Unleashing the Vitriol

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IUma_gupta06n his article "Unleashing the Vitriol" in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, Dennis Barden at the executive search firm of Witt Kieffer discusses his perspectives on the role of blogs in executive searches. "Character assassination has gotten a lot easier, leadership a lot more dangerous, and administrative searches a whole lot harder."

David shares his recent search experience about a senior administrator who was in the job market and under attack by bloggers. He focuses on the balancing act search committees must perform in order to get to the truth. The real truth. Yes, blogs cast a shadow on candidates, sometimes a long shadow. However, most search committees for senior level positions can sniff a rat.

David writes, "Whether or not accusations made on a blog are true, they undermine the effectiveness of the person under attack simply by spreading tales directly to the community. No spin. No context. And very frequently no truth. Just damage.

It is also the case that where there is smoke, there is some kind of combustion. That was true in the search discussed above. Thanks to some excellent cooperation on the part of the candidate’s former colleagues, we were able to put the accusations in the blogs into context. Yes, she had made some difficult decisions. Yes, those decisions had made some people angry. Yes, she had been a challenging employee for her former bosses. And yes, they endorsed her accomplishments and even expressed admiration for her ability to overcome considerable challenges to get the job done." End Quote.

Bottom line: Be fearless. Live courageously. Do the right thing.

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About Dr. Gupta

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the Founder and President of STEM.SMART, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the pipeline of U.S students interested in STEM careers. In addition, she is the CEO of PlanetGPA, an international student recruitment services that serves as an extension to the recruitment offices of U.S. universities.

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