Leadership Selection

Selecting the right leaders for the mission.

The need for high-caliber leadership in growing. How can we make sure we select the right people for these vital leadership roles? The Leadership Selection Process is an open and fair process used by organizations to ensure that all suitable candidates for key leadership positions are considered, screened, and selected in a way that is honoring and effective. This model assumes internal candidates are the predominant focus, but can be adapted to include external applicants as well.

This is inherently a spiritual exercise for both your organization and the potential candidates who are all seeking God’s direction and provision for the right person for the leadership role.

Step 1

Listing Candidates
Collect a list of potential candidates who seem to meet the set criteria and whose names were submitted by leadership, team members, and other stakeholders. Edit the list of potential candidates resulting in a shortlist of the 3–5 most suitable candidates. Invite the candidates to enter the selection process.

Step 2

Gathering Information
Request references and any other pertinent information for each of the shortlisted candidates then set up preliminary interviews with them. Review the information gathered through references and interviews to determine which candidate(s) appears to be most suitable for the role. Submit a summary of the information to the leadership team who will make the final decision.

Step 3

Selecting the Leader
If further information or clarification is needed, conduct follow-up interviews with the candidates. After prayer and consideration of the summary report, select the most suitable candidate. Invite the candidate to take the role, giving appropriate time for reflection and prayer. Upon acceptance of the role, finalize the details of the transition process.

Listing Candidates

During the Listing Candidates step, we are seeking to generate a shortlist of potential candidates who may be qualified for the vacant leadership role. To do this, we first need to determine the qualifications, skills, and experience required for the role. This will come initially from the existing Job Description, but should probably be revised. To do this, we have included an “Identifying Leadership Needs Worksheet” that will help you look at the competencies required of the new leader, to fulfill the role effectively.

You will want to invite appropriate people to suggest nominations for the role. Determining who should be involved in this process is often complicated, but wherever possible, as wide a group as possible should be asked. As well as the appropriate senior leadership team, the team that the new leader will oversee should be consulted. There are also a number of other peers to the new leader and internal partners that may add great wisdom. We have included a Nominations Request Sheet that you may want to send to the stakeholders involved in creating this pool of potential leaders. Always remember to give a deadline for the return of nominations.

As a leadership team, you may have already used a tool such as the Staff Tracking Summary Sheet as part of a succession planning process. This source of background information will also be extremely helpful in determining the pool of candidates.

When the list of potential leaders has been compiled, you will hopefully have a large pool of potential leaders to consider. At this stage, you will want to consult with other relevant leaders to carefully and prayerfully narrow the list down to between 3 and 5 candidates that most closely match the criteria and competencies you have identified.

When the relevant leaders have agreed, the candidates should be approached and asked to enter the selection process.

Key Tools:

Identifying Leadership Needs Worksheet

Nominations Request Sheet

Staff Tracking Summary Sheet

Gathering Information

The Gathering Information step is central to ensuring an accurate picture is completed of each of the possible candidates. This step starts with references being taken up for each of the candidates. There may be others that are pertinent, but we’d recommend you take up references from:

  • their current team leader
  • one or two teammates
  • one or two direct reports

In a Christian organization where the wellbeing of the family is also a key factor, a more informal reference or discussion with the candidate’s spouse may also be helpful. We have included sample reference questions you may want to use.

These references should be collected, evaluated and summarized before any interviews take place. We have included sample interview questions for you to use. Interviews are always best carried out face to face, but where this is not possible, video conferencing is more effective than just audio. 

There are many personality, psychometric, and other assessment tools that can help add knowledge of the candidates to this process. Care needs to be taken that any assessments used have been validated for the purpose of assessing people for new roles.

Once all the information from references, interviews, assessments, and any other biographical detail has been gathered for each of the candidates, you, along with other appropriate members of the leadership, will prayerfully determine which candidate(s) appears to be most qualified or appropriate for the role.

For most organizations, this information and recommendation are submitted to the senior leadership team who will make the final decision. A Candidate Summary Sheet has been provided for this purpose.

