Resisting the Purple Unicorn and Other Association Recruitment Tips

Non-profit organizations often have tight budgets that can make recruiting and training employees difficult in a competitive marketplace. With small budgets it can be difficult to hire top employees in the field. Here at Virtual, we’ve figured out ways for associations to get the most out of their recruitment budget.  Just last year, we hired several top-notch, senior-level executives for our 40+ non-profit, association clients. Below are my best tips to help stretch a recruiting budget and hire the top talent associations need to succeed.

Resist the Purple Unicorn

Purple Unicorns don’t exist.  Non-profits with a job opening can’t wait indefinitely to find the absolutely perfect person with the perfect qualifications – aka the Purple Unicorn.  Instead, I suggest you take a holistic view by identifying and prioritizing the requirements of the role to target the best candidate available. Think about the competencies that are most important and keep your mind open to candidates who come from various backgrounds and industries.

Sometimes you’ll be surprised to find someone without your top list of requirements can actually quickly adapt and bring to the table an entirely different perspective.  Or maybe think outside the box and create a mixed position allowing the non-profit to leverage the best qualities of a candidate for a particular job. This could include hiring one person whose skill set fills multiple shoes, or hiring two part time employees whose different skill sets would align with meeting the end goal.  In short, execute a search and hire the best candidate for the position in a timely manner and keep in mind -there is no such thing as a Purple Unicorn.

Register to hear from Wendy D’Ambrose, Bentley University’s Director of Graduate Career Advising & Employer Outreach and Cathy Butler, Endicott College’s Assistant Professor of Experiential Learning and School of Business Internship Coordinator at our Networking Open House on November 30  

Which is More Important?  Direct or Indirect Costs?  They Both Are.

Direct hiring costs like advertising, recruitment fees and the like can be very costly. However, indirect costs can have an even more significant impact on a non-profit.  For example, how much money is a non-profit losing by not filling a position?  How is service or employee morale suffering because of hiring delays for a particular position?  Soft costs can be hard to quantify but, as part of the recruitment process, they can add up quickly.  Consider both direct and indirect costs in your recruitment process.

 It’s All About Timing

This lesson learned seems obvious but it happens all the time.  Don’t target a January 1st hire date.  The majority of people aren’t looking for a job over the holidays.  Plus bonuses are usually distributed in December so potential candidates will want to stick around for their checks. I also suggest that you establish a streamlined timeline for the overall recruitment process. You lose candidates if they don’t hear from you in a timely manner, and they start to lose interest if they have to follow up with you, so keep the communication constant and just be honest about the expectations in regard to the expected timeline.

 These tips are important when considering the time and resources you have as a non-profit. If you can allocate your resources following the tips above, you may find that the recruiting process goes smoother for you and your association. If you’re looking to hire a Senior Executive be sure to check out the article our President, Andy Freed, wrote here.

Register to hear from Wendy D’Ambrose, Bentley University’s Director of Graduate Career Advising & Employer Outreach and Cathy Butler, Endicott College’s Assistant Professor of Experiential Learning and School of Business Internship Coordinator at our Networking Open House on November 30  

 

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Andy Freed
President & CEO

Greg Kohn
Executive Vice President

Bruce Rogers
Founder & Chairman

Terry Lowney
Senior Vice President, COO

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