President Schill was hired by Board Chair Chuck Lillis after a closed search (which additionally minimized faculty input, and gave Lillis sole power to pick the one finalist.) This report from the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information is the first attempt I’ve seen to examine the consequences of such closed searches:
The most common argument for a confidential university executive search is that the school will not get the “best” candidate if it opens up the search, because good candidates would be wary about applying due to the possibility their interest in the job would be revealed to everyone. Would-be candidates are alleged to be afraid that if they apply for a job and do not get hired, that they will seem like “damaged goods” in future job pursuits, or that their interest in another job will result in retaliation at their home institutions.
… The closed searches did garner a larger percentage of chief executives than the open searches did (23.0 percent > 10.8 percent). So proponents of closed-door searches are probably correct that some sitting presidents or chancellors hesitate to risk disturbing relations back home (or to incur the embarrassment of a public rejection) by allowing themselves to be considered publicly. It’s worth noting, however, that even with a secret search, universities do not end up hiring a sitting chief executive more than three-quarters of the time.
Closed searches resulted in slightly more deans (9.7 percent > 8.5 percent) and government officials (7.3 percent > 4.6 percent) while open searches resulted in more hires from executives who were not the top executive, such as an executive vice president or provost (44.6 percent > 38.8 percent). Interestingly, the most pronounced difference between open and closed searches was in the likelihood of hiring a candidate from the business sector as opposed to someone currently working in higher education; closed searches resulted in hiring a business executive 10.6 percent of the time, while open searches produced a candidate from the business community only 1.8 percent of the time.
… Statistically, there does not appear to be support for the contention that being publicly considered for a university presidency is likely to produce severe professional harm. The most common outcome for those who sought presidencies and were not chosen is to be hired for a different presidency, which suggests there is no widespread “damaged goods” perception. Almost all of those who did not attain another presidency within a short time either remained in their current positions, secured other university executive positions, or (as with Johnson, King, Panchanathan and others) left campus for prestigious executive positions elsewhere.