Over the last few weeks, largely through happenstance, I’ve become aware of 3 searches for executive directors (EDs) by well established, California-based, ocean/marine-related non-profits. Normal turnover at the ED level of non-profits is low, so for there to be searches underway for 3 such positions in the small niche of California marine non-profits strikes me as really unusual. I thought this coincidence worth noting in this blog so it’s there for everyone to see.
Also, since one of my business interests is the employment marketplace, specifically job boards, I was curious to learn more about the role of job boards in the recruitment process for each position and, more generally, how the non-profits were going about their public efforts to generate candidates.
First I did a Google search for “executive director jobs” which resulted in several high ranking, unsponsored links for the popular job aggregator, Indeed.com. At Indeed I searched on “executive director” several different ways but got generally poor results – just a few non-profit ED positions surfaced and they were mixed in with a large number of for-profit and staff jobs that had one or both of the key words, depending on my filter. No matter how broadly or narrowly I searched, I couldn’t get any of the 3 positions to turn up in the first few pages of results. I didn’t feel I was on the right track and my opinion of Indeed did indeed sink!
I then tried SimplyHired.com, an aggregator generally perceived to be slightly behind Indeed in use. However, I found SimplyHired searches provided cleaner, better results. Nonetheless, the results were empty until I searched very narrowly with terms and locations very closely associated with the targeted jobs.
At Simply Hired I eventually found these listings:
San Francisco Baykeeper – Oakland, CA
Baykeeper uses advocacy, , San Francisco Baykeeper is seeking a visionary and … strategic and operational responsibility for Baykeeper’s personnel, programs and…
30+ days ago from idealist.org
Chief Executive Officer
San Francisco Maritime National Park Association – San Francisco, CA
the members of the Association and other maritime-related organizations Excellent … Association s Board of Trustees, the Chief Executive Officer provides overall leadership…
29 days ago from Doostang
As noted earlier, SimplyHired is an aggregator which scrapes content from other job boards, which include Idealist.org and Doostang. (The Baykeeper position, in slightly different words, eventually surfaced at Indeed as well, having been scraped from OpportunityKnocks.org)
In brief, Baykeeper is 26 years old, has revenues of approx. $1 million/year, monitors San Francisco Bay, and takes action if appropriate. The San Francisco Maritime National Park Association was founded in 1950 and has revenues of approx. $2 million/year. It is a supporting organization to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and provides youth and adult programming. Since Baykeeper and the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association are likely to be known to readers of this blog, I won’t go into further detail on their activities which are of course explained on their websites.
To go to the Baykeeper ED job description on its website, click here.
To go to to the SF Maritime National Park Association CEO position description on its website, click here.
The third ED job opening is quite fresh. It is for the ED role at the Ocean Institute, which is on the water in the southern Orange County community of Dana Point (whose tagline is “Harboring the Good Life.)” Evidently the opening hasn’t yet been posted on any job board or even, as of the date of this post, to the Ocean Institute website. I noticed the news in an article a few days ago in the local paper.
For those not familiar with it, the Ocean Institute is a significant non-profit with revenues of approximately $8 million/year. It offers hands-on marine science, environmental and ocean education and maritime history programs. More than 115,000 K-12 students and 8,000 teachers annually participate in the Institute’s award-winning, immersion style programs. To learn about ocean facts, sea creatures, oceanography, science, and California history, students voyage onto the ocean, study in labs and live aboard tall ships or in the chaparral, where they can feel and taste the salty sea spray, sort through live specimens, observe migrating whales on our Dana Point whale watch cruises, collect scientific data and investigate the culture and world around them. On weekends, OI opens its doors to the public for a peek into how ocean science, history, and literature are used to inspire life-long learners.
I started this process to get a sense of the recruiting efforts for 3 visible but niche jobs, as seen by someone in the general public using standard tools. Although the sample size is probably too small from which to draw definite conclusion from, I was surprised at how much work it was to find job postings for positions I knew were open. This suggests the job market, even for “good” jobs, remains a bit haphazard and perhaps inefficient.
I do plan to continue this project and see what shows up on social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Also, because recruiting efforts can and should include other channels, such as the entity’s newsletter, staff, and board of directors members, perhaps I’ll contact the non-profits to learn more of their (non-public) efforts to source good candidates. Such contact may also reveal the use of one or more recruiting firms.
At this point, I can offer just a few practical tips on the use of job boards:
For job seekers: First, try different search approaches: narrow & wide & use different but relevant keywords. Second, try different job boards, especially those oriented toward your industry, profession, or location.
For hiring companies: Post often. Otherwise, since search results are stratified at least partly by date, as time goes on you’ll get buried.
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