Managing Humans: Hiring

Today’s guest blog post is the first in a six-part series by Rachel Hands, Senior Manager, Client Administration, Patron Technology.

We talk a lot on this blog about cultivating your relationships with your patrons because we believe those connections are at the core of your organization’s success. But there are also other relationships that are equally vital to a thriving organization: those among your staff. In this series, we’ll be looking at ways to foster the relationships on your team.

Let’s start at the very beginning of your relationship with your (future) coworkers: your job posting. I happen to believe that a good job posting has three key qualities: it’s accurate, it’s inclusive, and it sells the job to the right candidates.

It may seem obvious, but I focus on accuracy first because the job description in your posting is your first opportunity to establish trust with your new colleagues. It can be tempting to highlight the parts of the job that seem the most interesting in an effort to encourage more people to apply, but you’re better off outlining all the most important functions of the job, even the ones that might seem dull to you. (You’re hiring someone else to do this for a reason, right?)

Even if you’ve posted for the same job before, it’s worth re-reading your posting language to confirm that your expectations for the job haven’t changed. If your initial description of the job doesn’t line up with the day-to-day reality, it can undermine the candidate’s trust in you and make it harder to establish a good working relationship.

In addition to being accurate, the language you use in your posting should be as inclusive as possible. That means the posting should be as neutral as possible about any attributes of an applicant that don’t directly impact their ability to do the job. (The former HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector in Canada has posted some good guidelines on this topic.) Some things to consider include:

  • Watch out for gendered language (check out the link for examples that are more subtle than “you’ll be great at this job if you’re a numbers guy” or “we offer mother’s hours.”) You can also run your ad through this free tool to get a quick evaluation of your post’s language.
  • Specify whether all or some parts of the job be done remotely or in flexible hours. (If you have a cloud-based CRM system, this becomes a lot easier!)
  • If a candidate could be successful in the job without having a specific educational background, omit any mention of educational requirements. Instead, focus on the skills required of a successful candidate.

And of course, you still have to convince people to apply! No matter what kind of job you’re hiring for, I recommend incorporating something that makes you excited to come to work each day.

For many of you, one big factor is probably the impact you get to have on fulfilling your org’s mission. Highlighting your org’s mission in the posting, and connecting the specific job to the way you fulfill that mission, can help potential applicants understand the impact they can have as part of your organization – leading folks to your door who are excited to make those contributions.

Got all that? Phew, you made it! Now that you’re through Step 1, check out our next installment in this series which focuses on Step 2: interviewing potential candidates. 

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