recruiting for social entrepreneurs

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1 recruiting for social entrepreneurs how to guide UnLtd how to guide : recruiting There are six stages in an effective recruitment process, once you have identified a need to establish a new post. These are: 1. Defining the job description and the person specification 2. Advertising 3. Application packs 4. Short-listing 5. Interviewing 6. Appointing A quick note on timelines The recruitment process may take several months, with more difficult to find senior hires taking the longest. To work out your timeline: Start from the desired start date, and then count back the four weeks the new appointee will need to give notice in their current job. This will be the last date by when you will need to have made an offer. Then count back one week to make your final decision, this will give you your projected last round interview date. Count back a few more weeks for short-listing and several rounds of interviews, and this will give you your closing date for applications. Finally count back at least three weeks for applicants to respond to adverts, request application packs and return applications. This is when you need to advertise by. 1. defining the job description and the person specification This is where it all starts. You have identified a need for a new hire maybe a new responsibility has been developed as your organisation grows, or else someone is moving on/stepping down from a current role. The more specific the job description the less time you will spend filtering applicants, but the smaller the pool of applications you will receive. Job descriptions will usually cover at the very least: The name of the organisation (!!) The job title (try to be as specific as possible) Job location A one sentence summary of the principal responsibility of the position Who the position will work with and who the position will report to Specific roles and responsibilities of the position General support duties that the position will also entail A compensation level UnLtd : 1

2 The person specification lays out the necessary experience, knowledge and skills to successfully carry out the tasks in the job description, and should include: Length and details of required relevant prior experience The list of soft skills and qualities you expect from applicants Any hard skills, formal qualifications and knowledge you require (such as accounting or computer programming skills) An indication fo the kind of cultural fit you are looking for such as someone who can thrive in small, unstructured and entrepreneurial environments Any considerations specific to the job role that applicants must be willing to meet such as the need to travel often tip Sample job descriptions and person specifications can be obtained from UnLtd. 2. advertising A successful recruitment process begins with good candidates, and to ensure you have a broad range, you will probably need to advertise your post. Advertising a new post is expensive, so you will want to place your adverts where they will be the most effective, and this might take a bit of thought. The key to advertising is finding the right vehicle, and the way to identify this is through research. Look at where similar organisations advertise similar posts. You might even contact them and find out where they have had the most success in reaching suitable candidates. Think about the candidates you are trying to attract; where are they likely to be looking for jobs? For many voluntary sector jobseekers, the Society section in Wednesday s Guardian is a first point of call, and this is where public sector and charity posts are frequently advertised. If you are not targeting people with a voluntary sector background, or your post is less senior and not in London, you might find that a local paper is a more appropriate place to advertise. There are a number of recruitment agencies which specialise in the voluntary and public sectors, although these are probably most effective for administrative and fundraising posts. There are also a number of websites where you can advertise positions, but think about whether your target group will access these. UnLtd : 2

3 tips for your advert Make it catchy use your logo or a graphic if you can, it will draw the eye to your advert. If you don t have a fortune to spend, you will need to be brief. If the job title gives a good description of what the job is about, save words elaborating. Instead use them to tell readers what your organisation does, what the culture is like and what you are looking for in a candidate. Provide information about closing dates, interview dates and when the post begins in the advert. Generally you will want to provide salary and location details in the advert. If you can be flexible about location, hours of work etc. say so. If you are restricted to a scale or by your funding, definitely provide salary details. If you have more flexibility and want to attract a broad range of candidates, it might be appropriate to leave these out. If you have a valid reason for bypassing equal opportunity laws (for example, if your post is a sensitive post caring for one gender in particular) make sure you cite the exemption from the relevant legislation in the advert. 3. application packs You will need to provide information to people who have seen your advert and are interested in the post. Generally, you should include all of these things: A letter to accompany the pack explaining what is in it, when the closing date for applications is and when the applicant will hear from you. You might remind them of the interview dates here as well. Information about your organisation and what you do The job description and person specification for the post you are recruiting to An application form, if you use one An equal opportunities monitoring form Any further information you might want to provide for example, terms and conditions of the post A sample application pack can be obtained from UnLtd. UnLtd : 3

