Nonprofit Network Blog

Do You Have Who You Need?

Thursday, September 08, 2016 12:00 PM | Katena Cain (Administrator)

Katena Cain

Nonprofit Management Consultant

Making sure you hire well is so important. Committed, motivated, qualified employees help your organization achieve its purpose. Every employee has an impact on company culture— which in turn attracts more prospective employees. Understanding this and the way employees can change culture for the better is key for employers who want a strong pipeline of diverse talent.

Millennials and Gen Z are the most diverse generations in U.S. history and are made up of the highest representation of minorities to date.  These generations expect inclusion of all people and seek out employers who share their values.  That doesn't mean the hunt for diversity should be largely different from the typical recruiting process. 

At the end of the day, it's about hiring the most qualified candidates. 

But that may also mean you as an employer will need to make adjustments to how you approach and seek out candidates. The first step is identifying how your hiring process may be excluding some excellent candidates.

Here are some ways seven tips to remove barriers in the application and hiring process:

1) Specify the need, rather than how it’s achieved. Examples: Instead of requiring a valid driver’s license, ask for the ‘ability to travel and provide own transportation.’ Or instead of requiring that a candidate reside in a given location, ask for ‘the ability to report to work within 30 minutes of call.’

2) Ask for ability wherever possible.
This enables candidates with transferable skills to compete. Ability means the candidate has the potential to do the job, but may not have had the opportunity to develop the potential. Candidates can demonstrate ability through past achievements, including volunteer experience. Example: Instead of requiring knowledge of a law or experience in implementation, ask for the ability to learn, interpret and apply a law.

3) Ask for related work experience.
Instead of specific work experience, a certain number of years of experience, recent experience or transferable experience may be adequate. Example: Instead of asking for ‘experience with Word XP,’ ask for ‘experience with Microsoft Word’ or ‘or similar application.’ 

4) Focus on the qualities or knowledge needed to perform the work effectively.
Avoid focus on a specific credential (a degree, diploma, certificate or license). Include a credential in a job advertisement only when required by law (i.e. Registered Nurse) or where it is the only means of obtaining the skills, knowledge and ability needed to perform the work effectively.

5) Specify the kind of communication required.
Example: Specify ‘listening and/or speaking on the telephone’, ‘writing’ and/or ‘negotiating agreements’ rather than asking for ‘an ability to communicate effectively.’

6) Specify the working conditions.
Elaborate the number of hours of work per pay period for a part-time position and the expected duration of the term for short-term positions. For shift or late-night work, include information about security.

7) Focus on the desired ability or skill instead of a personal trait.
Instead of requiring a ‘mature, cooperative person’, ask for ‘ability to work effectively as a team member.’ Write clearly and simply, using common words, a straightforward style and simple sentences. Avoid jargon, technical and legal language, and acronyms.

Nonprofit Network is committed to ensuring best practices around diverse, inclusive, and equitable practices.  Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

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