Showing Candidates You Care - Polly Symondson Recruitment
Polly Symondson Recruitment, PSR, Specialist Regional Recruitment for the Charity Sector, Cheltenham, UK
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Showing Candidates You Care

Last week I had to tell a candidate that they came a close second at interview but they didn’t get the corporate fundraising job they had applied for. This person was gutted.

We spoke at length about the things that they could do to improve their chances next time round; going through the feedback the charity had given and what actions might help close gaps that were identified during interview. I also told my lovely candidate that I would do all I could to help her secure her next charity role – and I will.

None of the above is new for me, I’ve been telling people they have or haven’t got that fundraising job for 10 years. Telling people they haven’t got the job never gets easier, people’s reactions can still surprise me but I always try and give comprehensive, genuine, helpful feedback as I want to make sure that the last interaction between charity and candidate is a positive one.

This is always more straightforward when the charity provides clear, constructive feedback. While this is not rare in the charity sector it is unusual to have a client that really works hard to ensure the unsuccessful candidate feels as good as they can about the charity.

So I stuck my thoughts up on a LinkedIn post last week:

Charities – if you are recruiting, don’t forget to treat your candidates as you would your donors. Most people have taken precious annual leave, given up their time and spent money travelling to an interview. Put yourselves in their shoes”

And it got lots of positive reaction, likes and shares – thanks to all who chipped in

Now I don’t think it’s a radical idea to treat your candidates as you would a prospective donor, and from the replies clearly many others feel the same. I know how much time and effort goes into preparing an initial application and then prepping for an interview, and I know what it takes to plan, schedule and complete the recruitment of a key position.

The painful truth is that there are many fundraising jobs out there but barely the number of fundraisers to fill them. This is the position we are in despite the efforts taken over the last few years to attract new people into fundraising and the ongoing work to increase diversity in our sector. Charities do need to work just as hard at selling themselves to the candidate as the candidate does to the charity.

So here is my easy to follow set of minimum system requirements for an organisation looking to recruit –

  • At the very least give people a decent automated response to their application
  • Allow adequate time for people to arrange their busy lives so they can attend an interview and yes, you should schedule the process to include a weekend to give candidates time to prepare a decent presentation. A good fundraiser may well have a stacked evening events diary and many entry level or candidates returning to work may well be applying for more than one role
  • Consider if you can offer to cover interview travel expenses early in the process

Finally, people talk. Candidates will talk about the experience of going for a job interview with your charity, for better or worse. They will talk to other fundraisers, recruiters, friends and family and everyone in-between. They wont forget how you made them feel with every communication and interaction they had with you just as a donor wont forget. It wont cost a great deal to go the extra mile but the positive impact could be far reaching if you do.