Recruiting for social causes

Nolan Gray Tips & Tricks

Nonprofit organizations have recruiting challenges that are similar to the for-profit world, but these organizations also have unique needs. In our recent webinar “Hiring Strategies for Social Causes,” we discussed recruiting strategies for those in the nonprofit sector. We talked with Catherine Pajic, Global Recruiter at the National Democratic Institute, and Ian McLellan, National Director of Recruitment and Selection at Educational Enterprises. Jobscience CEO Ted Elliott moderated the conversation.

Here are some of the big trends that emerged during our chat.

Misconceptions about nonprofits
Both panelists agreed that there is misinformation floating around about what it’s like working in the nonprofit sector. Job seekers tend to believe that the pay is poor or that the organizations are behind in the way they implement new tools and technology. Another misconception is that mission-based organizations aren’t run with a business mentality and are disorganized. The truth is, according to Pajic, most organizations follow current corporate market trends.

To attract the best candidates, recruiters will need to use strategies to promote their organizations more effectively. One way both organizations are doing this is through social recruiting to talk about their mission and tell job seekers what they’re all about.

Second careers
Another big topic that came up with attracting one specific group: those looking for a second career. Pajic and McLellan both saw a trend of job seekers turning toward mission-based work later in life and looking for work that has meaning. One thing Pajic pointed out, though, is that women and men tend to perceive this job switch differently, which could impact how recruiters engage them in conversation. Men approach a shift in careers with confidence, thinking about the experience they can bring to a new organization. Women generally have more anxiety about the transition and fear being perceived as too old to take on a new role. Recruiters may want to keep these ideas in mind when working with more seasoned job seekers.

Sourcing from referrals
The idea of second careers brought out another big topic: referrals. Both panelists noted how referrals could be a great source for second-career candidates. Entry-level positions are easy to fill with more traditional methods, but more specialized roles can be difficult. Using current employees to help find qualified people to fill these roles is a good solution, especially since more experienced employees tend to have larger networks to cull from. McLellan sits down with employees to talk about their networks and determine if there is a fit for them within the organization.

What to automate
Automation is just as key in nonprofit recruiting as elsewhere. Because some skills can be hard to find, recruiters need to make sure they hang onto the right talent, even if they’re not a good fit at that particular moment. Pajic, who fills roles that will operate internationally, often seeks skills that are hard to come by, like specific language skills or background. To keep track of those candidates, Pajic tags them with their specific skills to save them in the applicant tracking system. McLellan also had a unique strategy: a candidate rating system. His organization rates each candidate on certain competencies to give them a score.

Since Educational Enterprises reaches out to each applicant, regardless of whether they move on to the next stage, it’s important to find ways to automate certain steps of the process.

If you missed the webinar and want to learn more, tune into the recording on BrightTalk.

Jobscience | Beyond the Applicant Tracking System

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