Budget, Brand, and Balance – Getting the mix right for NFPs

Recruiting in any market can be hard.

When economies are thriving, it can be hard to find the right talent as competition for the best candidates heats up. When times are tough, there can be so many candidates for a single role that seeing the wood through the trees can be difficult.

In 2020, many Not-For-Profits have seen the worst of both worlds. On the one hand, COVID-19 has seen an increase in the demand for many essential NFP services. Healthcare and other support services have had to significantly increase their capacity, or add new services to cope with the new operating models that many organizations have had to adopt to meet the COVID challenge. On the other hand, the broader economy has been significantly depressed, with widespread job losses, under-employment and with unemployment yet to peak, the candidates for any one job can number in the hundreds. So for NFPs, there is the twin pressure of gearing up quickly, whilst struggling to manage the seemingly gargantuan task of finding the right people to fill roles. What a distraction!

This is of course on top of the usual challenges for NFP recruitment: Budgetary constraints both for salaries and recruitment, finding a skills AND culture match, attracting great talent when so many other organisations are on the chase.

It can be overwhelming.

There are solutions, of course. Common approaches include deploying AI, bringing in a recruitment team to manage the process, or outsourcing the process completely. Which approach is best is determined by your objectives, purpose, and talent needs. If your prime objective is getting people to fill seats, then using AI might be the fastest approach. There are challenges with AI as we noted here when it comes to diversity and culture, but it may get the job done. Bringing talent acquisition teams in-house may be a worthy solution, but with it comes new reporting structures, internal reporting and compliance, and a host of other hidden costs that are rarely seen in appropriate granularity on the P&L. In short, the cost is much higher than you think.

Lastly, there is outsourcing. For many, this can seem scary – placing your trust in external consultants and handing over hard-earned money to find and deliver the best talent available within your organization’s constraints. But for several reasons it often makes absolute sense. Getting access to specialized networks and balanced talent pools, using well-honed recruitment processes from shortlisting through to interviewing, seeing competencies and talents beyond what the CVs say – these are all vital ingredients for successful recruitment.

How is your brand coping?

Most importantly though, it is the management of your brand that is most at stake in recruitment. How candidates feel about your brand and what you do, is often borne out of their experience throughout the recruitment process. In a candidate-driven market, it is tempting to write “We will only contact candidates if you are successful” in your job ads. On the face of it, this seems fair enough because there aren’t enough hours in the day, but is it? Candidates remember poor experiences in recruitment more than they remember the good ones, and being ghosted by prospective employers or recruiters is a depressing experience. Many candidates spend a lot of time preparing applications, so it’s only fair that this is recognized in your recruitment processes. So, whether you outsource your recruitment or not, be sure to place brand management at the top of your priorities.

Not everyone can get the job, but everyone should have a positive experience with your brand, no matter which recruitment strategy you choose.

Open Door is committed to ensuring that women are evenly represented in recruitment processes. Talk to us about how we can help your NFP organisation achieve balance, within budget, and on brand.

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