We’re sharing additional tips on nonprofit hiring this week. Don’t forget to take a look at our post from last month featuring our first five tips here.
- Pay attention to duration of past employment, but don’t overthink it. Its becoming increasingly common for individuals to switch positions after two years, and it tends to be more common in the nonprofit sector where it can be difficult to move up in small nonprofits where they may be no further ‘up’. If a candidate has stayed at multiple places for severely brief periods of time, then there may be something to discuss, but many individuals will have a one off that can easily be explained by returning to school, or needing to take care of a family member or child, and shouldn’t be a reason for which eliminate an otherwise qualified candidate .
- Be sure to involve their direct manager. If for whatever reason their supervisor isn’t doing the hiring, be sure to involve them in the interview process and give weight to their opinion. Being forced to work with someone you wouldn’t have otherwise hired, except for bureaucracy or thoughtlessness by hiring managers, can easily deteriorate into an unnecessarily failed hire.
- Hire for hunger. The one trait that seems to continually lead to successful placements is someone who is hungry for the job. This person is going to work hard to prove they can do it, and likely to prove they should move up. These are the individuals that will learn new skills to improve processes, cross train to fill gaps, and can reenergize entire teams with their enthusiasm for work.
- Keep in mind your team’s culture. If your office runs conservative, take note of how a candidate describes their contributions. If they are regularly highlighting innovation and risk taking in their previous roles, it’s likely that they’ll continue to do this on your team. If this isn’t a welcomed contribution, then this isn’t the best match.
- Provide feedback and thank candidates. We have all sat on the other side of the table, however long ago, and can remember wondering if we got the job, and if not, why not. Simple phrases such as a ‘we found a candidate whose experience was a better match for the job requirements’ or ‘we found a candidate who was a better fit with the team environment’ are innocuous but can certainly help alleviate the stress for candidates in the midst of job hunting. If you want to be really generous, letting a few of the top candidates know what kinds of skills or experience they were lacking for this specific role can be very helpful and leave a positive taste in the mouth of an otherwise disappointed candidate.
- Be respectful of candidate’s time and current employment situation if applicable. If you have a candidate who is confidentially looking to leave their current position, ask before calling references, or worse, chatting casually with a colleague who works at their company for some inside insight. Similarly, don’t ask candidates to drop everything in the middle of the day multiple times for interviews. Try to schedule interviews early in the morning, late in the workday, or over lunchtime so candidates currently employed can easily slip out for interviews with drawing unnecessary attention.
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