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Nonprofit Recruiting Tips to Find the Right Fit for Your Organization

Nonprofit recruiting can be a delicate process. You’re searching for professionals with the right skills and abilities to do the job, but also the value alignment needed to passionately commit themselves to your cause. Finding candidates like these requires thoughtful outreach, vetting, and evaluation.

The best way to approach nonprofit recruiting is to set your organization up for success before you even need to start looking for candidates. By carefully preparing job descriptions, interview questions, and other important hiring materials for each role you may need to fill, you can ensure that when the time comes to find the right candidate, you’ll know how to do it. 

Both before and during the hiring process, follow these tips to maximize the effectiveness of your nonprofit recruiting.

Focus on skills, not education

Throughout the hiring process, emphasize the prospective hire’s skill set over education or even previous nonprofit experience. Not only can this approach help you better determine their aptitude for the job, but it may also help attract a wider and more diverse pool of candidates, including highly skilled professionals from a broad range of backgrounds. 

Attracting talent with the right skills begins with the job description. List skills needed for the role, how they’ll be used, and why they’re important. Once you determine which skills you should hire for, LinkedIn Talent Solutions can help you search for candidates who have them. 

Next, make these skills the focus of your discussions during interviews. Ask people what they enjoy doing, how they’ve applied skills in the past, and what interests them most.

Skill gaps don’t need to be deal-breakers! You can always create a skill development program to address areas where someone may lack knowledge or proficiency.

Personalize outreach for nonprofit candidates

For cause-based organizations, delivering the right message from the right source is key in talent recruitment. When a promising candidate hears from someone involved with the nonprofit, explaining why it’s meaningful work and a great opportunity, that can make a big impact. 

LinkedIn Talent Solutions make this easy and scalable. Using LinkedIn Recruiter or LinkedIn Recruiter Lite, nonprofits can target, find, and manage a pool of qualified candidates, then reach out with personalized messaging.

Illustration of a computer monitor on a desk displaying several candidate profiles in LinkedIn Recruiter.

When you engage with a candidate and start advancing the conversation, include details about both the position and the hiring process, including a projected timeline, so they know what to expect. This way, you can filter out any candidates who may not be interested for logistical reasons. After making a connection, you can shift the conversation to email, or keep it going on LinkedIn. This will ensure everything the candidate might need is in one place, including the answers to questions they have and any pre-interview materials that you share. 

Be as specific and clear as possible

At every stage of the hiring process, communicate your expectations for the role as clearly as possible. When writing the job description, for example, start by listing core responsibilities. Then, review this list and adjust each entry to focus on both the skills used and the desired outcomes. Aim for specific details over generic statements, but keep your job description concise and easy to read.

When possible, it always helps to include the “why” behind job duties and expectations, tying them to the organization’s mission and values. This will help draw in candidates who are excited to make an impact.

During the interview process, impress your candidates by communicating with them clearly and consistently. Provide a realistic timeline for the hiring process during your initial communications, then provide regular updates, especially around any delays. Follow up with all candidates via email before and after their interviews to create a positive candidate experience and leave them with the best possible impression of your organization, even if they don’t get the job.  

Discuss career development opportunities openly

Employees rank “opportunities to learn and grow” as the number one factor in a positive work culture. Offering these kinds of opportunities can help your nonprofit attract and retain great candidates who are eager to continue developing their skills.

Make professional growth a key focus of your hiring discussions. During interviews, ask potential hires where they want their career in nonprofits to take them and what they need to get there. This lets candidates know that your organization is invested in their growth and development, helping them envision their future with your nonprofit.  

By communicating clearly, using the right tools, and focusing on skills and values, your nonprofit recruiting process can yield a sustainable pipeline of excellent hires.

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