Key Tools:

Reference Questions

Interview Questions

Candidate Summary Sheet

Selecting the Leader

It is not uncommon to find that as you get to the step of Selecting a Leader, you actually find that you need more information. Sometimes this can be missing biographical information, but often it can be details that require a follow-up interview with one or more candidates. We have included some of the more usual follow-up questions in the sample interview questions resource. Budgeting extra time in the process is really helpful to ensure you don’t rush a decision because of time pressures.

The necessary information on the candidates should by this point have been included on the Candidate Summary Sheet from the previous step. To ensure the best fit, you may also need to revisit the Leadership Tracking Summary Card, Job Description and Role Competency Map (also used in the Listing Candidates step). When you are content that all the relevant information has been gathered then, again prayerfully, work through the summary report and consider who the most suitable candidate would be. Their competency, their “fit” in the team, and their availability, as well as your own spiritual discernment, will all be factors.

When you are all comfortable with the decision, the successful candidate should be invited to take up the role. Depending on the unexpectedness of the appointment and the amount of change involved, the candidate should be given an appropriate period of time for reflection and prayer, before being required to give a response.

Once the candidate has accepted the position, work needs to begin on the Leader Transition Process, including the timeline for transition and any developmental needs they may have.  Careful thought also needs to be given to how the decision is to be announced and the sequencing of the order in which key stakeholders should find out. If you don’t oversee the sequencing, Facebook will probably do it for you!

For good people-management and in case questions are asked later, all materials related to the process should be archived to preserve a record of the process.

By clicking the links below, you will be able to download the key tools you will need for the Leadership Selection Process. For further help in making the most of these tools, have a look at the explanations and other resources in the resources for facilitators. 

The resources particularly focus on implementation within an organization like Campus Crusade for Christ, so some adaptation may be required in order to ‘fit’ with organizational cultures and structures outside of CCCI.

Leadership Selection Process Overview

Key Tools:

Identifying Leadership Needs Worksheet

Nominations Request Sheet

Staff Tracking Summary Sheet

Reference Questions

Interview Questions

Candidate Summary Sheet

Resources for Facilitators

Facilitators User Guide – a complete overview of the selection and transition processes

Leadership Selection Process Flowchart – for those who want it visually!

Using Job Descriptions – an article taken from Global LDHR’s resource “Your First 100 days in LDHR”.  Please get in touch for further information about this resource.

We’d love your feedback, so do let us know of other related resources that would be helpful to you. Contact: info@LeaderTransitions.org

Listing Candidates

During the Listing Candidates step, we are seeking to generate a shortlist of potential candidates who may be qualified for the vacant leadership role. To do this, we first need to determine the qualifications, skills, and experience required for the role. This will come initially from the existing Job Description, but should probably be revised. To do this, we have included an “Identifying Leadership Needs Worksheet” that will help you look at the competencies required of the new leader, to fulfill the role effectively.

You will want to invite appropriate people to suggest nominations for the role. Determining who should be involved in this process is often complicated, but wherever possible, as wide a group as possible should be asked. As well as the appropriate senior leadership team, the team that the new leader will oversee should be consulted. There are also a number of other peers to the new leader and internal partners that may add great wisdom. We have included a Nominations Request Sheet that you may want to send to the stakeholders involved in creating this pool of potential leaders. Always remember to give a deadline for the return of nominations.

As a leadership team, you may have already used a tool such as the Staff Tracking Summary Sheet as part of a succession planning process. This source of background information will also be extremely helpful in determining the pool of candidates.

When the list of potential leaders has been compiled, you will hopefully have a large pool of potential leaders to consider. At this stage, you will want to consult with other relevant leaders to carefully and prayerfully narrow the list down to between 3 and 5 candidates that most closely match the criteria and competencies you have identified.

When the relevant leaders have agreed, the candidates should be approached and asked to enter the selection process.

