcing initiative to identify outstanding prospects that may not be aware of the opportunity. As part of this initiative, we include individuals from our proprietary database, comprised of top candidates from searches the firm has conducted, as well as other outstanding individuals whose careers we have tracked.

The search team is prepared to meet with the committee upon request, and will be available to the committee chair by telephone and email to answer questions throughout the course of the recruitment. Our website will host a confidential Client Resource Center (CRC) for the engagement, which provides the committee a convenient and efficient way to review candidate materials and, if requested, the finalist due diligence.

Search committee members may access the CRC at any time to read, print and download any of the candidate information. The CRC has password-protected access that is made available to each member of the Search Committee.

Service 2› Screening of Top Candidates

Based upon the requisite skills and qualifications sought for the position, RHPA will evaluate the entire applicant pool and identify a minimum of five top candidates for presentation to the search committee. As part of this screening, we create dossiers for each top candidate, which include:

  •  Written candidate interview summary;

  •  Written preliminary reference check summary; and,

  •  Written preliminary internet screen.

 Service 3› Finalist Due Diligence: Background Screening and Reference Checking

At the request of the search committee, our team will conduct both given and non-given reference checks for each finalist; typically five to six references are necessary to ensure that a candidate is qualified and has a professional and personal reputation that is above reproach and is felt to be a good fit for both the position and the institution. The team provides written reference reports for the committee to access from the CRC. We also verify terminal degrees, screen publications and perform publicity checks through Lexis-Nexis, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and other venues and present summary documents for each of these checks on the CRC.

In addition, we will retain a background screening company that is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) to conduct background checks of federal, state, and county civil and criminal public records, driver’s license abstracts, and pre-employment credit checks.  We investigate and resolve any “red flags” that may arise, and report results verbally to the committee.