Finding The Best Talent In A Highly Competitive Environment

Job interview. Recruitment Hand.

According to Roy Mauer in a blog for Society of HR Management, “Nonprofits should emulate corporate recruiting to compete for talent. Yet, 64% of nonprofits do not have a formal recruitment or retention strategy.”

Profit making companies can spend vast sums to bring top talent into their organizations, but what about organizations with limited funds that must compete for the same talent?    

I believe it is our culture that drives people through our doors. 

Jason Walker, Director of Talent Acquisition at Habitat for Humanity International, believes that a workplace culture that engages top talent requires a well-structured, strategic hiring plan closely tied to the agency’s mission. “In support of our mission,” he states, “we act intentionally to attract talent that has both the values and skills to expand Habitat’s impact and the way we address housing needs.’

The struggle is to know what you need and why you need it, then accept nothing less.   This resonates with me.  I have found that it is MUCH more costly and stressful to an organization to hire the wrong person because we are in a hurry to fill the slot, than it is to wait and find the right person. 

Candance Ho from Whole Whale recommends that, after defining the talent required, an organization create a scorecard that lists all the attributes that it is looking for in an employee, and why those attributes are needed for that position.  Whole Whale’s talent scorecard’s attributes include “efficiency, empathy, analytics, curiosity and a positive outlook.”   At The Fedcap Group we use terms such as: 

    • Passionate: They are driven to create/identify and resource the most effective ways to solve problems for people with barriers.
    • Informed: They are current within their respective fields.
    • Credible: When they speak, people listen because of their depth of knowledge and expertise.
    • Smart and Fast: They can see the end result and take quick, thoughtful and decisive action.
    • Creative: They generate innovative and often unexpected answers to difficult problems.
    • Curious: They thrive on new information and opportunities.
    • Dedicated: They run a continuous campaign to advance the position of The Fedcap Group and the people we serve.
    • Understand the concept of “Good to Great”: They constantly look for opportunities to improve the work of The Fedcap Group, searching for best-in-class practices, but not reinventing the wheel.
    • Flexible: They are able and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
    • Fun: They take their work seriously, but not themselves.

Nonprofits also need to find candidates who care about their mission.  Do they understand what we do?  Can they describe it?  Did they care enough to do the research? 

Critical to finding the right candidate is having the right job description that makes people want to work for our organization.   Recruitment at its core is marketing, and it is smart to engage a marketing firm to review the language in job descriptions. According to Nonprofit HR, the Corporate Leadership Council found that a well-executed EVP (employee value proposition) is invaluable in ensuring that job descriptions stand out.  A good EVP is a simple, focused statement of why someone would want to work in your organization, and according to Nonprofit HR, it can improve the commitment of new hires by 29%.   It can also solidify the organization’s brand and guide its recruitment strategy. “To create an EVP, compile data from employee engagement, onboarding and exit surveys. Identify key trends from among those three types of interactions. This may include information on benefits your employees value, elements of the workplace culture that help them succeed or simply why they enjoy working for the organization.”

We can compete with the for-profit environment—we must leverage our mission, have a smart strategy and tell the story of what we do in a compelling way. 

I welcome your thoughts.

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