Why What You Don’t Talk About Matters Part I: Prep for the Hiring Process

I don’t know about your house, but in my house we are currently on a major Encanto kick. Right now, we listen to “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” pretty much on constant repeat. In fact, we listen to the Encanto soundtrack so much that my 7-year-old daughter recently said to me, “Mom, I know it says we DON’T talk about Bruno — but really, all we DO is talk about Bruno!” 

Hiring Process Success Begins Before Posting the Job Description

She definitely has a point — a universal point, in fact. As soon as she said it, I immediately started thinking about how often the things we don’t want to talk about during the hiring process quickly become the only things we talk about once we realize that the hire is not going to work out. 

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At Careers In Nonprofits, we see it all the time with our clients when they begin the hiring process to backfill or add a position in their organization. Our team of experienced nonprofit recruiters knows firsthand that the success of the hire starts well before posting the job description. It’s important to thoroughly discuss strategy, the current state of the business, and a slew of other relevant details to not only find the best candidate — but also ensure that the things we don’t talk about don’t suddenly become all we talk about after making the hire.

Factors to Consider When Strategizing for Hiring Success at Your Nonprofit

Unfortunately, many organizations feel they don’t have the time to have these discussions and prepare for a successful hiring process, especially when backfilling a position. Turnover can happen at any time, and often leaders aren’t aware they will need to replace an employee until after they have given their notice. And while succession planning absolutely helps, it’s often not enough to prevent significant personnel gaps when someone leaves the company. As a result, nonprofit organizations can find themselves operating in crisis mode, hiring under pressure to find a replacement as quickly as possible. 

At CNP Staffing, our team of expert nonprofit recruiters understands that hiring under pressure can lead to missed hiring opportunities. Two of the biggest missed opportunities we often see include: 

Not Updating the Job Description

Many hiring managers assume they can dust off and reuse the same job description to fill the role of the person they are attempting to replace. Yes, the job title may be the same now as it was then. However, the job itself could have changed significantly since the position was last filled.

As a leading nonprofit consulting firm, Careers In Nonprofits recommends preparing for the hiring process by carefully reviewing and reevaluating the old job description before posting it. Strategically assess the role, determine the qualifications and skills needed, and determine the everyday duties that the candidate will perform. Our nonprofit recruiters suggest starting by identifying what will take up most of their time — and list everything that follows after that. 

Beyond how the job has changed, you’ll also want to discuss how the organization has changed. Talk about new company goals and objectives that have been established since the last time you hired for that position. Discuss how the nonprofit mission has evolved. Having these conversations prior to starting the search can help ensure you’re prepared to find the right candidate who is equipped to further your organization’s vision. 

Accommodating the Job to the Candidate

Another commonly missed hiring opportunity is the tendency to bend the job around the candidate. Often, hiring managers go into the process with some preconceived notions about the right candidate for the position based on the employee who most recently held the job. They believe that they should look for a candidate who is either just like the current employee — or the exact opposite. As a result, when they find an applicant who checks those particular boxes, they will bend the job to suit their skillset or assume the candidate will eventually grow into the job requirements. 

Unfortunately, bending the job requirements or assuming an applicant will grow into the job can both lead to a hiring misfire. Yes, candidates can absolutely stretch their skill set over time to become a better fit for a position. However, it’s important to have the necessary internal conversations in advance to know what the team is willing to do to mentor the person into the job over time. Not taking the time to talk about what skills you’re willing to compromise on in advance can lead to spending far too much time discussing frustration over the candidate’s performance once they come on board and are unable to quickly come up to speed.

Get the Hiring Process Checklist

We’ve put together a Prep for the Hiring Process Checklist to ensure that your nonprofit organization understands some of the most important initial steps needed when sourcing new talent. Complete this form and we'll send you the checklist:

Careers In Nonprofits Can Help Your Nonprofit Prep for the Hiring Process

Are you struggling to fill and backfill open opportunities at your nonprofit organization?

Careers In Nonprofits, a leading nonprofit staffing agency, can help. Our team of experienced nonprofit recruiters partners with our clients to understand your company’s goals and vision. From there, we develop hiring solutions designed to help you find skilled, qualified, and professional candidates who have the talent and heart to move your company vision forward. Schedule a call with our nonprofit recruiters today to learn more. 

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