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Talent Published Date, 2019

Nonprofit Recruitment Trends And Best Practices For Talent Acquisition

Created By: Shaby Rosales, Becca Bennett, and Alison Bishop
September 25, 2019

Due to the high demand for development leadership and a shrinking talent pipeline across the nonprofit sector, many organizations struggle to attract and retain senior level development staff. Additionally, organizations often do not invest in the resources necessary to maintain a robust talent pipeline.

When conducting a recruitment search, nonprofit organizations often contend with budgetary constraints, making it difficult to attract and hire suitably qualified staff. To help you find the right talent without compromising your budget, we’ve outlined five best practices to ensure nonprofit organizations appropriately attract and qualify top talent during the hiring process:

1. Take stock in staff vacancies to ensure that open positions remain aligned with organizational goals. Staff attrition can be viewed as a useful opportunity to assess the successes and challenges among your organization’s team. This review will allow leadership to identify any skill gaps across the organization and determine whether they should fill a vacant position or modify role requirements to better align with your organization’s priorities. Staff are most successful when they have clear roles and responsibilities. The same is true for your job candidates. Take time to conduct a position evaluation in order to determine the value of the open role, the appropriate staff level to hire, and the required skill sets. A clearly articulated job description allows candidates to determine if they can meet the requirements of the job before submitting their resume and helps hiring managers sort through the applicant pool to remain focused on hiring priorities.

2. Attract candidates whose experience aligns with your mission and goals. Hiring individuals who are intrinsically motivated by your organization’s mission will lead to increased retention and productivity. Attracting the right people to your organization begins with the marketing and communication of your brand to potential job seekers.

Implementing a social media strategy is also critical in reaching your target audience and inspiring candidates about the work you do. Social platforms enable employers to proactively identify and engage with potential candidates. According to research conducted by LinkedIn, 75% of job seekers research a company’s culture and reputation before applying for an open position. It is important that anything your organization puts on the internet is attractive to both active and passive job seekers.

3. Anticipate future hiring needs and build a talent pipeline. Keep in mind that the annual budgeting process is not the only time to be thinking about your hiring needs. It is commonly accepted that the average tenure for senior level development staff is 12-18 months. Anticipate when you will need to fill a certain position or add to your existing team structure so that you are prepared when the time comes.

Recruiting is an ongoing process and you should be proactively connecting with potential candidates year-round. Build a talent pipeline of qualified, passive candidates who may be a fit for future roles. Even if you don’t have a job to offer, continue to connect with potential candidates to ensure you have qualified individuals when a vacancy arises. Be transparent about staffing needs, show a genuine interest in their career aspirations, and regularly check-in with them via phone or email.

4. Enhance the candidate experience. A candidate’s perception of an organization is shaped through each interaction from sourcing to onboarding. The more positive experience candidates have during the recruiting process, the more likely they are to accept an offer, consider your organization for future opportunities, or refer others.

Negative candidate experiences can be costly to your organization’s reputation and hiring efforts. It is important to continually update your candidates throughout the recruiting process—whether you are moving forward with them or not. Consider implementing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or cloud recruiting software to automate the recruiting process and more efficiently facilitate communication.

5. Expand recruiting efforts to bolster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Organizations must recognize and embrace the diversity among today’s workforce to remain competitive in the job market. Aside from ensuring federal compliance, countless studies have proven that cultivating varying perspectives enhances employee engagement, innovation, productivity and performance. Nonprofits should especially take the lead on promoting equal employment opportunities in order to elevate the sector as a whole and enhance connection among staff and the communities that they serve.

Conduct an assessment on where your organization stands with diversity, equity and inclusion today. Educate your staff on how and why you must establish a more inclusive environment and create a strategic plan with measurable goals integrated with the rest of your organization’s priorities.

Orr Group understands that our clients must prioritize and invest in mission-critical activity, but we also recognize that an organization’s greatest asset is its people. In order to allow our clients to stay focused on advancing their mission, Orr Group provides a suite of talent acquisition and management services to help attract the right talent pool, vet and qualify candidates, and support staff during onboarding to promote staff retention and long-term success.

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