Key Tools:

Identifying Leadership Needs Worksheet

Nominations Request Sheet

Staff Tracking Summary Sheet

Gathering Information

The Gathering Information step is central to ensuring an accurate picture is completed of each of the possible candidates. This step starts with references being taken up for each of the candidates. There may be others that are pertinent, but we’d recommend you take up references from:

  • their current team leader
  • one or two teammates
  • one or two direct reports

In a Christian organization where the wellbeing of the family is also a key factor, a more informal reference or discussion with the candidate’s spouse may also be helpful. We have included sample reference questions you may want to use.

These references should be collected, evaluated and summarized before any interviews take place. We have included sample interview questions for you to use. Interviews are always best carried out face to face, but where this is not possible, video conferencing is more effective than just audio. 

There are many personality, psychometric, and other assessment tools that can help add knowledge of the candidates to this process. Care needs to be taken that any assessments used have been validated for the purpose of assessing people for new roles.

Once all the information from references, interviews, assessments, and any other biographical detail has been gathered for each of the candidates, you, along with other appropriate members of the leadership, will prayerfully determine which candidate(s) appears to be most qualified or appropriate for the role.

For most organizations, this information and recommendation are submitted to the senior leadership team who will make the final decision. A Candidate Summary Sheet has been provided for this purpose.

Key Tools:

Reference Questions

Interview Questions

Candidate Summary Sheet

Selecting the Leader

It is not uncommon to find that as you get to the step of Selecting a Leader, you actually find that you need more information. Sometimes this can be missing biographical information, but often it can be details that require a follow-up interview with one or more candidates. We have included some of the more usual follow-up questions in the sample interview questions resource. Budgeting extra time in the process is really helpful to ensure you don’t rush a decision because of time pressures.

The necessary information on the candidates should by this point have been included on the Candidate Summary Sheet from the previous step. To ensure the best fit, you may also need to revisit the Leadership Tracking Summary Card, Job Description and Role Competency Map (also used in the Listing Candidates step). When you are content that all the relevant information has been gathered then, again prayerfully, work through the summary report and consider who the most suitable candidate would be. Their competency, their “fit” in the team, and their availability, as well as your own spiritual discernment, will all be factors.

When you are all comfortable with the decision, the successful candidate should be invited to take up the role. Depending on the unexpectedness of the appointment and the amount of change involved, the candidate should be given an appropriate period of time for reflection and prayer, before being required to give a response.

Once the candidate has accepted the position, work needs to begin on the Leader Transition Process, including the timeline for transition and any developmental needs they may have.  Careful thought also needs to be given to how the decision is to be announced and the sequencing of the order in which key stakeholders should find out. If you don’t oversee the sequencing, Facebook will probably do it for you!

For good people-management and in case questions are asked later, all materials related to the process should be archived to preserve a record of the process.

By clicking the links below, you will be able to download the key tools you will need for the Leadership Selection Process. For further help in making the most of these tools, have a look at the explanations and other resources in the resources for facilitators. 

The resources particularly focus on implementation within an organization like Campus Crusade for Christ, so some adaptation may be required in order to ‘fit’ with organizational cultures and structures outside of CCCI.

Leadership Selection Process Overview

Key Tools:

Identifying Leadership Needs Worksheet

Nominations Request Sheet

Staff Tracking Summary Sheet

Reference Questions

Interview Questions

Candidate Summary Sheet

Resources for Facilitators

Facilitators User Guide – a complete overview of the selection and transition processes

Leadership Selection Process Flowchart – for those who want it visually!

Using Job Descriptions – an article taken from Global LDHR’s resource “Your First 100 days in LDHR”.  Please get in touch for further information about this resource.

We’d love your feedback, so do let us know of other related resources that would be helpful to you. Contact: info@LeaderTransitions.org

Related Resources

Not sure where to go from here? Take a look at some of the other Processes Resources that are available to you. 

Featured Tools

Introducing you to the foundational tools of LDHR. 

Staff Standards

Articulating what it takes to be a staff member of CCCI

The Purpose and Practice of Policy

The reasons we have them and how to write them

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