“Businesses and nonprofit organizations are having difficulty finding qualified applicants and more so, getting applicants to apply. I’ve heard stories of candidates not showing up to interviews or the first day of work or declining the position the day before they were scheduled to start. Build relationships now before the need arises, especially if they fit your culture and have the right skill sets. Revising job descriptions and knowing what to look for in a candidate during the process are important steps in the hiring process.”   
Kathy Cathcart, Managing Director and President of Align

Find the Passion.
Try connecting with and networking with candidates that passionately choose to be involved with your industry or mission. Show a potential candidate how much your organization shows its appreciation for its staff and the impact your programs have in the community. This may keep your organization at the top of the candidate’s list.

Best Practice Tip: Utilize your business’s social media channels to illustrate your organization’s culture and work environment. Post photos and messages about your celebrations and fun events.

Watch the Title.
There are a lot of job openings. Do some research on current pay scales for the job title. Don’t just focus on titles as different people call different positions, different things. Also look at what entry-level positions are paying. Ask yourself if you are trying to recruit someone with experience and educational background but are paying at a rate comparable to entry-level positions. Be realistic on what you will have to pay to recruit a candidate with the appropriate skills and experience. Do not recruit for a job that your salary range is not reflective of. That simply uncovers talent that you cannot afford or talent that is not a match.

Best Practice Tip: Only hire and advertise the position level you can afford.

Write a Truly Compelling Job Description.
After putting the nuts and bolts in the job description, and we all must do it, explain how amazing the team is, how inspiring it to work in the role, and how lucky it would be to lead this role. However, don’t make the job into something it is not. One of the main reasons people take jobs and leave shortly afterwards is because the job is significantly different than the job, they thought they were taking. Be realistic but be excited! Remember: Write like you are excited or do not expect the candidate to be!

Best Practice Tip: When contacting applicants for the job, express your excitement with their background and say something about their work history that you noticed.

Be a Proactive Recruiter.
Use tools like LinkedIn to see what the talent pool looks like and pay attention to who is connected to whom. It is also important to do traditional networking. It is about the people you reach out to.

Best Practice Tip: Be strategic and make sure the people you reach out to have the match in title, experience, and industry.

Show Value in a Career Opportunity!
Candidates apply for either a better environment, team, compensation package, and/or growth in their career. Show prospective candidates the long-term benefits of moving to your organization so they are motivated to be a part of the career growth opportunity.

Best Practice Tip: Effectively sell all the positive aspects that relate to your organization’s culture, team, compensation, and overall goals. But remember to also talk about the challenges for the role. Even if you know the candidate wants the job already, educating them in these areas spurs motivation and improves the chances they will be good leaders on your team.

Watch the Little Things.
Small signs that candidates exhibit absolutely show you how much care, passion, skill, knowledge, and success they will have if you hire them. Watch how long they take to reply. Do they send professionally formatted emails? How forthright are they about their job search, salary requirements and/or long-term goals?

Best Practice Tip: Design a process and stick to it. Look for signs of preparation, professionalism, and engagement. Bad hires can be spotted quickly. You just need to know what to look for and proceed with caution. Be prepared to be patient. You may have to look awhile to find a good match.

Cathy Drzal for the Align Team