MB Connection

What Candidates Want:  5 ways to help your organization’s search stand out

March 2023

With mission critical work to accomplish, a talented staff is vital to the success of all nonprofits.  In this tight labor market, candidates are afforded the opportunity to be more selective.  To compete for the best talent, nonprofits need to know what candidates are looking for.  Below are key takeaways from recent conversations with candidates that can help your position attract job-seekers.   

1. Workplace Flexibility: Gone are the days of clocking in and being required to sit in your office from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.  More candidates want to set their own work schedules based on the demands of the job, not on arbitrary rules.  Many want a hybrid schedule that will allow them to work remotely some days and in person on other days, when collaboration or team-building requires it.  Offering this benefit sends the message to prospective candidates that you trust your team.

2.  Pay Transparency: Not only does pay transparency work to uncover wage disparities, (and is now required by law in many states), we have also seen that job postings disclosing the salary range result in far more applications than roles that do not.  When candidates are aware of the salary range before applying, they can determine if it aligns with their needs and expectations which can save a lot of time during the search process.  This signals to candidates that your organization is a fair place to work, has high integrity, and respects its employees.

3. Demonstrated Commitment to DEI: Candidates want to see more than a statement on your website; they want to know how your organization is working toward tangible goals.  As this can look different depending on the organization, how does your organization define diversity, equity, and inclusion?  What steps has your nonprofit taken to promote DEI?  How does the position you are seeking to fill fit in with the overall DEI framework of your organization?  It is okay to not have all the answers but be prepared to talk openly with candidates about where your organization is on its journey.

4. Transparent Hiring Process: While we believe that an inclusive and thorough interview process will result in a stronger hire, nothing will make candidates lose interest in a job more than a drawn out, seemingly never-ending search.  This can be stressful for candidates and demanding, particularly if they are currently employed and taking off work to interview.  A disorganized search can also be a red flag and indicate this might not be a great place to work.  Setting a realistic timeline from the get-go and communicating with candidates along the way, even if there are delays, will keep them engaged and show them you value their time.

5. Positive Work Environment: Finally, it is crucial that during the interview process you and your team put your best feet forward.  Yes, you are interviewing the candidates, but they are also interviewing you!  Think about what you love most about your job, why you believe in the mission of your organization, and why the person you are interviewing should want to work there.  It is good to be open about challenges you face but don’t let the interview become a gripe session.  The goal should be for candidates to leave the interview feeling more excited about the job than before you met.