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The charity recruitment process – time for a change?

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Interviews are done, meetings concluded and everyone's finally agreed on the candidate...who's just got another job.

Due to fierce competition for candidates, it's a familiar story for charities recruiting fundraisers, but our community and regional fundraising specialist Joshua Liveras finds some alternative methods that could put you ahead of the pack...

The charity recruitment process – time for a change?

If you've ever applied or recruited for a charity job, you'll probably be aware of the traditional process; job posted, deadline set, candidates apply, candidates shortlisted after deadline, interviews arranged.

Until recently it's been a fairly solid process, allowing charities with limited time and resource to manage their recruitment process as effectively as possible.

However, over the past 12 months there's been something of a revolution. A select few charities have built large internal talent acquisition teams, often by hiring considerable numbers from the private sector - typically individuals who are used to working in aggressively competitive talent markets like banking or financial services, using some very different methodologies.


Speed is good

For example, they have brought with them the concept of engaging top talent in the interview process as soon as possible, to reduce the risk of losing them. This helps those charities to snap up the best talent, quite simply because they are moving quicker than their competitors.

So the question I'm posing here is: should all other charities follow suit and review their recruitment process to move with the times?


How to avoid losing potential candidates

Working closely with charities on a daily basis, I understand the challenges of having the right people available at the right times to hold interviews, but there are ways around this:

For example, one of the UK's largest cancer support charities holds video interviews as their first step, meaning candidates record themselves answering a series of questions and sends it to the talent team. This way it's not taking extra time for the interview, and is also really engaging candidates in the first instance.

Another example is a well-known international children's charity, who simply hold an initial 15 minute conversation over the phone with a candidate, whoever is available to do so, before the closing date to get the candidate engaged as soon as possible.

A number of charities are heading away from a set deadline date completely, and simply saying they will interview as and when the right candidates come along - the fixed closing date is no longer their 'standard practice'.

At Harris Hill we're very aware that candidate expectations are changing too - most are no longer prepared to wait weeks for a potential offer, so I think whatever strategy is adopted, it's vital that charities modernise their process to move with these demands.


Every single charity has a goal to make significant change, and as I'm sure many senior leaders in charities will tell you, the talent at their disposal is the number one factor that will prove to be the success or failure of that change.

The fight for talent is more competitive than ever - let's make it a fair fight!

Joshua Liveras

Community and Regional Fundraising Specialist, Harris Hill

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