8 Guidelines to Spreading a Wide Net for Talent

1. Always Be on the Lookout

Managers must deliberately seek to develop sharp recruiting skills by becoming relentless recruiters at all times. When you come across an impressive individual, ask to stay in touch so that when a job opening occurs you can contact him or her immediately. Never hesitate to ask whether they know of anyone who has exceptional abilities.

2. Have a Clear “Elevator Speech” Ready

Managers need to be able to recite your “employment brand value” clearly so that a job candidate would want to work for their organization. It’s important to be able to sell an organization to someone who may become an internal part of the organization just as well as to those outside the organization.

3. Look for People that Fit

Managers shouldn’t just search for the best candidate they should look for the right candidate. Numerous studies have shown that employees are more apt to stay with an organization when the fit is right. Therefore, it is vitally important for a manager to have a sound, internalized grasp of the culture of their organization and be able to recognize with insight and accuracy the kind of person who will thrive in that environment.

4. Don’t Try to Build Staff Capacity on the Cheap

Salaries in the nonprofit sector for highly skilled talent have been improving, as have bonuses, benefits, educational and career development options. Corporate executives are moving into nonprofits, and alongside “traditional” nonprofit executives, these individuals expect salaries that are fair and compelling. Without competitive salaries, a nonprofit won’t be able to compete successfully for talent no matter how sterling its reputation or how compelling its mission.

5. Look Beyond the Job Description

Successful managers have job descriptions written in advance for any position opening so that they are ready to act when the need arises. The effective manager, however, will look beyond this baseline for attributes that make for exceptional employees, things like curiosity and a willingness to learn, enthusiasm, quick intelligence, a good work ethic, and the demonstrated ability to be part of a team.

6. Interview Well and Vigorously

This is an acquired skill that managers must purposefully learn and practice. A Harvard Business School study shows that more than 75 percent of turnover in organizations can be attributed to poor and inadequate interview sessions, practices, and processes. If a nonprofit manager knows how to interview well in formal and casual settings, s/he is much more likely to attract the attention of untapped candidates.

7. Develop Greater Speed in Hiring

Act quickly and be decisive. When the “right” person is found, move quickly. Most often, organizations lose an opportunity by taking too long to make a concrete offer.

8. Make a Point of Knowing When and How to Use a Search Firm

If a manager is not seeing the right kind of candidates when important staffing decisions are at stake, a good search firm can help focus the energy and effort of the organization toward achieving the best result. Because a search firm relies on a strong network of contacts, it can reach out in ways not available to the average manager and conduct a wider, more effective search.

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