Hiring the Right Candidates for Nonprofits (Part 1)

by sysop in About Us

Now Hiring

by Liz Hine

Even in a tough economy, hiring the right people can be a challenge. As an organization, sometimes it is hard to know where to start. Here are some helpful tips for starting the search process:

1. Define what you’re looking for – Try to think beyond the basic skills and tasks you need accomplished and consider what a successful candidate would bring to the table.

2. Think beyond a title or a certain skill-set – The right person can make a bigger impact than you can ever imagine. In a status-driven place like D.C., you have to concentrate on looking past status symbols, like schools and previous employers, and consider what value they have created in those places.

3. Character is important – Do their values line up with those of the organization? Is this candidate someone who might be around for a few years or jump ship quickly? Does this candidate have a dedicated track record of making character-based, rather than convenience-based, decisions?

4. Creating a job description – Beyond the basic responsibilities and qualifications, also articulate:

a. How well candidates need to know and align with your organization’s mission – not every role will require a qualified expert on your mission. Be realistic about what you need for this specific role.

b. Talk about your company culture and values.

c. Be clear about what materials you would like to see in the application – Do you want a Cover Letter? What should it include?

5. Prepare your interview team – The first impression many people will have of your organization is how you treat people in an interview. Brief your interviewers about the role and your vision for what a successful candidate might look like. Interviews are two-way conversations. Make sure all interviewers feel comfortable interviewing and selling your organization and this role to candidates.

6. Don’t forget your personal and professional networks – Once you’re ready for your search, ask your current staff to reach out to their networks and see if any of their contacts are interested in the role. The best candidates are often people who are already indirectly connected to your organization.

These remarks were originally posted on Free The Future on September 13, 2012.