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A Quick Guide to Hiring and Interviewing (part 1 of 2)

Posted Nov 16, 2022 04:24 PM
Most leaders will agree that the engines moving them forward are their people. So, making smart hiring decisions is critical. Although all businesses have recruitment challenges (especially in the current turnover environment), nonprofits often have unique staffing issues that make it more difficult for them to find and retain exceptional talent.

This quick guide will help you design effective hiring and onboarding processes to identify, recruit, and hire the talent you need to meet your mission and serve the community you support.

Preparing for the Hiring Process

Rather than diving right into assessing resumes and interviewing candidates, take time to review your needs and the strategy you use for attracting and hiring the right talent.

Consider questions such as: What qualities and skills must this person possess to be successful and help your business grow? Will the position be full-time, part-time, employee, or independent contractor? What pay range and benefits can you offer?

Then, review the relevant job description and update it as necessary. When crafting a job description, you need to be both accurate and purposeful. In addition to adhering to all legal requirements, such as avoiding discrimination in the hiring process, you should also make the post informative and inviting.

For example, to attract the right candidates, provide engaging information about your organization, including your mission, culture, and values. Use specific language to make sure candidates of different physical and cognitive abilities aren’t excluded or feel like they have to “hide” that part of themselves out of fear of being rejected.

With these fundamentals in place, you are now ready to focus on advertising your open position and finding the ideal candidate.

Advertising Your Open Position

Once you have a job description ready, you’ll need to take steps to get it in front of the most qualified applicants. If you don’t advertise your open position, you run the risk of a weak (or entirely absent) applicant pool.

Likely, you’re already posting the job description on a handful of online job boards and media outlets that focus on the audience you want to reach. However, for your search to be as effective as possible, you should:

  • Be thoughtful about where you advertise the opening. Demonstrate your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion not only in your workplace description but by the outlets you choose to promote the job opportunity. It’s not enough to say, “We don’t discriminate.” Employers need to demonstrate that they truly believe that.
  • Create an employee referral program. Offer an incentive to current staff who recommend successful, high-quality candidates.
  • Leverage your community of trusted colleagues for potential employee referrals. Let them know you are seeking a new team member and the specifics of the role.
  • Encourage connections to share the job listing with their network of friends and acquaintances on social media. LinkedIn is a great channel for this, but other social networks can also be effective.

That being said, take recommendations with a grain of salt. With every applicant, whether they find the position on a job board or are referred by an existing staff member, always review their completed application before moving them forward in the process.

Reviewing Applications

You can save both yourself and your applicants time by keeping the initial application short and concise. A simple cover letter and resume can be an effective first step in assessing and weeding out inappropriate or unqualified candidates. When reviewing resumes and cover letters, look to answer the following questions:

  • Is their application tailored to your organization or a generic letter?
  • Does the applicant meet the required qualifications and experience?
  • Do the materials follow the "standards of your industry?"
  • Do they show a passion for the field and role?
  • What is the applicant looking for in their next job?
  • Are there unexplained gaps in employment or decreasing responsibility?

Often, a quick skim of the application materials with attention to these questions can tell you either if a candidate is a wrong fit for the role or if they’re ready for the next stage of the hiring process: The interview.

Meet the Candidates

Finally, the interview stage is where you fill in the blanks, digging deeper into a candidate’s experience and assessing how their skills and achievements satisfy the position. When developing interview questions, it can be helpful to involve stakeholders such as department heads, key volunteers, or even program clients. Questions that focus on how a candidate handled past situations or would respond to proposed scenarios can provide great insight.

These exchanges also give you the opportunity to get a better sense of each candidate and determine if they are a “good fit” for your organization. You might also want to go beyond the present and consider how this candidate may help you get to the next level, evolving your work environment for the better.

Right now, it is a job-seeker’s market, and the competition for talent is intense. So while candidates need to put their best foot forward, organizations need to make themselves stand out, and the hiring phase is where an applicant forms their first impression of your organization. Just as you are using the hiring process to decide if you want to work with a candidate, they too are deciding if they want to work with you.

About the Author: Jill Krumholz

Jill brings to RealHR Solutions experience as a business owner, executive search consultant, and corporate HR professional. Throughout her career, she has had the ability to build strong relationships, identify client needs, and help companies find solutions. As a search professional, she used these strengths to source and identify talent. Before joining RealHR, Jill was a Principal at Charleston Partners, a global executive search and talent advisory firm for Fortune 500 companies. She was also a Partner at Hayden Resource and previously founded her own search firm. Her prior HR experience includes the retail and healthcare industries.

Jill holds a Masters in Industrial Social Work from Fordham University and a B.A. from CUNY City College. She is currently an active member of The Society of Human Resources Management both nationally and locally.