Nonprofit consulting companies, such as RBP Methods, have tips to help your nonprofit team prepare for interviews. Networking is one way to find great people for open positions, but there are other ways you can find the best person fit for the job. If you are in a rut and can’t find the right person for your open job positions, we highly recommend pre-interview preparation.
Now, the question is: what is pre-interview preparation? As the employer, it is your job to do your homework and prepare for the interview, just as the candidate will be preparing for the interview. As a nonprofit consulting company, we are here to help, advise, and offer guidance to help you be well prepared for interviewing candidates for your nonprofit.
Bring Common Past Issues to the Light
Every nonprofit organization has their fair share of not-so-great employees—the candidate who was thought to be perfect for the job actually turns out to be a complete nightmare or the candidate who was going above and beyond just quits after one week.
It is very important to take the time, as a team, to talk about past mistakes with previous employees. This needs to be done before the recruiting process can take place. The goal of this is to find a common past issue behind every not-so-great employee.
For example, was there a time limit on when you needed a new employee, so you rushed into making a rash hiring decision? Rushing through decisions can often lead to severe consequences that are very difficult, but not completely impossible, to fix.
Another mistake that could have been made was if you did not actually check references. Many candidates have the interviewing process nailed, because they have a professional appearance and have practiced answering the interview questions in just the right way to diminish any further questions from the employer. By checking references, you may be able to get to know the real person behind the perfect façade just by asking a few simple questions.
It would be wise to bring a group of managers from your nonprofit to talk about the new hires from the past that have worked out and those that have not. By seeking out what these common problems were, and determining why people didn’t work out, you may be able to fix the problem before you go through the entire hiring process again.
Plan for Each Individual Interview
It is important to set time aside to research each individual candidate and think through which questions you would like answered. By creating a template of questions, you can use in each interview, you are setting yourself up for success as you feel more relaxed and in control.
It is okay to snoop on and check out a potential candidate on the internet. This could allow any issues to be brought to light regarding the candidate’s reputation or work ethic. Google search, LinkedIn profiles, etc. can help you verify information or gain a better understanding as to which questions to ask in the interviewing process.
Do not take the interview process lightly. Phone interviews are great, especially as a first step, but only use this to narrow down your picking pool of qualified candidates. In-person interviews should always be held before finding the right fit for your team.
Open-Ended Questions are a Must
Be sure to ask plenty of open-ended questions in order to get a feel for the candidate’s character. Open-ended questions do not allow for candidates to answer “yes” or “no.”
Examples of open-ended questions include:
- Tell me about yourself
- Tell me about your career goals
- Share an example of a problem you had at your last job, and how you solved the problem.
- What would you do if you were faced with [interject common situation you have at your nonprofit]?
- What do you know about our nonprofit?
- What attracted you to this job?
- What does your career life look like five years from now?
Learn to Read Body Language during an Interview
Body language is extremely important in the interviewing process. It is guesstimated that only about 7% of our communication in an interview is through the use of words. That means the remaining 93% of how we communicate is through body language. Some simple, but important, negative body language cues to pay attention to would be:
- Expressing they are nervous by fidgeting, flushing in the face, playing with their hair or other objects they could be holding in their hands.
- Indicating to you they have answered a question falsely by turning their eyes away from you, looking down, or slightly raising their voice.
- Indicating they are bored or tense by constantly looking at the clock or sighing,
Some positive body language cues would be:
- Mirroring the interviewer’s body language.
- Providing thoughtful and well-thought-out answers, which reflect that the candidate is engaged.
- Using a neutral tone of voice and strong eye contact.
- A firm handshake at the beginning of the interview and at the end of the interview, both times thanking you for your time to meet with them.
Please keep in mind that cultural differences may change these cues. What may be considered professional in the United States may differ from what is seen as professional in another country.
Make Sure to Read the Candidate’s Cover Letter and Resume
It is surprising how many managers do not read through the entire cover letter or resume of candidates they are planning on interviewing. Reading through these are important as they can provide icebreakers or commonalities that can make the candidate feel special and put them at ease with asking personal questions pertaining directly to him.
There is no one way to find the perfect candidate for your nonprofit. Nonprofit consulting companies suggest that with some preparation, you will improve your chances of finding that perfect candidate for your nonprofit.
RBP Methods is a nonprofit software and nonprofit consulting company that helps right-brained people navigate a left-brained world. We offer a wide range of consulting services focused on helping nonprofits manage their accounting and financial needs. Our software choices include Abila, AccuFund, and other nonprofit accounting software. For more information, contact RBP Methods or call us at 503-648-9051 for a consultation.