Successful Hiring Practices


by Hunter Leemon, Executive Director


Sportable, an adaptive sports club in Richmond, Virginia, with a mission of creating opportunities and transforming lives of those with physical disabilities and visual impairments through sport, recently completed the process of hiring two key strategic leadership positions – Athletic Director and Development Director. As any organization knows, the hiring process can be challenging, costly, and stressful. This month, Sportable is sharing a few key strategies to help ease the hiring process and ensure your organization hires the right candidate to join your team.

First Things First: The Job Description

In crafting the job descriptions, it was vital to reach out to leadership on the Board of Directors for feedback. In addition, Sportable conducted an in-depth review of their strategic plan. Both of these key steps helped outline long-term deliverables and a “vision” for each of the positions. For the Athletic Director (AD) position, leadership examined feedback from the sport programming staff to get a better understanding of where the team needed the most support. For the Development Director position, Sportable leaned heavily on a few strategic donors to gain feedback on what they felt was needed in the position.

Because of the organization’s recent growth, it was important to overhaul both descriptions to better align with its needs and the expectations of each of these dynamic roles.


Recruiting for the AD position involved casting a very wide net – news about the opportunity went local, regional, and national. Sportable also worked with partners such as USOPC, DSUSA and health industries that know the program delivery well to help spread the word.

For the Development Director position, the recruitment focus was primarily local. The organization knew the successful candidate was going to have a good handle on philanthropy and the development environment within Richmond and the surrounding communities. Someone plugged into the community would have a head start.

Interview Process

Sportable included all of its key stakeholders in the hiring and interview process. Candidates met and interviewed with staff, board members, athletes, and an outside consultant. Involving a variety of organizational perspectives allowed everyone to have a voice in the process. In turn, it allowed the candidates to thoroughly understand the organization…..the candidates were interviewing the Sportable team just as much as Sportable was interviewing them. The organization was incredibly thorough in its interview process because each hire was of the utmost importance, and they treated both the candidates and the process with respect.

Take the time to invest in the process!

The more time and resources you put into the hiring process, the better the end result. And remember that some of your greatest assets are your people – not only your staff, but your volunteers, athletes, board members, parents, coaches, donors, etc. If people have a vested interest in the success of your organization, they will be interested in doing what they can to ensure the right candidate joins your team. Use their expertise!

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