Hiring in the social sector is often a game of waiting for funding or approval, followed by a rush to fill long open positions. Many mid level managers have had few opportunities to sit on the other side of an interview table and without formal training in nonprofit hiring, and oft-cut human resources teams, it can be a tricky road to navigate. The following are a few things to keep in mind during your next round of hiring:
- Be upfront about the salary range. Nonprofits are known for having compensation that runs on the lower end of market rates while increasingly highly educated millennials and many mid career professionals are moving into the nonprofit sector with salary expectations that may not be in line with nonprofit budgets. Avoid wasting both of your time by making the salary range and the required years of relevant experience and education clear .
- Involve professionals. There’s a reason human resources is a profession that you can receive training and certification in. There are many potential missteps, rules and regulations vary by state and county, and can also change since the last time you hired for a position. This is an area where there is tremendous value in always checking in with, running things by, and asking for the help of a human resources professional.
- Don’t ask candidates to review their resume. Use interview time to fill in the details and blanks. Ask open-ended questions about challenges, specific situations, and how skills might translate in your corporate culture. These can also be a way to help candidates understand real challenges on your team and to get an idea of their response without telling them all the issues you have at your office.
- Go with your gut. If you’re feeling wary about a candidate who is otherwise perfect, there might be a reason to think twice. If this is the case, invite them back for another interview, perhaps to meet a colleague, so you can get another perspective and see if your gut has changed one way or the other. Similarly, if you’re feeling confident about an individual who may be missing a specific skillset, you could be picking up on their eagerness for the position, willingness to learn, or other transferable skills. Don’t dismiss likeability.
- Don’t hire off of previous experience exclusively; hire off of skills and personality characteristics. If the candidate has the exact experience you’re looking for, it’s a red flag that they’re looking to move laterally into the exact same position. You instead want to see increasing responsibilities, a clear growth path, and how that ties into the role they’re interviewing for.
Stay tuned for additional tips coming shortly!
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