Learning patterns/Hiring an ED in your organisation

A learning pattern fororganizational
Hiring an ED in your organisation
problemOffering best practices on how to go about hiring an ED for your organisation and what you should look out for.
solutionHiring an ED is often a confusing and tricky process, which makes clarifying your organisations setup and goals even more important. Focus on certain skills that your new ED should bring with them.
created on12:12, 3 March 2018 (UTC)

What problem does this solve?


Hiring an ED in your organisation is often a daunting task for volunteer board members that are not used to hiring management positions. The pressure of choosing the right person and having your choice being successful can be challenging. The pressure could also force you to become impatient and make the wrong decision, just so that you don't have to deal with this situation anymore, which only prolongs the problems in your organisation and doesn't solve them.

What is the solution?


Things to consider

  • Confidentiality is important - consider assigning two to three board members (ideally with experience in the hiring process) to conduct the hiring process and update the board in regular intervals. Staff and volunteers shouldn't be involved until you're down to a few choices that you want to interview/interact in detail with.
  • As a board, create a job description together for your ED and stick to it.
  • Consider hiring a current staff member as an ED if they fit the job description and the interview goes well.
  • The job of selecting the ED is solely up to the board. Don't outsource this decision, you were elected to do this kind of work.
  • Supervision of the hiring process should also be done by board members.
  • During the review process of the most promising candidates, get other opinions from staff (which the new ED has to work with) or EDs of other Wikimedia affiliates to weigh in. Especially the other EDs know what the tasks are and can therefore offer valuable feedback.
  • Consider carefully when to introduce the potential/new ED to your community. The setting should be appropriate and often there a good reasons for only introducing the new ED after he/she is hired.
  • Focus on the executive leadership role of your organisation, social competences and the ability to engage people. Technocrats may find it more difficult to be effective in this role in the Wikimedia community
  • As a board, be prepared to give up some of the influence and decision-making that you might have become used to.
  • Hiring an ED for the first time means a transfer of tasks and responsibilities from board to ED. This means that the role of the board should be redefined as well.

When to use

When hiring your first employee
When hiring with existing staff



See also


More info about the role of the ED on the Board Member Support page on meta, paragraph Role of ED