4 4. short-listing Once the closing date for applications has passed, you will need to shortlist the candidates. This is essentially measuring all the applications you have against the person specification. The same group of people that does the interviews should do the short-listing (see below for more on interview panels). Decide how many interviews you want to carry out. Usually for an officer-level post, four to six is enough, but to some extent this will be guided by the applications you have received. You should aim to see everyone who entirely meets the person specification. If there are not enough of these, you might see a few who entirely meet most of the person spec. If there are more eligible candidates than there are interview places, you might need to rank the candidates and interview the top six. Everyone involved with short-listing should have copies of all applications (with equal opportunities monitoring forms removed) and the job description and person specification. The short-listing group will use the person specification to establish eligibility. Short-listing should be carried out by measuring applications against the person specification, focusing on skills, abilities and potential of candidates and the criteria should be applied uniformly against each application. Assess whether each applicant demonstrates entirely (E), demonstrates in part (P) or does not demonstrate (N) each of the qualities in the person specification. This should be recorded, and short-listers often use a table, an example of which is found below: Criteria (from person spec) App 1 App 2 App 3 App 4 App 5 App 6 App 7 App 8 3 years experience in trust and foundation fundraising E P E E N P N N Knowledge of current government policy relating to young people P P E E P N P N Where two candidates have applied for a post on a job-share basis, their applications should be considered in the same way as other candidates. Both candidates should meet the selection criteria if they are to be short-listed. Remember that applications should be treated as confidential, and should not be distributed beyond the interview panel. In addition, under the Data Protection Act, applicants have the right to request records made about them, and this includes notes from short-listing and interviews. All notes should be professional and recorded in a consistent way for all applicants. Don t forget to write to all short-listed candidates and let them know when the interview will take place and what will be expected of them. If there will be an exercise or test, you will need to provide any relevant information in this letter. UnLtd : 4

5 5. interviewing An interview is your chance to meet the candidates face to face and obtain further information about their suitability for the post, and to give candidates more information about your organisation and post so they can decide if it is right for them. Interviews should be conducted by a panel of up to three people. Think carefully about your interview panel. A good rule of thumb if you are a charity is to include the post s direct line manager, a trustee and a trusted independent third party. This is the group of people who will be shortlisting, interviewing and ultimately making a decision about who to employ. They should understand the organisation and the nature of the post, be prepared to offer their time and be capable of critical analysis and impartial decision-making. If possible, interviews should all be held on the same day, and you will need to give candidates sufficient notice in their short-listing letter. If this is not possible, they should be held as closely together as possible so that information is fresh in the panel s mind when the decisions have to be made. All short-listing and interviews should be conducted by the same people. You will need to draw up a list of questions to measure the candidates suitability for the post. There are a number of different kinds of questions, and some are more useful than others for a job interview. Useful kinds of questions include: Open-ended questions these questions introduce a general area of questioning which require elaboration (i.e. why, how, describe, or please explain ). These questions encourage applicants to give a detailed response. Example Tell me about your responsibilities in your current job Probing questions these questions are designed to find out what is behind a statement. They elicit more specific information and allow you to explore important points. Example What aspects of your job do you most enjoy? Analytical questions These questions elicit evidence of the candidate s ability to analyse the work or tasks. Example This job involves communicating effectively with people at all levels, both professionals and clients. How would you approach this in the workplace? Closed questions These questions check facts. They can help focus a candidate. Example How many training events did you plan? UnLtd : 5

6 There are also some questions you definitely want to avoid: Leading questions - ones that encourage a candidate to respond in a particular way. Example This post involves managing an assistant. Are you comfortable with that? Multiple questions - asking several questions at once Example Can you tell me about a fundraising proposal you submitted, what the outcome was and what you would do differently next time? Discriminatory questions - ones about personal circumstances, childcare and health Example Have you any long term illnesses? Throughout the interview, the interviewers should ensure that the candidates do most of the talking. You should only be talking 25% of the time. This is your opportunity to learn about the candidates. Ask all candidates the same questions, and provide them all with the same information. This does not mean you can not ask specific follow-up questions to a response to initial questions. You should prepare an interview grid to guide your note-taking. All members of the interview panel should fill this out. Remember that these will need to be available to candidates who ask for them. Question Who asks Score (1-10) Notes Tell me about the responsibilities of MC your current job and how they fit with the key responsibilities of this post Give me an example of a situation RP where you have organised a training event 6. appointing Once all the candidates have been interviewed, the interview panel should discuss and agree who should be appointed on the basis of scoring and notes. They should also agree a second choice if there is a second appointable candidate in the event that the first turns the offer down. A representative of the interview panel (preferably the line manager) should ring the selected candidate and offer them the job, explaining the terms and conditions on which you are offering it. Give them some time to consider your offer. You might have to negotiate for the right candidate, particularly with regards to start dates - remember that people often have to give considerable notice in their current posts. UnLtd : 6

7 Hopefully, your chosen applicant will accept, and it s on to induction If your applicant declines, and there is no appointable second choice, or there were no appointable candidates, you will need to begin again. Before you do this, sit down with the interview panel and work out why you have not succeeded: Is the pay-scale too low for the job? Is the person specification unrealistic? Did you advertise in the wrong places? Think carefully about how you might improve the process the next time unsuccessful recruitment processes are costly, time-consuming and discouraging you want to get it right the next time! tip As the saying goes, the most valuable assets in any enterprise or team go home at the end of a day s work so, you want to make sure you hire the very best of these assets. Beware - compromising for the best of a generally unsatisfactory bunch of candidates will be costly to you, the new hire and your other team-mates. If you don t find that ideal candidate, it is well worth the extra investment of starting the whole recruiting process again, rather than compromising on the quality of the new hire, which in the long run will always be costlier to the organisation. UnLtd : 7

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