Nonprofit Hiring Worst Practices

Nonprofit Hiring Worst Practices

Continuing our series on “worst practices,” below is a non-exhaustive list of mistakes to avoid when hiring nonprofit staff.

·      Failing to clearly spell out the exact expectations of the position you are filling. Clarity is your friend. Ambiguity is not. You will come to regret not being crystal clear about the work an employee is expected to do. It drives the recruitment process and the entire supervision of the employee.

·      Not listing the salary or salary range. By not posting the salary or salary range, you are creating unnecessary uncertainty which may deter good candidates from applying. It also frequently leads to women and people of color getting paid less.

·      Only posting the position to your website or email list. Post your jobs far and wide to attract the best and most diverse pool of talent. Consider posting with niche and people of color trade associations, sororities and fraternities, chambers of commerce. Get diversity in your pool of applicants from the start.

7 Lessons Learned From Executive Directors (6 Free Downloads)

·      Only posting on Look for at least three and consider asking local women’s and people of color-led organizations/chambers of commerce/trade organizations to share your posting.

·      Failing to be explicit about wanting diverse applicants. Some organizations fail to send a signal that they want a diverse applicant pool. This failing sends a clear message that it may not be an inclusive environment.

·      Not having alignment with your board about the hire. Boards may feel blindsided by a new job posting or even disagree with the organization’s ability to pay. 

·      Not having at least six months of committed funding for the position, and ideally a year. Whether you are hiring a fundraiser or another position, show respect to that person by securing the necessary resources so they can thrive.

·      Failing to onboard your employee correctly with a checklist of critical items. (employee handbook, orientation, payroll, key documents, etc.)

·      Assuming passion makes someone qualified. Hint…it doesn’t. 

·      Hiring a board member or founder without conducting a search

·      Screening candidates with your entire staff or board. Appoint a small group to help make these decisions or allow the executive director to make the hire.  

·      Failing to put serious thought into your interview process. Use screening tools that encourage you to use logic instead of emotion. Treat all candidates equally.  

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