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Nonprofit HR’s Blog

Diverse talent enriches the work of an organization in nearly every way. Mission-driven organizations will typically turn to diverse job boards to seek this talent, which are a great starting point in beginning to engage new communities. Diverse job boards are diverse not just in race or ethnicity, but niche job topics that will target people who are connected to the mission. And in nonprofit work, this is critical. Organizations are seeking to find someone who not only fulfills the skillset but is passionate about the mission.  

However, talent diversity also entails those who are innovative with ideas, who create change from the start, and who think and operate in ways new to the organization. And if your organization is seeking this kind of professional, consider that simply posting on diverse job boards may not be enough. 

Creating a resource of diverse job boards as well as diverse ways to seek candidates enables organizations to discover individuals who have a completely different makeup and background of career experience — individuals who are open to new, innovative ideas and pathways because they may have walked one themselves.

Time, Access, Budget & Quantity

There are four reasons organizations hesitate to engage diverse mediums in the search process: it is time consuming, requires access, requires a budget and often yields a small quantity of candidates (but of high quality). 

  1. Time: When looking for diverse job boards, a quick Google search won’t always lead you to an immediate answer. For example, a specific client I’m working with has a mission around AIDS/HIV/Hepatitis C advocacy. I’ll spend a bit of time researching any type of groups, newsletter, as well as community events all over the U.S.; anything that centers around that mission. While the role itself may be a Director of Human Resources, and there is a large pool of candidates who may fit that role, I am specifically looking to find someone who would meld with the mission of the organization. 

The point of diverse job boards is to find candidates who wouldn’t be in standard places like LinkedIn or Indeed. While I can garner a large applicant pool from there, I want to specifically lean into people who have a connection to this mission, perhaps someone who has worked with the HIV/AIDS population before or began their career as a nurse and transitioned into HR. That is the type of job board, group, etc. I’m looking to find.

So while the initial research to find these job boards, newsletters, magazines, etc. is time consuming, it will save time in the future to have places to post as your positions change. If you’re looking for a communications person, for example, you’re not going to go to the same job boards as you would for someone who is in HR. There are so many different roles you could need. So take the time to search all the different keywords and avenues that could exist regarding the role and the type of candidate you are seeking.

  1. Access: For some job boards, such as a Facebook group or Google Groups, you may have to request and be accepted into the group before posting. Some even have questionnaires asking, why would being a part of this networking space be important to you? Or, what are you going to bring to this space? Waiting to be accepted to a group can be time consuming. I send emails asking if I can post a job in a magazine or newsletter and sometimes will have to follow up. Once they respond and say yes, I add them to a list and remember that person the next time I need to post something that has to do with the specific niche. 
  2. Budget: As well, sometimes on these job boards or magazines or newsletters, there is a payment required to post the role. You may not garner the hundreds or thousands of applicants you would in traditional places, but by paying a $50 or $100 fee to post a role in that active niche community, you know that you’re getting high-quality candidates or putting it in front of someone who could put it in front of someone who cares about that topic.
  3. Quantity: Lastly, it’s important to remember that those harder-to-find outlets may not give you a large quantity of applicants, but they are going to give you quality candidates. Be open to the fact that if you post a job there, you may only get two to three people who respond but those few, out of the 500 you might be used to, are more likely to be a holistic fit for the role. 

Other Places to Leverage  

Social media: Social media platforms definitely don’t get the respect it could garner with obtaining candidates. Often organizations look at social media and they’re thinking about the generational differences of who is using a platform versus who is not. The level of the role can play into which platform we use, but remember social media is a connection point in many ways. While one platform may not have people who have been in their career for 10 years and that is the level of the candidate you are seeking, using that platform could garner the attention of someone who is connected to someone who may be interested in the role.

What’s important to remember with regard to social media is that a news feed is customized. If I am interested in all things public health, wellness and all things that have to do with that, then more than likely, my network and community is too. So, yes, you may be talking to someone who has less than 15 years of experience and you’re looking for someone at the director/CEO level, but that person may be connected with someone else, such as a mentor for example. You never know what can come of social media and the best part is it’s free. It’s a small lift that doesn’t affect your budget, but could reap great rewards. The ultimate goal is to communicate with people who care about the mission you care about. 

Magazines: Magazines, specifically online magazines, are commonly overlooked as a resource, but they are another great medium to utilize in this process. You can reach out to an online magazine that is focused on what you’re focused on and ask them if there is a way that you can run an ad or post there. It may be derived from old school methods when things were in print, but it’s still incredibly valuable. People still look at magazines, and it’s one of the cheapest ways to get an ad out there.

