Earlier this month, we hosted a webinar with our friends at Jazz HR to take a look at recruitment in the nonprofit industry. We explored the challenges of finding qualified candidates as well as some best practices for recruitment and finding passionate, mission-driven applicants. For those of you who missed it, or for those of you who would like a refresher, here’s a short recap of what we discussed.
Build your organization’s brand
The online presence of your organization is important for job seekers and other audiences interested in learning more about the work your organization does. First, you need to clarify and define your org’s values and its impact on the community it serves. With that, you’ll want to consider your different audiences, key messages, and how you communicate with them across channels. It’s important to remember that your brand is similar to your mission in that it demonstrates what makes you unique in your area and can help you stand out from peer organizations who might do similar work. To get started, ask yourself:
- Why does your organization exist?
- What are you responding to or what is the problem you are solving?
- Who do you serve?
- How do you serve them?
- Does all of the above excite people to work towards your mission?
Your organization’s brand should be a part of everything associated with your organization from your webpage, mission statement, profile on Idealist, or other sites, and social media platforms. Make sure that across these mediums, your brand is consistent. Everything from how you describe your work, to your logos and visual identity, to what words you hyphenate, to the numbers you cite to share your impact should mirror each other.
Your brand also plays a role in your office and workplace culture.
- What defines the personality, characteristics, and benefits of working in your office?
- How can you use that to help attract strong candidates, people who will be a good fit for the environment you have created in the workplace?
- Sharing positive workplace culture as part of your brand can help you build your reputation as a great place to work and garner further interest from potential job seekers.
Write engaging job descriptions
Using the right terminology, formatting clearly, and keeping your job descriptions concise and engaging will help boost visibility and attract the right candidates for your roles. This is especially important in the job market now, as many potential candidates are actually passive job seekers. A passive job seeker is defined as someone who is currently employed, does not actively seek out and apply to specific positions, but is open to hearing about new career opportunities. Given this candidate-driven market, it’s especially important that your job description rise to the top.
Here’s a sample of some best practices for writing job descriptions to help you get started:
- Write to your readers directly. Use ‘you’ instead of ‘the ideal candidate.’
- Use bullets to help keep your descriptions concise and easy to read.
- Be clear about your expectations for the role. Avoid jargon or insider terms those less familiar with your specific organization may not recognize. Remember to also spell out all acronyms.
- Separate role requirements from role preferences. Structuring these as two sections allows you to be inclusive of talent and discern between what you need to have versus what is nice to have in the role.
- Keep it short. If your ‘about the organization’ section is running long, consider directing people to learn more about your organization on your Idealist profile or website.
Additionally, check out our Support Corner article, What is SEO? (will link) to learn a little more about keeping your job descriptions and postings SEO (search engine optimization) friendly.
Leveraging the right channels
Where you post and promote your job can have a huge impact on the kinds of candidates that come your way. Here are some mediums to consider:
- Your website and social media: You’ll want to make sure you’re sharing opportunities at your organization on your website and social media channels. The online presence of your organization is important for job seekers as well as anyone interested in learning more about your work. Especially for passive job seekers, this is a helpful way to catch the eye of folks who may have found your organization based on other research or happened to see your post in their social media feeds.
- Job Boards (like Idealist): Post opportunities on sites like Idealist that are exclusively for nonprofit organizations, government, and social enterprises. For job seekers, we’re a trusted resource to find these organizations and opportunities. On the flipside, for organizations, they know given our niche in the job posting world, they can find candidates on idealist who are passionate and socially minded.
- Word of mouth and referrals: For the nonprofit industry in particular, word of mouth is a major factor for folks learning about opportunities in the sector. Sharing new roles with your network and making sure others know what kinds of skills your organization is looking for can help you bring in highly qualified candidates. An employee referral program can also be an important part of your hiring strategy as referred candidates have a higher retention rate.
We hope this summary is useful to you as you gear up for your next hires and continue to develop your own recruitment strategies. Have another idea that didn’t make our list? Share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.