November 20, 2014
How to sell your Charity to a potential employee
Consultant Anna talks us through how to showcase the very best of your organisation to potential employees.
Anna Cowell is a Recruitment Consultant at Charity People where she recruits Fundraising positions for a variety of Charities. In this week's blog she shares her ideas on how as an employer, a Charity can set themselves apart from the rest by really showcasing the very best of their organisation to a potential employee during an interview.
How to make a candidate love your organisation
Interviewing a candidate for a vacancy in your team is very much a two-way process. I often tell my clients that if a candidate is asking lots of the right questions and genuinely interested in your organisation and the role available then it's likely they will make a good, conscientious hire. Sometimes clients enter into the interview process armed with a check list of 'must haves' for their perfect candidate and neglect to remember that in fact the person they are interviewing is just as interested in what the organisation can offer them as they can it.
Here are some top tips as to how you might want to really emphasise the best bits of your organisation, generate enthusiasm and also demonstrate what it's like to actually work for your Charity.
- Talk about the impact your Charity has in the world - a candidate wants to see what they might be helping to achieve and feel motivated that it's a cause the staff already feel passionate about
- Smile, be friendly and do what you can to put a candidate at ease
- Offer them a drink of water, tea or coffee (simple but important)
- Take them for a walk round the office to give them an idea as to the working culture and office environment and the sorts of people that work for it
- Ask open questions and really listen to their answers
- Find out a bit more about them - what inspires them, why they are interested in your cause
- Tell them about benefits, team building activities, social side of work (this is crucial and sometimes neglected at an interview but it can really help set you apart from the competition)
- Tell them about your future strategic plans and potential development of their role - where might they be able to progress to in two to five years perhaps or mention how others have progressed within the organisation
- Manage expectations - when are you hoping to make a decision/ when would you like someone to start? Try not to leave a candidate unsure of what's next and or when they might hear back from you
Even if they aren't the right candidate for you, it is respectful to spend time with them and ensure they've enjoyed the experience meeting you.
And behind the scenes....
- Know your company and benefits before starting an interview - you need to talk in a passionate and informed way
- Make a decision as quickly as possible and provide feedback as soon as you can - this will make you look like a conscientious and organised employer and will ensure you snap a great candidate up before someone else does
- If organising an interview, ensure the timescales and tasks are fair (Preparing a 10 minute presentation with 1 days notice isn't ideal for anyone!)
If you offer a candidate a job, send out an email confirmation and contract as soon as you can and show your enthusiasm that they'll be joining you
It's worth remembering that lots of candidates feel nervous prior to an interview and that your body language and engagement as an interviewer is crucial in putting them at ease and demonstrating what it might be like to work with or for you. There's a fine balance between appearing professional, organised and experienced, or coming across as cold, closed and difficult to read. In general if a candidate feels at ease and quite relaxed during the interview they will show their best side and answer questions more openly. It also means that if offered the role or a second interview, they're more likely to accept.
How to avoiding common pitfalls
Here are some of the of the biggest traps an interviewer can fall into that can really put a potential employee off of an organisation so be careful to avoid them.
- Aggressive interview style
This is when interviewer appears uninterested, unengaged, rushed, adopts an angry tone or appears disbelieving of what a candidate is saying
- Not showing commitment to the process
Taking a long time to make a decision, long gap between closing date and interview date, no feedback given
- Unrealistic expectations
This is when an interviewer expects that a candidate must be free for interview whenever they request, lots of hoops to jump through, long application form to complete
- No future plans
Making the candidate feel that there is no progression or ability to develop their skills in the future within the position
- No advocate for the charity
The interviewer doesn't talk about the cause, team or role with any passion, no mention of benefits, working culture or why you should work with them
Remember that interviewing is a two-way process. The candidate is interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them. Remembering this is imperative in securing the right person for your team.
Hopefully with the tips above, you'll have candidates lining up to work for you! The charity sector is a small one, and if potential employees hear that a particular charity is a great place to work, they'll tell their friends who'll go on to spread the word even further. Believe us when we say that there are charities well known out there for being wonderful to work for, it would be great if you were one of those too.