Executive Talent Search & Digital Marketing for Mission-Driven Organizations | Recruitment After Scandal or Organizational Challenges

Recruitment After Scandal or Organizational Challenges

Over the years, I’ve witnessed firsthand how organizations encounter various trials, from public scandals to internal upheavals such as major layoffs or financial troubles. When these events occur, board members and executives often fear that they won’t be able to attract top-tier talent for leadership positions. If this is you, don’t worry – you will be able to find the best candidate. But it is crucial to approach this inflection point with the right mindset and actions.

In this week’s discussion, I want to share some vital advice for organizations who have recently faced or are currently facing such challenges, focusing on how to approach executive recruitment with honesty, resilience, and strategic foresight.

1. Embrace Transparency with Potential Candidates

When your organization is undergoing a challenging period, whether it is due to a scandal, financial challenges, or other setbacks, the first step in the recruitment process is to be honest with your candidates about the situation. It’s crucial to demonstrate that your organization acknowledges the issues at hand and is committed to resolving them. Transparency is key—not only does it set the stage for trust, but it also underscores a commitment to integrity and improvement.

Avoid the temptation to hide or downplay the issues. Candidates should come into the role with a clear understanding of the challenges they will be facing. This openness will not only prepare them for the job ahead but also filter out those who might not be equipped to handle the situation. Candidates will inevitably find out the full story once they start – at this point, if you haven’t been honest and screened out the ill-equipped, your new hire will leave anyways. Remember, you are looking for a leader who is not just aware of the reality but is ready and able to guide your organization forward.

2. Seek Candidates Who Thrive on Challenges

It’s natural to fear that honesty might deter top talent from applying. However, it’s crucial to recognize that the kind of leader who will excel in a crisis will not shy away from a challenge. You are looking for someone who is battle-hardened and challenge-motivated, individuals who see the complexities of the situation as a call to action, not a deterrent.

Every period in an organization’s growth calls for a specific type of leader. There are candidates (who are otherwise very qualified) who will be turned away by your transparency, but those are not the leaders that this particular time and circumstance demands.

The right leader will not only accept the challenge but will be driven by the opportunity to make a significant impact. They possess a proactive mindset, focusing on solutions and innovations to lead the organization out of turmoil. By being upfront, you ensure that the candidates who come through are those who are genuinely prepared and eager to help navigate the organization through its current trials and beyond.

3. This Too Shall Pass

No organization, whether for-profit or nonprofit, is immune to trials. You are not the first to endure a sex scandal, fraud, or financial mismanagement – and you will certainly not be the last. What distinguishes successful organizations from those that falter is not the absence of challenges but the ability to address them effectively. You only get one chance, and the circumstance demands that you act honestly and decisively.

Encourage a perspective within your organization and among your stakeholders that sees these challenges as opportunities for transparency and to create the foundation for significant improvement and growth. The key is not just in overcoming these obstacles but in emerging stronger and more resilient than before. The right leader will see the value in this journey and will be motivated by the chance to partake in shaping a robust future for the organization.


As you move forward with hiring your next executive leader – be transparent, seek resilience, and view your challenges as stepping stones to greater achievements. The right leader will not only understand the importance of these attributes but will be eager to bring their expertise and energy to bear on your organization’s unique situation.

About Us

If you want to discuss how to hire top-tier leaders after your organization has faced a serious challenge, reach out to me at sshah@ManevaGroup.com. We will schedule a no-cost, no obligation 30-minute consultation to discuss how to meet your goals.
Maneva Group is a woman and minority owned national Executive Search firm focusing on the social sector, with expertise in completely managing the recruiting process, curating diverse and exceptionally qualified candidate pools, and advising C-suite executives and board members through crucial hiring decisions.

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