Hook, Line, & Offer: How to Catch and Keep Your Top Talent

Today, more than ever, job seekers find themselves in the driver’s seat.

This candidate-driven market is powerfully changing the way organizations must attract, recruit, and retain their top talent. In this piece we give you our best advice on how to more effectively attract talent, and keep them at your organization.

Attraction: As a hiring entity, it is extremely important to communicate your organization’s dedication to your mission and enthusiastically describe your workplace culture to desirable candidates. Employees need to know they are entering a healthy, engaging, and driven workplace, and likewise they are heavily tuned in to the ways in which you are driving your mission forward, and portraying yourself to donors and members.

The most effective ways to attract potential candidates is through your job postings, social media pages, and organization’s website. In this digitally-reliant age, your organization’s presence on these platforms is a critical factor of captivating the talent you seek.

Here are a few questions to consider: Once job seekers visit your website or LinkedIn page, how easy is it for them to locate your job postings? Regarding those postings, do your position descriptions strategically and effectively appeal to your ideal candidates? Are you aware of the most popular methods job seekers are using to locate job postings?

These questions need to be more than a consideration, as they will help you create a compelling, concrete action plan around how to recruit your top talent. If you don’t, your competitor will.

Recruitment: Does it take your organization longer than 30 days to fill a job opening for your entry to mid-level positions? Or longer than 60 days to fill your Director and Executive level roles? If you answered YES to either of these, chances are that you need to look into your hiring process and reevaluate the steps you’ve been following. After 30 days of radio silence from your organization, candidates are likely to lose interest in your opportunity. If these candidates are actively job searching, they will secure another position with an organization that showed greater commitment to a streamlined hiring process.


Your mission is crucial.  Your staff is vital.
Need staff urgently?  Request nonprofit talent now.


So, when it comes to hiring in today’s market, what are considered best practices?

Today, as candidates gain greater leverage in the market, many organizations experience the shared challenge of losing talent to more competitive salary ranges.

As presented in our CNP Academy: Salary Negotiations Workshop, employers can present more attractive benefits packages, increased vacation time, and more flexible schedules to get in their candidates’ good graces – all without having to break the bank. As we’ve so frequently observed, candidates now exhibit an increased desire for different benefits, like telecommuting from home and obtaining professional certifications supplemented by their employer. So, if your budget can’t satisfy a $10,000 salary increase for your dream candidate, make sure your benefits package advertises other attractive features.

Before scheduling interviews with potential candidates, employers must be clear with themselves on what steps they will take in the process, as well as the places they are willing to bend and shake when it comes to salary, benefits, and “perks” offered. In short, plan ahead.

Here are the major things to consider: How many rounds of interviews will you conduct? What is your target date to fill a position? How much more in salary can you offer to your dream candidate? If that candidate wants additional vacation time, are you in a position to offer them those 4 additional days? Answer these questions and take action in advance, and you increase your chances of acquiring and keeping your top talent.

“…keeping your staff happily engaged can lead to significantly lower turnover rates.”

Staff Engagement and Retention: Whether you already have your dream team or you are looking to hire new employees, keeping your staff happily engaged can lead to significantly lower turnover rates. In order to create a foolproof retention strategy, organizations must answer these essential questions: Do you create opportunities for staff to easily access their managers in a time of challenge or frustration? When they do connect with managers, are those managers invested in hearing about a staff member’s career and salary goals?

It is equally important to make time and space for these conversations with your employees as it is in an effort to secure your next major donor. A disengaged staff can significantly jeopardize your bottom line, donor relations, and the overall health of your organization.

Success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics.

While all of this may seem daunting (and sometimes it truly can be), it is times like these that we as employers must remember that ever-present principle that success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics. There ARE measures that nonprofits can (and do) implement to maintain a level- headed, positive work environment for everyone, no matter what change or transition comes your way.

As highlighted in our Resilience Advantage Workshop, organizations that embrace challenge and stay calm and solution-focused are undoubtedly winning in today’s “War on Talent”.

So, when your staff experiences a bump in the road, no matter how large – don’t forget these best practices. By promoting your mission, strategically marketing your opportunities, listening to your staff, and remaining resilient through it all, you will set yourself and your team up for many successful years ahead.

Your mission is crucial.  Your staff is vital.
Need staff quickly?  Request nonprofit talent now.

News, Nonprofit Staffing