5 Ways To Screen Job Candidates

June 20, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

Hiring a new employee for your nonprofit is one of the biggest decisions you will have to make as a human resources manager. As such, it’s imperative that you take the proper precautions before you make a final decision.

Employee screening is a long process and it begins the minute you receive an application. In the book “Nonprofit Management 101,” James Weinberg and Cassie Scarano of Commongood Careers wrote that when you review an applicant’s cover letter and resume, you should evaluate them against a predetermined set of criteria (experience, knowledge of the nonprofit sector, etc.). They also said that it’s important not to expect too much from these documents, as they are only meant to help you determine whether the candidate has enough skills to move on to the next stages.

Weinberg and Scarano offered four additional steps to the screening process:

  • Phone Screen: Develop a list of open-ended and pointed questions specific to the job. The phone screen should hit on the whole range of required competencies and experience so that you can develop a baseline knowledge of the candidate and determine whether he/she represents a potential fit.
  • In-Person Interview: This is your opportunity to go into more depth with a smaller group of candidates. In-person job interviews should last at least 45 minutes and include the hiring manager and perhaps one other representative from the organization.
  • Follow-up Interview(s): You should always have at least one additional interview for the candidates for whom you are most interested. While only one additional interview may be needed for a more junior role, it is not unusual for a senior candidate to have two or three more meetings, wrote Weinberg and Scarano.
  • Reference and Background Checking: Weinberg and Scarano strongly recommend that every nonprofit speak with at least three professional references before making an employment offer to any candidate. Besides helping you make the best hiring decision possible, background checks and references can also provide insight on how to best manage the individual.