Interviewing Processes to Get to the Real Candidate – Part 2

Let’s start with a funny, because this process gets all too serious. Rachel Zupek from posted these and more. Real answers from candidates part of a search process. Enjoy!

MCj04347430000[1]“I’m not wanted in this state.”
“How many young women work here?”
“I didn’t steal it; I just borrowed it.”
“You touch somebody and they call it sexual harassment!”
“I’ve never heard such a stupid question.”

Believe it or not, the above statements weren’t overhead in bars or random conversations — they were said in job interviews.

What kind of computer software have you used?
Computers? Are those the black boxes that sit on the floor next to the desks? My boss has one of those. He uses it. I don’t have one. He just gives me my schedule and I follow it.” – Greg Szymanski, Director of Human Resources, Geonerco Management, Inc.

What are your hobbies and interests?
[He said] ‘Well, as you can see, I’m a young, virile man and I’m single — if you ladies know what I’m saying.’ Then he looked at one of the fair-haired board members and said, ‘I particularly like blondes.‘” – Petri R.J. Darby, President, DarbyDarnit Public Relations

MPj04384510000[1]And you think looking for great fundraising staff is tough! Can you imagine??!

Let me share some tools and tips to get the real, authentic and transparent candidate you may not see during a few conversations. Some of these take more time, which you should devote to finding the right person, as opposed to a warm body, but will reveal their true person, experience and abilities.

  • The Task – Ask the candidate to complete an exercise for something you really need done. Not a grant proposal, if you want a writing sample that’s easy for them to share. Are you expanding, ask them to write an annual appeal, presentation to get your Board to fundraise, need directions or a process explained? Or ask them to prepare a report for the Board. On your end you need to give them enough information to do the task. If they are smart they will also review your website. Ask for 2-3 pages and give them a deadline. Offer to answer any questions.
  • Participation – Invite them to participate in a staff meeting. Give them the agenda in advance and make sure there is a topic for discussion. I think any good development professional will do their homework and be willing to participate. You can see them in action, how they communicate with others as well as listen. You may also ask them to present something or explain their task results to the staff. Have a question and answer opportunity. I think this is so much more effective than a formal group interview. You will see if they can think on their feet.
  • Board meeting – Invite them to attend a Board meeting. Meet with them later for their feedback and comments. If appropriate you can also ask them to present a task to the Board, again with Q&A and more formal interview after.
  • Review and Feedback – Ask them to review a current grant proposal, brochure, website, annual report and give you their feedback. Ask them to review your website for engagement, information, ease of use. Have them look at your current strategic or development plan and ask for their feedback.

Give these a try. Share your own ideas. Take the time to find the right person. It will be worth it.

If they aren’t the right person after all this…Thause that 90-day probation period. That’s what it is for. Don’t be afraid or ashamed of selecting the wrong candidate. Better to cut your losses and time than live with someone who isn’t living up to your expectations.

In Part 3 – Giving Feedback in the First 90 Days

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