Most of us have been “ghosted” by a prospective employer—even after a promising interview. It’s not cool, and it’s totally avoidable. The time and effort your nonprofit invests to give all job candidates a great experience will produce results. Your top candidates will be more likely to want the job, and those who aren’t selected will have a good impression of your nonprofit. Here’s how to improve your job candidates’ experience.
Write concise, informative job descriptions. Don’t throw the kitchen sink in there. Require only the skills and experience truly necessary to do the job. Clearly state the job’s regular duties. Communicate essential information like salary and benefits; any schedule or travel requirements; whether the role is remote, in-person, or hybrid; and any management responsibilities.
Make applying easy. Simplify your application form—but don’t pare it down so much you have to ask for piles of additional information if candidates advance. Provide clear application instructions. And for the love of whatever you believe in, don’t make candidates fill out the same information on multiple platforms (e.g., submit a resume and also fill out all the individual resume fields on a website).
Acknowledge applications promptly. A note from a human, even a one-sentence email, is always nice—but an automated reply at least lets the applicant know their information was received.
Communicate next steps and a reasonable timeline. Yes, hiring usually takes longer than expected, but you can easily say something like: “We hope to fill the position by May. Candidates who advance will take part in two interviews and a skills test.”
Carefully evaluate whether to use algorithms in your hiring, and if you use them, disclose it. Many hiring software providers use artificial intelligence to help select candidates from applicant pools. But AI can pick up biases of the humans running the job search, or exacerbate bias by basing algorithms on past criteria. If you use AI, tell candidates so, explain why you feel the benefits outweigh the harms, and give them the chance to share thoughts or concerns.
When you decide a candidate is not a fit, let them know right away. Don’t wait until you’ve filled the position to let people who weren’t selected know they didn’t advance in the application process.
Let candidates who advance know what to expect. Tell them who they will meet with for the interview, whether it will be virtual or in-person, and what format the interview will take. If the interview is in-person, share information about the office dress code, how to access your office building, and where candidates can park.
If you ask candidates to complete an assignment as part of the application process, make certain your request is reasonable. Candidates may already be working one or more jobs, so limit the scope of any interview projects to something candidates could complete in a few hours or less.
Thank candidates who aren’t selected for their interest and let them know how they can stay in touch. Share upcoming events or opportunities to interact further with your organization. If you’re open to hearing from them in the future, invite that and share your contact information.