When seeking a new hire, a nonprofit has concerns that may differ from a potential hire in the corporate world. Nonprofit professionals can be faced with non-traditional work hours, budget constraints and a diverse group of individuals to serve, such as donors, potential donors, corporate partners, other staffers and the individuals served by the the nonprofit.
Five things nonprofits should consider when seeking a new hire:
1. Does the Potential hire Understand the Mission
When looking for new personnel a nonprofit should seek to find staff that are invested in the mission of the organization. A hire that is invested in the mission will invest their time and energy to ensure success. A nonprofit professional will be more likely to succeed if they are determined to make a difference based on the goals of the organization. Talking to the potential hire about career aspirations, what they know about your mission and how they can help make an impact are a few insights into the potentials hire’s ability to be part of the team.
2. Does the applicant represent you?
It is the nature of nonprofits that all staff represent the mission and the organization. When interviewing the candidate, you should be looking for an individual who can speak about your mission and cultivate support for the cause. A professional should be able to speak to potential donors as well as individuals served by the nonprofit in a manner that best represents the organization. It is important that the new hire be mindful that the nonprofit's reputation is on the line anytime there is interaction with the public. Multiple interviews with current staff members, checking references and the social media presence of the applicant can help the nonprofit gain insight on how the potential applicant may present themselves.
3. Look for flexibility
A nonprofit professional will need be to be flexible. Nonprofits are faced with an ever-changing landscape of expectations. The potential hire will need to be able to refocus resources when the unexpected may occur, when goals fall short or they may need to react to a change in strategies. On occasion being flexible requires nonprofit professionals to assist other team members and re-prioritize their own tasks to help meet deadlines.
4. Is the potential Hire a problem solver?
Seeking a professional with the ability to resolve problems is essential for nonprofits. Often, they can be faced with challenges that require a wide variety of skills and perspectives to resolve setbacks with few resources. An applicant that can seek resolutions using the parameters set by and organization's budget and resources will be able to contribute to the success of the project. Asking the applicant how they have overcome challenges in previous employment is a good way to get insight into their ability to pivot directions and resolve issues.
5. be thoughtful and patient
A nonprofit should be thoughtful about their hiring decisions. Hiring the right person is the goal, so being patient and making sure that organization is gaining a long-term hire can help ensure success. Staff turnover is an expense that can be costly to an already constrained budget. A nonprofit should check all references, have as many current staff as possible interview the candidate, and consider all input about the applicant. Nonprofits are always shorthanded, when the opportunity to the grow the staff arises it can be easy to want to take on help quickly, however, hiring a professional that is not a good fit can be counterproductive and delay accomplishments.
Once all the options have been weighed and all the skills have reviewed, it is essential that you like the person your hiring. Working with a nonprofit has many wonderful benefits, but also presents significant challenges, so facing these with someone you like is important.
If you want to learn more about who to hire and the timing of that hire, download our free e-book Adding Resources, which includes step-by-step exercises to help you right-size your hire.
If you feel you're ready to go, you may be interested in a free copy of Lean Recruitment, our system for finding top talent that is already used by hundreds of nonprofits on three continents.
If you have any questions, let's find a time to talk by phone.