By Don Souhrada, President and CEO, at Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt
When a key staff member makes the decision to leave an organization, the process of finding talent can be daunting.
Too often, the traditional position marketing methods do not attract the high-caliber applicants that the position requires. Or a top choice might back out late in the process, forcing a drawn-out search process.
A well-planned, thoughtfully executed search process can make the difference between finding a suitable replacement or a star performer. It all starts with the job posting.
Here are five easy-to-implement strategies that will help you recruit not only outstanding candidates, but candidates eager to work with your organization to advance the mission and take your organization into the future.
1) Enthusiastically sell the position – and your organization – in your job description. Think about the qualities that make the opportunity and your organization special, and make sure they shine through loud and clear in the job description. Take the time to tell a story – what makes your organization unique, why people are inspired to work there, and how this position enables jobseekers to live their core values. A dry, bullet point list of qualifications and responsibilities simply isn’t sufficient to entice the candidates you want, especially in today’s tight labor market – or any other time, really!
2) Do your salary homework. A salary that’s too low limits your prospective applicant pool. Sure, you can hope you might be lucky enough to find a qualified candidate so enamored of your mission that your preferred candidate is willing to work for a suboptimal salary, though that’s pretty much the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack. And do you really want to under-compensate your new, valued colleague? Find the sweet spot by conducting a salary survey to see what’s realistic for the position, and then post your best salary range right out of the gate.
3) Make sure the position’s job title is easily searchable. While you may be convinced that a title like Chief Inspiration Leader demonstrates creativity, or that Director of Fund Development and Donor Communication clearly delineates job responsibilities, those titles will run afoul of search function algorithms. Candidates search for keywords within job opportunities, just like employers search for keywords on resumes. If your keywords are unusual, it’s less likely that a broad range of candidates will find your position.
4) Actively cast a broad net. The days when organizations could post a position on a job board and wait for the applications to flow in are long gone. To get a deep pool of candidates that allows you to be highly selective, you need to get out there and actively recruit.
Of course you will post the position widely on job boards such as your local AFP chapter and NPO.net. And you’ll make sure the position is highly visible on LinkedIn. But also think about niche associations that align with candidates who might be interested and post it on their job boards, too. If you are really serious, make calls to people in your network to put the word out and secure referrals.
Tempted as you may be to stick with LinkedIn’s free search features to find potential candidates, this is not the time to economize. A monthly subscription to Recruiter Lite, LinkedIn’s candidate search tool, is cost-effective and can help you zero in on more candidates quickly and also boost response rates.
5) Choose the candidate with both the passion and the skill set. Candidates who have one but not the other may accept the job, but they’re unlikely to stick around long – if they don’t change their mind before starting the job in the first place. When the position aligns with the opportunity, values, and lifestyle the highly qualified candidate is seeking, the odds of success vastly improve. (Which underscores the critical importance of creating an excellent job description in the first place. See #1 above.)
How you execute the search will demonstrate to potential candidates how you value the position. The right candidate will appreciate the effort and will bring a new set of skills and a fresh perspective that allows your organization to achieve incredible things in the future.