Google Groups: A lot of organizations don’t seem to be aware of Google groups because it was hard for me to find them when I first started using them for recruitment purposes. I personally got a job from a Google Group that I was a part of 13 years ago and it was the most impactful job that I ever received. Since then, as a recruiter, I tend to look at Google Groups because I wouldn’t have found out about that job had not someone put it on that listserv for me because I don’t remember seeing that job on any other job board, and I was actively looking.

In-person events: It’s been harder over the course of the pandemic and people haven’t been having in-person events, but if you have the time, space and capacity to go to an event, do it. This is not just about going to formal networking events where folks are dressed up. For example, if you are an environmental organization and you are based in the D.C. area, consider going to a community clean up event or a hike meetup or something similar. This will give you the opportunity to share the job you are hiring for with a group of people who are also interested in what your mission is. There are many different places to discover potential candidates based on the type of role. 

How to Make the Case for Your Diverse Talent Search

To ensure you are presenting to leadership a viable option in your search for talent, it’s important to evaluate whether a space is live and active. Before deciding to join a community or group, take a look at its activity. If they haven’t posted within the last two weeks or have more than 50 members, then it might be a dead zone. 

Don’t be afraid to also reach out to the leader or admin person of that group to find out information about it. Ask them the ages, demographics, of the members of the group to make sure that whatever you found is live and going and active before you present it to leadership. This way you are confident in presenting to leadership the places that you know are active and can provide evidence of how this medium would be effective in your search process. 

You may also mention that on diverse job boards, you are able to reach passive candidates (people who are not actively seeking opportunities). LinkedIn and Indeed are job banks for people who have their resumes ready to go. However, having these job boards to look at allows you to tap into passive candidates who are moving along in their current job or who just don’t have the time to seek out a new role. In this way your organization is able to put something in front of someone, who maybe wasn’t thinking about it, to start a connection and conversation. 

Then, money-wise, come with diverse options. Come with a membership that’s $50, that’s $100 and then that’s $700, including all the pros and cons and differences of each of them. Don’t come with one thing and expect that one thing is going to hit home because you’ve done your research. You have to come with a comparison tool so that they have something to look at and figure out which way they want to lean.

Incorporate All Perspectives in Hiring for a New Role

As a recruiter, I take time to  ask questions of the current employee who will be supervised by the new hire. Being someone who has been in a staff role more than a leadership role in my career, the way in which I see my job will drastically change based on who my manager is. So I resonate with wanting to know, what do you want to see from your new supervisor and/or manager? Are you at a place in your career where you need coaching? Are you at a place in your career where you need someone to be hands-off and trust you? 

Asking about the team’s needs helps form the questions for the interview that cannot be vetted out in the job board. I ask about who was previously in the role and why they left or why is the role being established now. That allows me to go into the job boards and think from that perspective what job boards would be the most useful to them. That’s where that niche part of the diversity job board comes in. 

In short, ask people who are going to work with the person in the new role (direct reports, peers and supervisors) on a basis what their needs are. This will give you context as to what would make someone a great fit for a role and will better align with organizational and cultural nuances.

Maintain an Open Mind

Be open to resumes that you receive back. Understand when you engage with niche job boards, you’re going to receive candidates with niche resumes, rather than a typical corporate, long tenure in one specialty resume. Don’t close yourself off to conversations with folks that may have atypical resumes. 

If you want to find someone that cares about your mission and work that you do, don’t be rigid about x number of years in a certain role. Understand there are experiences before that, personal and professional, from their volunteer work to them working with an organization in a different capacity that would lend to their leadership skills, understanding their evolution in the role you’re looking for. 

If no one gives someone an opportunity to step into a leadership space, then you will always have that lack. So if your organization has the time and capacity to, be open to candidates who may have other leadership traits about them that lend to why they would be a good fit for this role. Look at experience holistically; it is about the quality of their resume, not just years of experience.


Author

Sophia LaFontant, CSP

Consultant, Search, Impact Search Advisors by Nonprofit HR
Direct: 202.644.7458

As a firm that helps the social sector find diverse talent, we strive to look beyond how things have been traditionally done with talent acquisition in client organizations. We help organizations seek — and find — candidates who are interested in not just the salary and growth, but also the intrinsic fulfillment they will experience supporting the mission. If your organization is in need of a talent acquisition partner to support your search strategy, contact our team today

Looking for more insight from our search experts? Check out this webinar recording!

Diverse Leadership in Associations: Strategies for Overcoming Systemic Barriers to CEO and C-Suite Roles

This webinar will encourage participants to:

  • Examine how systemic biases, discriminating practices and antiquated policies and structures limit opportunities for BIPOC professionals to access leadership roles within associations.
  • Hear from executive search consultant leaders about common barriers to achieving executive positions within associations.
  • Learn about best practices for building more inclusive and equitable leadership pipelines, including recruitment, mentorship and professional development programs.
  • Gain insights on how to mitigate the impact of unconscious bias in hiring and promotion processes.
  • And more!

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