A Unicorn?

In our last message we talked about the search process from a candidate’s viewpoint.  This week we turn to nonprofit’s recruiting to find the perfect candidate. If your organization is seeking an individual to fill a position consider the following thoughts to find the ideal candidate.
Planning and Preparation
If you have an existing job description, review it prior to posting.  Engage staff in this process – get feedback, especially if it is someone who works closely with the position for which you are recruiting. Evaluate the salary and make sure it is competitive for the level you are seeking.  Take time to select the correct sites that will get you visibility.  While it is easy to use the job description to post, consider summarizing the job description so that it sells the position and the organization. No need to write about being able to lift twenty pounds unless that is an essential part of the position!
The Two-Way Street
As you plan for the search, remember that candidates are interviewing you and your organization just as much you are questioning them.  They will be looking at all aspects of your organization.  Do you have a strong, engaged board? What is your financial position?  Do employees feel connected and happy in their roles?  Be ready to answer tough questions.  Consider what those questions might be and practice answers before the interview.
The Team
While it is important to engage with some of the staff in reviewing the job description, consider when you want them involved during the interview process.  For an Executive Director or CEO search, the board typically establishes a search committee comprised of board and community members.  Staff members may not be involved in the early stages but can be introduced to or interview a final round of candidates.  Regardless, always have clear communication about the process – not the candidates. Staff will want to know how the search is progressing and it is fine to share how many candidates you are interviewing and basic information such as local versus national. 
Move it Forward!
Once you have started the process of interviewing, keep it going and don’t allow it to drag on.  There is the possibility that you might lose the candidate if you conduct multiple interviews over several weeks.  During the interview always leave time for the candidate to ask questions.  Their questions are typically very telling about their thought process. (No questions?  Then ask yourself if the candidate is really interested in the position.) Call references on your final two or three candidates. Once you are ready to offer the job to the candidate, you can then conduct background and/or drug testing checks.  Be thoughtful and courteous to the runners up.  Call them personally and quickly. (Same goes for initial round of applicants – always acknowledged that you received the application.)
If this all sounds daunting, we are here to help.  Ashley|Rountree conducted 13 searches over the last two years.  We know the local market and can recruit for all level of positions nationally.  We also conduct succession planning and coaching and should you need interim staffing, we can assist with that as well.